Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Case Against Instant Gratification

I was listening to The Skirted Roundtable podcast ( http://skirtedroundtable.blogspot.com/) the other day and Joni, Megan, and Linda touched on a subject dear to my heart: when on a budget (we all are!) do we buy cheap or wait until we can buy better? As the designers pointed out, we as women often use shopping as entertainment; "retail therapy". In the process of recreational shopping, we are often tempted to fill our homes with a lot of Target, Hobby Lobby, Michael's, Stein Mart and the like. Nothing inherently wrong with these type stores, I shop there myself. But as Megan pointed out, spending many twenty dollar bills on cheap home decor can actually hinder us from buying something of better quality and design. It's a dilemna between instant versus delayed gratification.

Filling spaces with just anything is like feeding junk food to your kids every night, it just never really satisfies. It is so much better to wait for the right piece to be found or budgeted for. Something perfect and meaningful. Something that really speaks to you.

In their session, the designers talk about buying one great piece for a room, and building from there with possibly less expensive things. I think this is great advice, similar to fashion where good shoes or a great piece of jewelry elevates lesser pieces in a wardrobe. I often try to categorize things into good, better, and best. (And of course there is the category called "really bad".) A good rule of thumb is to try to have at least one thing in a room that is "better" or "best", even if it is something small such as an antique container for flowers or a good quality piece of art, or maybe a lamp. If you can't go for expensive curtains, maybe have some pillows made from a yard or two of a really beautiful fabric. Taking something with good lines and refurbishing and restyling works wonders, too, like my two dollar yard sale chair that I love. (You can read the story about this chair in my archives, "Confessions of a Chair Junkie", January)
Here are a few things that are wonderful pieces; some are splurges and some are inexpensive with a lot of bang for the buck, (and hopefully you won't see them in all your neighbor's houses).

This is sconce by Currey and Co. retails for $590 and is so beautiful. A splurge, but lighting can make or break a house.

Here is the Garin Candle Sconce by Uttermost, retailing for $135. It is large with an antiqued finish and gives the look of way more expensive hard-wired sconces.

Gorgeous 19th c. French Trumeau from Bremermann Designs on 1st Dibs for $7200. Statement piece, obviously.

"Belle Epoque" photograph of Paris by Irene Suchocki on etsy. An absolute steal for $30 for an 8x10 print, unframed. (She offers matting and framing services, too.)

Reproduction French Butcher's Presentation Table $1290
Antiques on Old Plank Road, 1st Dibs

When a more expensive piece of furniture won't fit the budget, a pretty monogrammed slipcover can always update something you already own.

Swedish Mora Clock, Ebay $2550

Wall Clock, 60" Tall, Uttermost,$297 retail

There are so many wonderful things out there. It just takes a little searching, but the results are worth it!


Victoria said...

We are in Greenville, South Carolina and we thank you so much for commenting. As you can see we are mere "Babes in BLOGLAND" just getting our feet wet.

We so agree with you and love your post today. Think we might be clones. Bet I say this to every client with budget concerns.

I feel neglectful that I have not posted before just discovered you in the last week or so. Postively lovely content. Nursery is to die for.

cotedetexas said...

what a greata post!!! I really love that picture of Paris !!!!!!!! yes!

thanks for the shout out. I think I'm going to create a new column on my blog for further Skirted Roundtable discussions like this.

Maria Killam said...

I had a designer friend say that every room needs a piece of bling, the more expensive piece that upgrades the look of everything else. Great post!

Linda Merrill said...

Thanks for continuing our discussion here - wonderful ideas and I'm with Joni - the Paris photos it to die for! May have to head over to Etsy...

Southern Chateau said...

Thanks Joni and Linda! I always feel like I want to chime in on the discussion as I listen, but my cats would think I was crazy! So I thought if anyone is interested I would add my two cents worth since I have been around the block a few times, not so much in blogging, but certainly in the biz.

Boxwood Terrace said...

I'm so glad I found your blog via Joni at cotedetexas.blogspot. Beautiful items featured here and I look forward to visiting again. Deborah

Southern Chateau said...

Thank you, Boxwood Terrace, for coming over! I so appreciate your lovely comment. It is good to know that when we write, someone is reading.

Cameron said...

This was a wonderful, and timely, post for me to read! Thank you for reminding me to stay the course, be responsible and be creative! So glad I stumbled upon you today! I am looking forward to reading more of your posts. :)

Southern Chateau said...

Thanks Cameron for commenting. I'm glad this post was relevant for you. I appreciate you reading my blog and I hope you will come back. Comments like yours let me know what is important and timely.

FrenchGardenHouse said...

What a great post. A great piece will last, MAKE a room, and you will love it forever, I so agree with you! You can mix in less expensive things, but that ONE fabulous piece will pull everything else in a room up to a higher level.

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