177474942Maybe I’m just going through a stage.  Maybe I’ve never spent this much time in my home. Maybe it’s been a long winter.  Maybe I feel a need to feather my almost empty nest.

Maybe, but it’s more than that.  I’m certain I got hooked on home decorating last year when there was nothing on TV, and my husband, the keeper of the remote control, stumbled upon HGTV’s House Hunters.  HGTV became my go-to channel, and I could hardly wait to see how The Property Brothers or Hilary on Love It or List It renovated the dark, cramped bungalows into open, bright and beautiful show homes!

This decorating disease got into my system and had me looking at my 14-year-old home in a new way.  The purple couch and olive curtains in my family room were too dark.  The gold walls blended into the maple woodwork and didn’t allow my stone fireplace to pop.  There were too many different colors, patterns and accessories in one room.  I wanted to start over and change everything.  It was then I knew I needed help.

I didn’t want help to cure my decorating addiction.  Oh no, quite the contrary.  I wanted new sources besides HGTV to feed it.  I found local and online interior decorators more than willing to supply me with their clever ideas and unique products.  I couldn’t get enough home decor information so I now have subscriptions to several home decorating magazines and e-newsletters.

I anxiously stalk the grocery and home store newsstands to ensure I have the most current home decor magazine editions.  I will buy any decorating style from traditional to cottage to Tuscan and any topic from kitchen and baths to small spaces to outdoor living. I have created both online and offline, room-by-room Ideabooks. And of course, I’ve been on every home decor web site in search of that perfect painting or rug or table that magically transforms a room into magic!

My addiction started slowly and in small doses with painting the walls of our family room Kilm beige and replacing our purple couch for a cream one.  But one change led to another and six months later, our family room was transformed from dark and busy to light and calm.  When it was finally done, I was happy with my decorating decisions but I wasn’t content.  I needed to feel this decorating high again.

My decorating disease spread to my adjacent kitchen which now looked outdated, dark and too maple-y.  Luckily, this was a quick fix.  For continuity, the dark green walls were also painted Kilm beige. The island was updated with white bar stools and chrome pendant lights.  The virtually invisible maple table was painted a creamy white and four chairs replaced the previous two to make that space more functional.  White pillows and a sparkly chandelier brightened the space and brought a twinkle to my eye but I couldn’t stop there…

Now I’m knee-deep in the dining room and have ideas for the rest of the house, too.  I can see where this addiction could spiral out of control but I don’t think I need an intervention yet. I’m not tearing down walls or taking out a second mortgage.  It isn’t taking up all of my time.  I can tear myself away from the computer at any time – just don’t take my tape measure!

Besides, my decorating addiction has uncovered some non-superficial issues like rotting boards and even mold!  It has also motivated me to seriously clean, declutter and reorganize my utility room in the basement.  It has become a storage unit for discarded furniture and accessories that we’re saving for our two sons. It’s become so congested I can hardly walk through it.

But I wasn’t motivated to reorganize my utility room for cleanliness’ sake.  I don’t go down there often so I could have lived with that clutter a while longer.  It wasn’t until I read an article in one of my decorating magazines, (surprise, surprise), that I got excited to organize it.  Decorating magazines have shelves and shelves of dishes, art work and other props that they can use in their photo shoots.  The article said that everyone should have a “prop closet” in their home.

So starting tomorrow, I’m clearing out a space in my utility room for my own prop closet.  I will fill it with favorite props that I’ve recently replaced but still like.  Now I will be able to swap out pillows and towels and throws in different seasons like the houzz.com April checklist said I should. My new prop closet may not give me the same high as my family room or kitchen but it’s a practical and an inexpensive way to get my fix.

Please don’t chastise me for wanting to make the place, where I now spend most of my time, lighter, prettier and more grown-up.  After retiring from years of working at Meredith Corporation, the publisher of Better Homes and Gardens® and many other home decor magazines, I finally have the time to fully explore this hobby.  And please, no interventions unless you see me with a shovel breaking ground in the backyard for a three-story addition!

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