I’ve been wanting to write this series for a long time, but when I received an Instagram message asking me how I deal with designing around carpet, I knew it was time to start Home Thoughts…a monthly post that discusses the intricacies and emotions of being a homeowner (who cares about decorating), and how that relates to the grand scheme of eternity. It’s a passion project of sorts.
So, to kick things off, I’m going to address this question:
Design as if you don’t have carpet
If I were to let my discontentment with our carpet take up residence in my mind, I wouldn’t be here, sharing the beauty I’ve created in our very imperfect home. And I wouldn’t be able to enjoy it, make it a safe haven for my family, or welcome friends in to break bread. So, I ignore it and decorate as if I had the most beautiful hardwood floors. I lay down rugs and decorate everything else the way I would if our flooring was different. And you know what? It helps. Oh, I still struggle with the desire for clean, fresh hardwood floors, but there’s no way I’m going to allow that one (very big) detail keep me from creating beauty in my home.
In Hannah’s room, literally the only thing that needs to change is the carpet…and it will get replaced at some point. But until it does, I’m going to decorate as if it’s hardwood. This helps with the budget as well because most people want to get all new things once new floors are installed. Work on the design elements you can afford while you’re saving for hardwoods, and you’ll be so happy you did.
Don’t talk badly about your house
HGTV and home improvement shows have made it normal to call anything we don’t like in a home disgusting or horrible, when really they’re just things that aren’t our taste or are maybe outdated. I fall into the trap of thinking I need to explain to everyone who comes into our home (and on Insta) that we have plans to lay hardwoods, so they don’t think I’m okay with what we currently have. Such a first-world problem, I know. I’ve had to train myself to talk nicely about our flooring, saying things like “We aren’t in love with our carpet, but we’re grateful it’s a neutral color and fairly new.” Once you start speaking like that, your brain falls in line and starts thinking differently about something you don’t like.
Look at all that shag carpet in our family room. I could refer to it as hideous and spend a lot of energy hating it OR I can refer to it as a future project and spend my energy dreaming of what we’ll have one day. Also notice that I did lay a rug on top of this crazy shag carpet. I’m telling you, it works just to ignore the carpet.
Create design boards
This is definitely one of my secret weapons for getting out of my head when it comes to our carpet. Sometimes I find myself staring at a space in our home, and I am paralyzed by what’s in front of me…the carpet. In order to break out of that paralysis, I create a beautiful design board on Photoshop (you can make them on Word, Canva, or PicMonkey too) and forget all about the carpeted floors. It’s just so refreshing to step away from the design limitations of carpet to the limitless possibilities of creativity. Even if you have to cut pictures out of magazines and paste them on a poster board, it will help you envision and ultimately design your space without carpet holding you back.
I just wrote a blog post all about our plans for our formal living room in 2021…and they didn’t include new floors! But it sure was fun creating that design board because I know that when we’re ready to do the floors, they’ll just be catching up to the space that’s already fully decorated.
Know Your Limitations with Carpet
In a more practical sense, you do have to consider the type of furniture you’re putting on carpeted floors. In our shared office, I couldn’t use a rolling desk chair because, well, it wouldn’t roll. So, I purchased a beautiful, unique chair that somewhat distracts from the floor and is still functional for working at the desk.
If you’re trying to re-create perfect images from Pinterest or Instagram, you’ll continue to be discontent with your carpet. But, if you can do the best with what you’ve got, you’ll discover a new kind of gratitude for the beauty you create despite imperfection.
Change your perspective
Each month, we financially support a little girl in Ethiopia named Tseyon, who sleeps on a mat on top of a dirt floor every night. We fully recognize that this is not our reality or even in the realm of our understanding as Americans. However, Jeff and I like to check each other’s perspective when we’re struggling with our desire for new floors (that we cannot responsibly afford right now). We pray for Tseyon nightly, and we have conversations with our girls about how different her life is on the other side of the world so that we can all remember what’s important in this life…and it isn’t floors.
Let me ask you a question. When you look at the photos I share, do you focus on the beautiful furniture, paint colors, and styling? Or do you stare at the carpet (literally in every photo I’ve shared) and forget all the beauty?
“I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” Philippians 4:12
We must train our minds to see the beauty in our own homes, day after day, when we’re tempted to cave into complaining, in order to have the right perspective. I don’t know about you, but even stronger than my desire for new, clean, light, beautiful hardwood floors is my desire to glorify God, serve my family, and love on my friends with my home, and I’m not going to let carpet deter me from that mission.
I’ll let you in on a little secret…right outside the frame of this image is shag carpet. Our cozy reading nook is located in the family room with all the shag carpeting we dislike so strongly (trying to be nice). If I had waited until we had hardwood flooring, or even just better carpet, we still would have an old, unused dry bar where the reading nook is.
Don’t wait. Create beauty in your home despite carpet. Oh, and set up a savings account for your hardwood floors. Seeing that account grow each month will motivate you to keep making the best of what you’ve got until you can afford what you really want.
I hope this was helpful for those of you who are struggling with wanting to replace your carpet but can’t right now…like us. Know that you are not the only one, but also that you don’t have to let carpet hold you back from creating a home you love.
So, what did you think of this first Home Thoughts post? Let’s talk about it in the comments below!