When Your Decorating Style Grows Up

Do you think your decorating style ages along with you? Decorating your home is kind of like choosing a hairstyle, if you think about it. When we’re younger, we try to get the cut that makes us look older, more sophisticated. And, as we get older, we are always trying to find styles that make us look younger and hipper.

spiral-permimage source

The spiral perm—my first attempt at making myself look older when I was in the fourth grade. . . It wasn’t good.

When we bought our first house two years after we got married, I wanted to make sure our home looked grown up so I promptly went and bought the biggest matching set of furniture we could find (and afford). On the other hand, my parents have done a lot of updates in the last few years to make sure their house doesn’t look like old people live there. (It doesn’t, by the way.)

I feel like my style has grown up a little since we moved from our last house, just two and a half years ago. I think it’s easiest to see in my office. Here’s my last workspace, in case you don’t remember:


office gallery wall

And, the office in our current house:

library office

Our style partly grows up because our tastes naturally change along the way, but other things change, too—our circumstances, our families, even our budgets. And, hopefully, we just get smarter and make better choices (or like to think we do, anyway). I also like to think I’m better at making purchases that I’ll love long-term than I used to be. And, as with hairstyles, we hopefully become more sure of ourselves and less eager to jump on the latest decorating trend (like the time I bought a big Buddha head. . . )

I was lucky because I felt like my style was changing around the time we moved so I kind of got a fresh start (still reusing a lot of the same pieces). But, if you feel like you’re style is starting to change/grow up and you’re not sure what to do, come back tomorrow. I’m posting tips to help you start making gradual changes around your home slowly without doing a complete overhaul.

How has your decorating style grown up?

And, more importantly, did you ever get a spiral perm (with bangs)?


  1. Peggy says

    Yes, my style has changed quite a bit. Now that I have grandkids, I want everything to be easy, low maintenance. Casual, not formal or stuffy. But not “shabby chic”! In fact, I just listed my beautiful silk curtains on eBay; planning to replace them with cotton or linen.

  2. says

    Yes my style has definitely grown up! I used to just copy what I saw out of magazines now they’re just used for inspiration, because I feel comfortable now knowing “my” style! And yes, I have thick hair and STILL got big ole perms! Lol once my hair was sooo big it wouldn’t all fit in my drivers licence photo! Hilarious! Great post! Xo,Kathy

  3. says

    Yes! I struggle because by the time I get around to finishing one of my spaces, I’ve changed my plans for it like five times and I don’t like my original decisions. I need to work faster!

  4. Kathleen says

    I still really love your old office! I like that it was you, on a budget using the money and space available to you, the green dresser rocks! yes our tastes grow up but if you really think about it a lot has to do with what is readily available in stores like our fave Target. We have become addicted to changing styles and colors because things are no longer available in a particular shade. Stores have to sell. Everything old becomes new again with a twist. Avocado green of the 70’s is not the green of the 2000’s.
    Cant wait to see your post to see how to keep current without a total redo

  5. says

    I was never cool enough to have the spiral perm, or the side pony, or the feathered bangs. Which I guess is a good thing? Ha. I feel like my style is always maturing, and as a blogger I’m always making myself question “ok do I really like this, or do I like it just because it’s something new and different.” You think, yes, this is it, I’ve found what I like, but there is always something new around the corner. :)

  6. says

    I love this post, Emily, and the photos you picked out ; ] Yes, my style is definitely evolving. I think with age we become our truer selves and that’s reflected in how we decorate our homes, too. I think budget plays a big part, too. When my husband and I first got married we just bought all the cheapest stuff possible since we were furnishing a whole home from nothing. Now we can take our time, save up, and buy things we will want to hold on to and take care of. Looking forward to tomorrow’s post!

  7. Sarah says

    Woo hoo! Excited for tomorrow! When my husband and I got married five years ago, we bought a huge set of matching bedroom furniture…which I now completely regret. And I’m stuck with it. Looking forward to your tips!

  8. says

    You’re not alone, looks like many of us rocked the spiral perm when we were young. In fact, I rocked it twice during elementary school – as if it wasn’t bad enough the first time!

    My style has definitely evolved and has grown up with me. I like looking back at the decorating choices I made in the past to really see how far I’ve come, and I know that my style is only going to keep on changing and evolving over time.

  9. says

    A recent downsize brought with it the usual things, like cutting our taxes in half and lowering monthly payments of all sorts. It has also allowed me a chance to start over in the decorating department now that my nest is almost empty and I have a better idea of what I like and don’t like, and what’s easy to change and what isn’t. In many ways my style is the same as ever, but is now more restrained and refined.

  10. says

    I couldn’t agree more! I think about this all the time actually. I am so embarrassed when I look at pictures of my old house. Sometimes I just want to be like, “what was I thinking”?? I’m still workin on that “bigger budget” aspect, but I’ll get there one day!

    xo, amy

  11. says

    Never had the spiral perm but I did have big blonde hair, a la F. Fawcett for a long time. Wouldn’t wear a hat in winter, even the year I worked at a ski area. I was such an idiot! Thankfully my taste in hair has matured. Still working on the house though. Looking forward to your tips!

  12. Sona says

    I was born to early for the spiral perm to be in style for me, but I did just say to my husband the other day that we had to make some changes around the house so it didnt looked like it died before we did!! : )

  13. says

    My style has always been classic and clean but I think that I am getting a bit more daring with age. For the first time ever, I am going to use punches of color in a way that I haven’t before. Oh, perms… Not only have I had a terrible perm-once, my mom had only my bangs permed while leaving the rest long and stringy. I looked like Joe Dirt! Is there any wonder I have Chic Dreams?

  14. Rachelle says

    If only my hair mistakes were in the distant past. I was watching tv with my husband several weeks ago, and became convinced I would look like a Russian model if I only had bangs. So, during a commercial break, I went to the bathroom and cut off bangs. And, went and sat quietly back down. My husband ventured, “Are we going to talk about the fact that you gave yourself a mullet during the commercial?” I was like, “Nah, I’m good.” So, no pictures of me allowed while I’m attempting to grow my dignity back. p.s. I do NOT look like a Russian model with bangs. do not listen to that particular voice in your head.

      • Rachelle says

        Haha! Unfortunately, we now know that with bangs I look like I’m wearing one of those fake glasses with the nose and mustache attached. Except, just imagine the mustache going up on the forehead…

  15. says

    My parents have always thought me to stay away from big matching sets of furniture but he rebel I was as a teenager, I had to have one ugly set of matching 80s bedroom furniture. Thank heavens I learned to not do the opposite of what my parents told me because they do have good taste.
    Loved the post!

  16. Jacqueline says

    I have very thick hair and they always had to use two perm solutions to cover it all – and not once did I take that as a bad sign! Age really does bring wisdom!

  17. says

    I think my taste hasnt necessarily grown up… I’ve just kind of “found” myself. I started off with a primitive country [not in your face country but shabby none the less]. Then it took quite the eclectic turn and now I consider myself midcentury modern with organic and bohemian touches. Quite the change huh?! I’ve also turned from allll neutrals to tons of color. Color is where I really grew up. Can’t get enough!

  18. JennyBC says

    I just spit hot tea at Rachelle’s comment. I don’t know her, but I think we could be fast friends!!! I find my style has simplified over the years. I don’t like as much visual clutter and I am a little more clean lined than I used to be. I also am more confident in my choices and am willing to change things if I don’t like them. I think I was way too swayed by other’s opinions when I was younger. I have a good idea of what I like and how to achieve it now.

  19. Heidi says

    I hope my style has evolved. But sometimes I think we’re all still just following the trends and we’ll look back in 10 years at all of our chevron pillows and think “oh boy”.

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