Monday, May 27, 2013

Why Being Broke is a Good Thing When it Comes to Your Home

Let them eat cake... baked fresh in one of our ten kitchens!
Because money enables tackiness. Now, before I go any further, let me just say that of course taste is subjective. What is hella tacky to me may be hella beautiful to someone else and heythat's okay. When it comes to the things you spend your (hopefully) hard-earned money on, the things you surround yourself with, you should do what makes you happy. That said, the problem with having a lot of moneyand I can only imagine what it's like to be in this position, because I may be a Swayze, but my daddy wasn't Patrickis that too much money means you can afford almost anything. Fancy a 90,000 square foot mansion modeled after the Palace of Versailles? Done! (Though that doesn't always end well, watch The Queen of Versailles to see what I mean.) Even on a smaller, but no less moola-influenced level, decorating with imitation-marble statues, Rococo-inspired furniture and ten-foot long pieces of knock-off abstract art is one way to make your house feel more like a museum than a home. And maybe, as a little kid, you always dreamed of living in the Guggenheim, but I get the feeling for most people that isn't the case.

Having less money means...

1. You Think Before You Buy

I'm talking priorities here. If you can't afford everything, you tend to only buy what you really want. So maybe that $3000 solid oak dining table from Ethan Allen is out of your reach. Maybe your budget is more aligned with the prices of IKEA or, perhaps, Kijiji? Maybe your budget is nada, but your mom just replaced her thirty year old dining set and wants to make sure it goes to a good home. Instead of spending a buttload of money on something you might outgrow, or just grow tired of, you could end up in a one person's trash is another's treasure situation. And that, my friends, is where the arts and crafts fun begins.

2. You're Forced to Get Creative

Why do you think so many artists come from poverty? Because, if you have no money, you have to think of innovative (and cheap) ways to live. Can't swing the price of those framed black and white photos by such and such? Take them yourself! Frame them yourself! All your bedroom furniture mismatches? Not in the eclectic, purposeful way, but in the "I got this dresser at the take it or leave it section of the dump... and it only had one used condom in it!" In the hands of an artistic person, that faux-wood 1980s clunker with the brass knobs becomes fresh with just a coat of paint and some new (or simply re-purposed) hardware. (Oh yeah, and a pair of rubber gloves.)

3. You Appreciate What You Have

Maybe this isn't always true. As humans, we tend to lapse into periods where we take what we have for grantedeven if what we have isn't much. But, in my experience with the low to mid income kind of lifestyle, when you take the time to consider the things you buy, or the things you create/recreate, there's a feeling of, dare I say, contentment that comes with such thoughtfulness. I have a bookcase in my office I bought unfinished from Jysk. I primed it, painted it, sealed it, replaced its hardware and used fabric to create a graphic back panel. I did this about five or six years ago and I still love that bookcase. It's one of my favorite pieces of furniture because I remember what it used to look like. Remember painstakingly chipping dried black paint off the doors' glass inserts. Remember how, when I installed the fabric back panel, one nail went askew and I decided to leave it as is, because no one would know but me.

And there you have it folks. Be glad if you don't have a lot of money. It means you can't have everything you want. And sometimes that's a good thing.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

But your a Patterson...??? now and we all know they have the monies!

Larissa Swayze said...

Ha! Yes, "Patterson" is right up there with "Hilton." So... when are we getting our own hotel chain?