The Decorating Truths You Won’t See on HGTV

family room

Time. White Space. Imperfections.

I know. Not as glamorous as Buy New Stuff, Paint New Stuff, Knock out Your Kitchen Walls With a Sledgehammer While A Camera Crew Watches and it all gets done in one week.

But we are real women, with real fries on the floor of our cars, without big furniture budgets or pretty Joanna Gains coming to our house (please Joanna, come to our house?!). Where do we start?

Time. White Space. Imperfections.

UGH!I am so spoiled by shows, magazines and blogs like mine. Because I can be a brat, sometimes I forget that those after photos took TIME. And if they didn’t it’s because they had special circumstances for the PURPOSE OF ENCOURAGING AND INSPIRING ME. The nerve!

Time. White Space. Imperfections.

Gah, I wish I’d stop repeating those three words.

launtry room


In reality, time is a very real part of creating anything.

SLOW decorating is a HUGE part of creating a space that serves you and your family. All of us have to deal with time as a factor even if you run home blog that is your job, or if you do have your own show on HGTV or if you run a big ministry like Proverbs 31. We want everything yesternow, and we feel like everyone gets it but us.

But that is a lie.

Slow decorating and enjoying the process, inviting people into the undone, holding onto hope for your home, actually CHOOSING SLOW?  This is the real making of a home. This is the making of a life. This is how important things happen. Accepting slow isn’t giving up, it’s realizing that home is never “finished” and being okay, and happy because of that.

Are we ever done raising our children or learning how to create in our work? Am I now officially done learning to cook since I am 40 years old and know how to make pizza dough? No way. It’s a process, mostly enjoyable but with hard parts and mistakes too. I don’t want to be done learning how to cook, and I don’t want to be done creating a beautiful home.

Time. I’m okay with it.

what can be done with less

White Space:

EDITING is an art form that gets almost no attention except from minimalist blogs. It takes maturity to allow for white space and margin in our home and life. Being a Stuff Manager is nobody’s dream job. Editing is the long-lost red-headed step child of the design world. When in doubt, take it out.

Be sure to hang out around here in July when we do a little practice on intentional White Space. You won’t see a show about that on TV, because it would be the most boring (yet cost efficient to produce) show ever. But in our real lives and homes? Most of us desperately NEED the gift of white space.




Non-Perfect things, circumstances, people, homes, jobs, families are part of all of our lives. It’s not our job to banish or ignore them. It’s our job to learn how to live beautifully within the imperfect.

Take joy in the little wins even if they aren’t fully finished.

Practice trust with your friends and partner with those Beauty Hunters who will take your hand and point out the beauty that is there right now. What does being okay with our imperfect, beautiful, potential filled mess look like in real life? It looks like welcoming people into the mess, the undone, the imperfect. And then, instead of getting all caught up in what we don’t have, we get all caught up in how they are doing and nobody notices or cares about the swampy green pool in the backyard.

Those imperfections don’t hinder your relationships, they actually help. Those imperfections play a starring role, and sometimes messes are downright beautiful.

Creating home starts with the opposite of what we sometimes tell ourselves.



If you are creating a home to impress and make people jealous, then yes, max out the credit cards and start in the fanciest furniture store, repeat every four years and make yourself miserable.

If you are creating a beautiful, meaningful home that serves your family with a true purpose, then you have to do the opposite.

Start with what you have, remove things and quite the house, use things in fresh new ways and shop the house, then embrace those imperfect things, because you know the true purpose of your home.



Today Lysa’s sharing the second video we made in our 12 hour room makeover. It was SO FUN to makeover a room in a matter of a day and a half. Four or Five of us went thrifting, (I warned them about the fickleness of thrift stores then prayed for weeks that we would find a few workable items in the few thrift stores available to us) and we found great stuff! The next day we spent eight hours putting this room together. Which is GREAT!

If you want to take a day to go thrifting with your friends (don’t forget to warn them and yourself of the fickleness of thrift stores and pray) and then invite them all over for eight hours the next day, you can do that too! But for most of us, decorating happens slowly, organically one weekend at a time, one sofa moved that extra six inches, one great find at a yard sale every summer.

beforeAlison’s family room: before

afterafter (I’ll have some more pics in the next post)

So even though we did this makeover (reveal here!) in a matter of hours, remember, there were lots of us, and Alison had collected meaningful beautiful pieces for years, she even created her own artwork. She invested in some furniture (I bet you have some too) took a risk and chose colors to have her entire house painted, then let me go and make a bunch of nail holes in her newly painted, no holes wall.

If you want your home to be pretty you might have to get paint on your walls, if you want to display art, you have to allow for imperfection–and make that nail hole. I love that creating a home we love forces us to first mess it up a little.

Decorating is not an Olympic sport. There’s no big hurry and no prize for “finishing” first.

ENJOY the process. Now come watch a video we made of making over a room quickly, so that you can be encouraged and inspired.

Me, and Lysa TerKeurst and Joanna Gains and Alison and you? We are all in this together. Living it out, creating a home, letting it change and grow and serve our family. Amen.

Because Whitespace is Something Too

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“Whitespace is anything but nothing.” -Bonnie Gray (Finding Spiritual Whitespace)

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