Moving Back Home and Decorating Like a Grown-Up

Moving back home to Seattle has at times felt like traveling back in time. I’ll have moments of déjà vu waiting for the bus or strolling through downtown. In an instant I’m brought back to my time in undergrad at the University of Washington. It makes me feel about 20 years old for just a brief moment, which at this point isn’t an entirely bad thing. These moments have made me think a lot about how my life is different now versus then. At what point does one stop being a young college kid and become a real grown-up? The biggest change is of course the responsibility of being married and sharing a life and home with my husband. As we went through the process of packing and unpacking our home, we made a number of purposeful decisions about what furniture and decorations to keep. We focused on shedding items that either weren’t high quality or didn’t hold any significance. Basically all the junk. Probably the biggest difference in our home and daily lives, besides a more regular cleaning schedule, lies in our decorating and purchasing choices. I’m more purposeful about buying items with longevity; I also have a better sense of my own personal style. In college, I bought the cheapest curtains and bathroom rugs I could find; I distinctly remember hunting for second hand curtains in thrift stores in New York. Since then, I’ve learned that high quality textiles can make a huge difference in how a home looks and feels. When I bought my first home, my first purchase was a large rug to set the tone and color scheme for the space. I’m currently eyeing the two rugs below to help add some vibrancy to a few spaces in our current place. I also shifted to using real table linens as opposed to paper towels hastily ripped from the roll. Cloth napkins make even takeout feel like a real meal and they last forever. One of my napkin sets is similar to the one shown below ; I like that the fabrics are varied, so the table doesn’t look too matchy-matchy. .

Rugs Textiles Esty Julia Malinowski


. In my early twenties, I happily taped a few band posters to the wall, along with other thrift decorations purchased to simply fill the space. These days I’ve traded out free posters for photographs and art that remind us of our favorite people and places. We met in the Arkansas Delta, an area that is still very near and dear to our hearts. As a result we have a wide collection of photographs reminding us of the Mississippi River and the expansive fields of soy and wheat we left behind (2,4). We have several artist friends whose work we have proudly displayed, including pieces by Nick’s sister Amy and our good friend Bill Branch (3). One of my favorite pieces is a small rustic sign Mil got us as a housewarming gift. It reads “Welcome Y’all,” the perfect reminder of the Southern hospitality we fell in love with. The below sign is similar, but not an exact match (5). Finally, even when we’re old and grey, Nick and I will still be a little silly and hopefully a lot of fun. Since we both love A Prairie Home Companion and the Ketchup ads, I’ve been thinking about adding a Ketchup print to our kitchen (1). Thoughts? .

Art Etsy Bill Branch Julia Malinowski


Other things that are different? Man stuff, of course. Stray beard hairs strewn across the bathroom counter and giant shoes sitting next to mine on the shoe rack. My husband wears size 14 shoes, so yes, they are actually giant-sized. Of course, not everything can or should change. One thing that’s stayed the same? My cherished collection of gnomes still pop their heads out from bookcases and guard the tops of our toilet tanks. . Julia Malinowski Gnome . How has your decorating style changed or stayed the same over the years? When did you start feeling like a grown-up? XOXO, Jules

7 responses

  1. This post is so lovely — I also grapple with the question of when will I start viewing myself as a real adult? It’s been almost six years since I graduated college and sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever truly feel like a grown up!

    You post has me thinking this morning! Love sharing your decorating evolution journey!

    Sed Bona

  2. I now use the chairs I had in my living room in college as balcony chairs, so they live on! But I have upgraded my living room furniture to look more mature, my main struggle now is filling my walls since my living room has a very high ceiling, so I need to find décor that is proportional to the wall.

  3. I like you blog, would you mind if I nominate you for the Versatile blogger award? Hope you are okay with it, I’ll post about it within a day if that’s okay with you girls:) (?)

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