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bonnieann925

How do you keep your style young as you age?

bonnieann925
10 years ago

OK, so I'm almost over my red vs. gold panel decision, but am now contemplating a new concern after visiting our daughter's apartment in Boston today. She's young (20-something), lives alone in a great swanky neighborhood. Her style is fresh, transitional and all done on a budget. She has no clutter, nor does she have hand-me-downs and "legacy pieces" to contend with. (We're still alive, so not yet anyway. Plus she has 2 sisters to "share" with).

Seriously, I want to throw all our stuff out and start fresh! Why am I doing this while my DH is off at church serving as a Eucharistic Minister...how shallow of me! This really isn't important in the big picture yet these little things get me in an obsessive mode :(

Do we become stale in our decorating over time? We've just finished putting our last child through grad school (yea!) and the money is now flowing into the house--roof, driveway and other necessities. Honestly, with my love for travel and with a full-time job, I'm not home that much. Why do I really care?

Thoughts? Anyone?

Comments (37)

  • mjsee
    10 years ago

    You are ready to start a new chapter. So...start! But instead of buying all new, give the legacy pieces to the children and take a step back and figure out what you really need as well as what you WANT.

  • rosie
    10 years ago

    Definitely second Mjsee. Are you sure you want to call it "young" rather than a further evolution of your own tastes? A lot of people develop a taste for a simpler look with age, and it's not at all uncommon for people to break free of the standard box they raised their children in and surprise everybody, including themselves. It sounds like that's where you are.

    It's important, though, to discover your new tastes for your self and not be fooled (yet again) into assuming the stuff being mass-marketed to appeal mostly to young adults is all that's happening. Whimsy, playfulness, lightheartedness, innovation are best looked for outside the chain store stock marketed to people many of whom are still outgrowing the last remnants of their adolescence. Don't forget, their eager adoption of what they see as fresh and different is also a manifestation of the flip side of their drive to break free of their parents' influence--a lingering on that may share some aspects of but is not going to be the same as adventurous maturity. :)

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  • blfenton
    10 years ago

    I understand where bonnieann is coming from. We just did a whole house reno on our house after have been in it for 22 years. When we were house hunting 22 years ago I was underwhelmed by some of the homes we went into - shag carpets, horrible wallpaper, furniture that was so outdated it was sad - fast forward 22 years and I was living in one of those homes.
    How did that happen? How did I find myself living in one of those homes that, if we were to have put our house on the market - people would have cringed at.
    Basically, life got in the way, kids, jobs etc.
    But how to stop it from happening again.

    There won't be anymore renos but How do we keep the decorating fresh and current. It also always seems that as soon as I decide to change the walls to a "current" colour it is passe, as soon as I change out the lighting fixtures they have become old-fashioned.
    I want to be on the cutting edge, trendy, in style but realize that I have to settle for having a comfortable home that suits me.

    You care, because even though you aren't home much, it is still your base, your anchor in your life and you want it to be welcoming, not only for yourself but for your family and friends. It does matter, even though you think it shouldn't.

  • jan_in_wisconsin
    10 years ago

    I know that personally, my style preferences have evolved and changed over time. I'm in mid-life now, with our older son in his final year of high school. As I'm typing this, the paint is drying in our master bedroom. I'm updating it in the spirit of my latest decorating tastes. It all started with a pair of Craigslist mirrors I found. That turned into new paint, new draperies, and new bedding, oh, and new lamps too!

    I'm not interested in keeping my style "young", so to speak, though. Hmmm . . . maybe it's more that I tire of sameness after awhile. I get the urge to change things up and add new life to places that have remained unchanged for so long. When I browse magazines or the internet, I find images that inspire me.

    I never used to like the color gray, but I've grown to love the warmer grays over time. I've seen them used in so many beautiful ways. I never used to care for ornate furniture, but now I'm enjoying the curves of pieces used in French decorating. These are not changes spurred by a desire to keep things youthful, but more a reflection of my own journey through time in life.

    My hubby joked with me when I wanted to repaint the bedroom that he thought the original paint was "20-year paint"! He said he'd be just fine keeping the same paint color for a couple of decades or more! And, maybe that's okay too.

  • cyn427 (z. 7, N. VA)
    10 years ago

    I agree with mjsee that you could give your three girls some of your pieces. I would have LOVED it had my mother done that for us. She had a house full of stuff plus my grandmother's things in her wing of our house. It would have been lovely if she asked if we could use anything when we were young and starting out. I would have loved a couple of the chairs from my grandmother's part of the house or the desk that wasn't being used or one of the many bureaus. None of us would have taken anything that was a real treasure or that she was using. Alas, she held onto every last little bit and then we were already established and not needing anything. Tons of stuff, including furniture was simply discarded because we were far away and didn't have time to take care of anything more than the best pieces. Very sad.

    I have already passed on several wonderful 19th century pieces to my son that he has integrated into his more modern/transitional place and it all looks great! I keep trying to give him some of the crystal and silver, but he doesn't have enough storage in his kitchen. Oh well. Maybe they will move from the condo into a house soon and I will be able to simplify even more! :)

    Even if you clean out only a few things, it might give you a lift. You may even find that is all you need to do to freshen up the house-we do accumulate way too much "stuff" as we age.

  • forhgtv
    10 years ago

    Sometimes freshening up your decor doesn't require starting from zero. Sometimes it just requires new colors and new accessories...maybe new window treatments and flooring. So much depends on how versatile your current furniture is.

  • jterrilynn
    10 years ago

    I feel your pain! I have to keep adding new stuff or new used to blend with my old stuff because I'm not in the world of $$$$ to start with all new. My husband and I like to travel and since the kids are now older and we don't have to take them...well it's great! Last year we went to Italy and Spain, this year Mexico. A few years prior it was England and France. My situation maybe different from yours because I have to watch every dime and do much DIY because when we travel we go in style. But it is all worth it! I find that changing drapes and little things in the decor sort of make me happy for a year or two.

  • leafy02
    10 years ago

    I'll be sending my four overlapping children off to college starting next year, so money for decorating is going to be hard to come by for the next ten years. I'm not too afraid I'll end up with a time-capsule house, because I do tend to change small things a lot--vases, artwork, etc. but I do dread the idea of having ten year-old couches and rugs that have seen regular use from the four kids and three dogs and the occasional escaped rabbit...

    On the other hand, I've been in some time capsule houses that I loved, even though they were full of "dated" stuff. When comparing the dated homes I admired to the ones that make me cringe, the difference is clutter and cleanliness. A sparkly clean, uncluttered house with older things in it is charming, wheras a cluttered dingy look is depressing and tired-looking to me no matter how contemporary the decor.

  • OrchidOCD
    10 years ago

    I can empathize, BonnieAnn. I'm currently updating our house of 12 years, and as soon as I cross one thing off the list, 3 or 4 more seem to have been added. I've decided this is just the end game of 'nesting instinct' while waiting for a first child, because it all seemed to start when my daughter, who's been in undergrad/grad school for the past seven years, got married. It's kind of like, in my subconscious I now realize she's never moving home again and it'll never be as it was as she was growing up, so now I'm making major changes to the house and furnishings.

    I guess this is my expression of a mid-life crisis - redo every bathroom, every floor, add this and that furnishing/decor, toss out the other. I think it's natural to want a visible change to reflect life changes, and not having to pay for a child's college education is a big, big change, as is realizing it really is 'empty nest' time and therefore, get in the 'living while the living's good'! I'm running with it, because the changes I'm making now are things I'll enjoy as I continue to age in this house. Life's too short to not follow our impulses and dreams, as best we can! :-)

  • dianalo
    10 years ago

    I don't think "young" decorating should be the goal. I'd try for pleasant and fresh instead. Think of clothing. If an older person wears "young" clothes, even if they fit technically, it can look so wrong. You want flattering things that make your house look good and that work with what you have.
    Go for a few quirky items and rotate the standbys, so that you will not see the exact same stuff year in and year out. Move some stuff around to break out of a rut. If you put something away for a year, it is refreshing to see it again. Unless it isn't, and that will tell you something...

  • loribee
    10 years ago

    Congrats Bonnie for raising 3 lovely daughters! That is something to be so proud of!

    Your style is traditional New England, one of my fave styles, near and dear to my heart and you pull it off, well. Why not try what's been suggested...work with your family pieces but add a bit of punch like PB pillow covers, new drapes, an ottoman or 2, new artwork and/or fun, big pottery pieces here and there. None of this need be $$. Homegoods for pottery, Christmas Tree for drapes etc...
    ENJOY the fun- off to see what you mean by red and gold drapes!

  • juliekcmo
    10 years ago

    I can relate. I had been thinking that I wanted to do a re-do of my living room once the DDs both went to college.

    I just hated the whole enchilada.

    Well, in a stroke of fabulousness, I did some some sewing for a friend this summer for her living room. She is an art teacher with a great eye. We both live in homes from the 1920/30s. She is one of those people who has the talent for spotting a diamond in the rough, and making it shine like a treasure.

    She helped me figure out that what was really throwing off my room was the too-big rug in a bolder color than really worked with my space and furnishings. She called me when Costco had their traveling road show of wool rugs. I found one for under $500. She came over, and we fiddled with the room arrangement for an hour or so. Moved the TV/sofa/chairs every way possible. Now I love my room, love my furnishings, and feel it looks the way a younger person would set up the space.

    All because we moved the TV next to the fireplace, so that the TV and fireplace aren't fighting for focal point of the room, and the sofa is floating across the room facing the fireplace.

    I got a new small console from Pier One, and new solid with some sheen sofa pillows. Total of $200 more. The new pillows really update the sofa well.

    So I suggest you see if you can have someone else who will dig in and help you. Getting rid of some things and moving things around can make all the difference.

  • loribee
    10 years ago

    Funny you should mention Pier 1, Julie... (& can we see pix of the redo, plse??)
    I just thought of and popped back in to mention Pier 1 to you, Bonnie. Browse Pier 1 when you get a chance!

  • bonnieann925
    Original Author
    10 years ago

    Thanks All! My daughters don't want any of the family pieces now (and probably never will, but they have taken and will continue to take some china, crystal and silverware. They also have some of my late mother's jewelry and some of her collectible pieces.

    Lori! My New England buddy...so glad you saw this thread. I will do as you and others have suggested and add a punch of new here and there. Thank you!

    I appreciate any and all comments. Maybe it's not the meno hormones making me this way after all :)

  • yayagal
    10 years ago

    I felt the same way after my daughter and family purchased a beautiful contemporary home overlooking the ocean. She furnished it in some antiques and very minimally with her art collection as the accessories in every room. I fell in love with the ease of cleaning it and living in it so I took on the task of redoing our retirement house from top to bottom. It took 3 years as my husband and I did all the work but the floors and I LOVE it. I realize now that I was spending so much time keeping up with all the antiques and interesting items in the house. Now I've cut my work time more than in half. We're doing the same here in our lakehouse, just starting but sending "stuff"off to the auction house was the first step and that's done. Right now my husband is installing new large windows to replace our very old small paned ones that were charming but inefficient.
    I switched to all light colors and I love that aspect of it too. Soooo I would say you found a little of your bliss when you visited your daughter in my home town (go Boston!).

  • sallymo2015
    10 years ago

    I have a friend in her early 80's who is putting the final touches on her new loft style apartment. She has always made a decision to not get too attached to any furniture or other decor, so her style seems to always be evolving. She has, though, kept a handful of items that were from her late husband, but they are quite stylish. Her personal appearance is quite youthful, as well. She has been so fun to work with on her recent move.
    I'll post the link to my blog---I have some before and afters of the place.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Loft apartment decor for a couple in their 80's

  • HomeMaker
    10 years ago

    Not to offend anyone, but "young" decor belongs to the young.

    I have no desire to have "young" decor. I have lived simply and my home has evolved over the years and reflects me just fine. No one could walk into my home and find a single "trendy" item in it. It's always been that way.

    Yes, I freshen up the paint every so often, and when it's time, the linens get replaced. I use duvets on every bed in the house, and when it's time for new covers, I choose from what is currently available.

    Window treatments are simple and rarely required changing.
    I don't have a sofa, just leather chairs in the living room. Most of the furniture pieces are reclaimed antiques, rescued from various places and people over time.

    The art is all original, collected throughout my 56 years. I have more than I can display at any given time, so it circulates according to my mood.

    Maybe that's what keeps it fresh.

    All I know is that it's a favourite gathering spot for friends and family.

  • bonnieann925
    Original Author
    10 years ago

    Great ideas! Homemaker, it funny but circulating the art has made such a difference. I've just been moving things around and taking out some of the "stuff" to go to Goodwill and I already feel like we have a fresher look.

    Like your home, ours is always full of people so it must be comfy!

  • loribee
    10 years ago

    Great idea to circulate art!!
    Bonnie...post some pix if you are so inclined and we will all help you "rejuvenate" your decor. :)

  • Sueb20
    10 years ago

    To me, what makes a home feel "young" ... Well, first of all I'd think more in terms of fresh or updated and interesting...is good use of color, artwork, not so much matchy-matchy. I can think of one friend's house in particular. They are the same age as DH and me (mid/late 40s) and I'm not sure their house looks youthful in terms of "someone younger lives here," but they have a very interesting combination of antique and contemporary furniture, very cool and colorful artwork, and a few elements of whimsy here and there. Nothing is too "perfect" -- their coffee table is too small for their living room, really, but it's a bench that's painted red and it just looks more fun and interesting than the expected table.

    Decorating should be fun and should reflect your personality. If yours doesn't then maybe it's time for some tweaking! Sometimes it's as simple as trading in the drapes (I didn't see your post about drapes, so this is just a general comment,) for simple roman shades, or hanging new artwork, or adding a new seagrass rug where you used to have a dark patterned one.

    Hope that helps a bit.

  • kitchenwitch
    10 years ago

    I was thinking about this for the last few days, and I don't know if the term should be "young" as much as "new". Think of what it is that you like about the young apartment - fresh, clean, no clutter. Most young people don't have enough "stuff" yet in their lives, so their young homes are so much more streamlined.

    And times have changed as well -- when we first moved into our house 15 years ago, bookshelves with built-in cabinetry was a must for our books, CDs and stereo equipment, as well as the many serving pieces, ice buckets, and china/crystal that we use for family entertaining. Most young people these days don't collect books - they use the internet for reference and recipes, Kindles or iPads for reading, and they have iPods/MP3 players for music. And while they're young, most of their entertaining style comes in the form of disposable Solo cups, so they aren't burdened with platters and stemware. This has greatly reduced their amount of stuff and required storage (remember moving when we were in our twenties - everyone had so many boxes of books & records!)

    Just recently I took down the floral drapes in my living room and replaced them with natural woven shades - what a difference in how much more modern it looks, as well as less dust and cat hair to deal with. Cleaner, fresher and less visual clutter all at once with just one small change.

  • Ideefixe
    10 years ago

    I'm over 50, and I've changed my style slightly over the years--I'm actually more adventurous than I was when I wanted Laura Ashley everything. I think paying attention to what's in the zeitgeist is vital. My FIL is 86, and he's always looking at new electronic gadgets, traveling, keeping up on the news and even pop culture--and he's the youngest guy I know. While my husband's not going to give up his vinyl, we did move on to an ipod dock, etc.
    I try to change up my cheapo accessories, like pillows, vases, etc. and prune down my ditsy, small, twee and cute stuff.

  • bonnieann925
    Original Author
    10 years ago

    Lori, Sueb20, kitchenwitch and indeefixe,
    You have all touched on various ways to update without breaking the bank and while focusing on what's important and what fits our lifestyle. I laughed out loud when I read your post, kitchenwith! How funny about some people using Solo cups vs. stemware (I'll never give up my stemware!) but will gladly give up all floral drapes!

    Prune down, simplify and give away.....yes I can! Thank you for all who participated in this thread. Really helpful stuff!

  • loribee
    10 years ago

    Shoot, I love floral drapes... :)

  • bonnieann925
    Original Author
    10 years ago

    As you should. They work beautifully with your romantic home style Lori!

  • loribee
    10 years ago

    Awww...thanks!

  • biochem101
    10 years ago

    I read this forum regularly but don't post much. This time though, can say that I practically agree with *everything* above!
    Had no idea so many posters were "in the same boat", LOL! Actually thought you were mostly way younger. ;)

    Same here, started redecorating after paying for college. Started with the kitchen, then moved to this forum as I work my way around the house.

    I would add it has not been totally easy updating around older collections of pieces. For instance, I really fell for the "new" black and white kitchen look, and our house is anything but transitional. After pondering all the antiques, decided a change could be from "English Country house" (darker colors) to French country (lighter but the antiques and ornate furniture stay). Hence the cabinets have ornate molding and glaze as opposed to simple white shaker.

    There is more than one decorating style currently in operation, and hopefully you can find one that fits much of what you have. It's not always feasible to throw everything out, nor does one always want to. :)

    Have fun!

  • cliff_and_joann
    10 years ago

    We keep up with everything, window treatments, upholstering and fresh painting...but, the big secret is -- we have a lot of antiques mixed in and we will always be younger than them! really. :)

  • alabamanicole
    10 years ago

    I think there are two issues here. One, what makes a home look like an old person lives there? And two, what makes a home look dated?

    The first is usually clutter. We tend to accumulate things as we age, both "stuff" and things which represent treasure memories. The key here is to edit. Bonnie, I would get a wild hair one day and make three piles. Stuff you need, stuff you absolutely love and other stuff. Revisit your piles for a while. When you are satisfied, get rid of the "other" pile. What you have left will be your guide for YOUR style. And if it's still a lot of stuff but it's all important to you... do you really care if other people don't like it? They don't have to live in it.

    The second issue is simply trends. Today's white shaker cabinets and hand-scraped wood floors are tomorrow's shag carpeting. You can't replace your cabinets all the time, but paint is a cheap way to update a room's colors to match the current color sensibility.

  • bonnieann925
    Original Author
    10 years ago

    Biochem, CliffandJoanne and Alabamanicole,
    You all hit on key points, pare down but keep the treasured memory stuff and the good furniture.

    Nicole, I do the 3 pile thing all the time!

    Intersting how many people are in the same boat here. Thanks for your input!

  • loribee
    10 years ago

    Joann...LOL!:)

  • juliekcmo
    10 years ago

    loribee,

    I finally got a chance to snap and upload some living room photos. Here is the after, which I just love:

    In the second photo, the Pier One table has the small lamp and Jerusalem Pottery on it.

    That, and the sofa pillows and rug are the only purchase I made. (sorry I didn't straighten up the throw pillows before taking the picture,) I am not going to "stick" something on the wall over the table. I am going to look over the next year or 2 and try to find something, maybe on vacation next year. Good news is the old boiler thermostat was there. Last year we put in new AC, and they moved all the controls upstairs. So I finally got to yank off and patch the wall where that was. It drove me crazy trying to hide it with something.

    I couldn't find any good pictures of the before. But before the TV was where the Pier One table is now. So the sofa was between the 2 french doors (and it was too long to look good there). And the leather club chairs and ottomon were on the front window wall. Very awkward to watch TV, because you were not facing it, and had to turn your head. It was hard to see the fireplace, and the room was lined up like a bowling alley. And it had a very large very burgundy rug that just sucked up the light from the north-facing room with 1 window.

    I honestly can't believe that this looks and feels and functions so much better just by making these small changes.

    And in case anyones is wondering, the cabinet holding the TV is a sideboard. We removed the lower drawer, drilled a hole through the back for cords, and put the cable box and internet through there.

  • gsciencechick
    10 years ago

    I really like this thread! I agree, it's probably "fresh" vs. young, because our LR still looks like we are in grad school!

    I was never one for more ornate items, but as I get older I like less formal/traditional/cottage and more casual/modern/retro. Of course, I spent good money on cottagey style white BR furniture, but I like it, and it's solid like a tank, so it's not going anywhere! I like a more "romantic" BR.

  • rj56
    10 years ago

    Interesting thread. I'm also in the process of freshening the decor - my youngest is 21. I'm removing wallpaper, and replaced drapes with woven wood shades. Have parted with some collections, but still have items that I just don't love anymore. Am trying to use lighter colors. As much as I want a fresh look, it's a lot of work and time, not to mention money to change things up. I think it was more fun the first time around.

  • loribee
    10 years ago

    Thanks for sharing, Julie!
    Great pix....love the coffee table, too. Isn't it nice when just a few, simple changes can make you feel like ahhhhh....that's it!
    Great inspiration for Bonnie! Bon Voyage, Bonnie if your trip is soon! Make sure you buy Bermuda perfume~ :)

  • bonnieann925
    Original Author
    10 years ago

    Lovely room redo Julie. Sometimes it really is the simple changes that have the biggest impact.

    Yes, Lori. We leave on October 14th and can't wait. We went by the Black Falcon Pier last weekend on the way to Jerry Remi's at the Seaport. So many changes to that entire area. Perfume and linens are on my "must have" list.

    Funny, we've been buying works by Bermuda artists for years, starting on our first trip there in 1980. We still have 2 original Birdsey pices in our LR. I really enjoy visiting the art studios there. Who knows what might get shipped home?!

  • loribee
    10 years ago

    Linens? What linens did I miss??
    We have Carole Holding's prints but the mistake I make is not having them framed properly! I always think I can do it myself. :(
    Must check out Birdsey's!

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