One of the things I’ve liked most about the transition from living in college dorms to apartments has been the opportunity to more fully develop my taste in interior decor. College housing was all about what was cheap and easy to move. I had to pack and unpack my belongings frequently. I lived in six different rooms in 4 years of school, which meant packing, unpacking, and moving everything each of those times. And honestly, a lot of times things just got trashed because it was cheaper to buy them all over again the next year. But now, because I move apartments as infrequently as possible, I have the luxury to really cultivate my space. The process has involved slowly collecting pieces truly love. I’m not there yet, but I look forward to the day when all my of furniture has been purchased from antique shops and second-hand stores instead of buying them from big box stores like IKEA and Target.
Like clothing, I want my interior design aesthetic to be reflective of who I am as an individual. I love that when I show friends my room for the first time, they comment that it looks like me. I cringe a little at the all-white, marble, and gold trim aesthetic that seems to have taken over the internet (with the occasional succulent thrown in for color). I’m sure that this style is true to some people, but I get the sense that in many cases it’s more about being trendy. My problem with trends is not from an aesthetic standpoint, it’s due to the fact that trends are fickle and so if you want to keep up with them it means you have to constantly buy and get rid of stuff. Picking up pieces I truly love from antique shops has allowed me to find a way to express myself in my design and be more sustainable all at once. I intend to hold on to these pieces for a long time, and because they are second-hand, there is less strain on the environment to create the resources for new furniture. I’ve found that buying antiques can also be more cost effective than build-it-yourself furniture. My two favorite pieces are my makeup desk and arm chair (pictured above). Both were purchased on sale for less than $150 each (more affordable than alternatives I may have bought at IKEA). I also didn’t have to assemble them myself, and they won’t break down as quickly since they are made out of real wood instead of particle board.
My favorite bit of design in my room, however, is my collection of vintage postcards. I picked up my first postcards in the summer of 2015. I was drawn to the designs of the card and the sentimentality attached with each of them. At some point, someone picked up a post-card, wrote a letter to a loved one, and the recipient kept that card for decades. These postcards have lasted from as early as the 1910’s. It makes me wonder what I will leave behind, will anything I create end up in an antique shop one day and purchased by some 20-year old in 2090? I also love my postcards as art because they are second-hand, cheap (shops usually sell them for $1 a piece), and unique to me. Even if other people are decorating with them, no two people will have the same collection.
The rest of my art is mostly local. Tacoma has a great printing community, the bits I’ve collected from Beautiful Angle and the Dead Feminists are a direct connection to my home. I have spoken to the artists when I’ve bought, or found, their works creating memories with their work that does not come from mass-market art devoid of a sense of place.
My room is a wonderful cluttered mess of bric-a-brac. I personally do not find a contradiction between living a sustainable lifestyle and foregoing a minimalist decor. By choosing pieces that are second-hand, locally made, or built to last, we can surround ourselves with things that bring us joy with a reduced environmental footprint.