There are many things we dread about getting older and many of us spend way too much time pining for our youth. But if there’s one thing I love most about being 50, it’s finally knowing exactly who I am and having the courage and wherewithal to break all the rules.
Now, I’m not talking about breaking laws or hurting people, but women of ‘a certain age’ have experienced a lot and know once and for all what matters and what doesn’t. We no longer worry about what people will think, nor waste our time following others’ visions of what we should and shouldn’t do. We have the freedom to live our lives precisely as we see fit and that is a privilege well worth striving for…
Today I’m joining a group of ‘seasoned women’ to bring you some thoughts on what it’s like to be over 50, and of particular interest to me, what it’s like to be a creative woman in this particular age group. (Please enjoy the other Fifty and Fabulous posts linked at the bottom of this post.)
So what do I mean by breaking all the rules? Well, for starters, I most definitely wear white after Labor Day and any other time I please! But let’s look at how this experience and confidence manifests itself when entertaining and decorating a home.
If you’ve spent any time reading my blog, you know I love to style tablescapes and I’m a huge rule breaker in that realm. The one question I’m most often asked is why I put the silverware to the right of the plates and my answer is simple… I like it there. It looks prettier grouped together and leaves room on the other side for a lush napkin cluster. Yes, I know where the etiquette books tell me it should be, but I’ve lived long enough to know my home should give me pleasure and I’m unwavering about using things in my home that delight me. My one rule is my decor should make my heart sing. If my guests appreciate it, all the better.
Now, silverware placement is only one among many rules I enjoy breaking. Here are some of my most egregious decorating blasphemes. (If you’d like to look closer at any of these decor ideas, click on the photo to see the full post.)
I’m a huge fan of bringing the outdoors in, and I don’t just mean with plants and nature. I love to use garden statues and other salvaged bits indoors and the cherub above is one example, recently used in a fall vignette. I also enjoy using indoor things outside, and often bring out pillows and throws from our living room to use on the patio for an elegant look.
I’ve used tableware on the bed, as in the photo above, where the checked pillows were made from napkins and the boudoir pillow in front was made from placemats.
Yet I also use items from the bed, or my closet, on the table. The tablecloth above is in fact a scarf, and many times I’ve used blankets and throws for the very same thing.
In our bedroom I’ve placed a breakfast table at the foot of the bed for early morning coffee and a luxury hotel feel.
Our guest room blanket graces the table above, while the white bench is actually from our front garden.
I love to mix patterns and varied fabrics, but especially I enjoy contrasts of masculine with feminine, lace and pinstripes, or tweeds with florals.
Pretty much everything in my home is fair game to hold flowers, and this candle holder worked perfectly here. I like to see objects for the potential they hold and not just for their prescribed use.
I also love to mix metals together so you’ll often seen both gold and silver and even sometimes some copper thrown in.
Even furniture I use for how it best suits me and not necessarily what it’s supposed to be for. When I needed a dressing table for my master bedroom I chose a writing desk and hutch for its storage potential, as well as the way it looked in the space.
I have full rooms decorated to suit my preference, instead of how you might expect. Our back entry foyer was set up as a typical mudroom when we purchased our home, but I always want the primary entry that I use to look elegant, so gone are the cubbies and out came the French Country, because that is how I like to be welcomed home.
For holidays, I celebrate our traditions, but I like to put my own spin on things. For our Passover seder I used vintage mason jars with dipping cups on top as my seder plate, and made place cards to label the items inside.
Mixing mis-matched china is something I do quite often and in the Mother’s Day tablescape above, I draped pretty jewelry among the tabletop items.
Perhaps the biggest rule I’ve broken and the one people were most confused by was when I chose to turn a storage closet into a butler’s pantry. I had to explain to several people why I was putting cabinets in the closet, but it turned out exactly as I had envisioned and we use it all the time.
Whether you’re over 50 or nowhere near it yet, I hope you live your life on your own terms and decorate your home to please yourself and your family. It took me years to learn that most of “the rules” simply don’t matter. If the forks are on the right side of my plates, what difference does it make? After all, do you think left handed people prefer the traditional set up?
Please take some time to visit all the wonderful posts below by my Fifty and Fabulous blogging buddies. They are blessed, it turns out, with years of wisdom!
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