Living room:
Painter’s drop cloths unite my mismatched furniture.
Inexpensive seagrass rug covers wall to wall carpet.

Do you ever feel frustrated because your home doesn’t feel “put together?” Are you living with hand me downs or old furniture and struggle with discontentment? Do you gaze longingly at other people’s updated homes and feel that green eyed monster of jealously start to well up inside?

Here is how I see things.

  • Your house doesn’t have to be magazine perfect.
  • Your style doesn’t have to be the most current.
  • Your furniture doesn’t have to be new, expensive or ridiculously adorable.
  • You can have a mixture of furniture styles and hand me downs.
  • You can spend your money on things that matter more than the latest trend in home decor.

And you can still enjoy the process of creating a warm, welcoming home! You CAN find contentment right where you are, even with what you already have.

Unifying random accessories with paint eliminates
chaotic feeling of “nothing goes together”

The secret to finding contentment is not as difficult as we might think.

Yes, we do sometimes just need to get our priorities in check and stop obsessing over what other people have that we don’t.

Yes, we need to be more grateful for what we already have instead of spending our days longing for something new, or  justifying buying things outside of our budget.

But beyond just accepting and being grateful for what we have, HOW can we truly find CONTENTMENT and even happiness with what we have?

We have to be looking for the right thing.

I love making my home beautiful. It is a God-given passion for me to create beauty. But when I let my passion for beauty become an obsession for things I don’t have, stuff I don’t need or things “everyone else” has, I start to focus on the wrong things.

There is nothing wrong with desiring a beautiful home. God is the creator of beauty and he blesses us with a desire to be like Him! So how can we reconcile a God given passion for creating a beautiful home with our desire and responsibility to keep our priorities in check?

I find happiness with what I have by changing my goal to what I want to achieve. I have to focus on creative contentment as the goal rather than ‘perfect’ as the goal! Hmmm, what a concept!

When my focus changes to the right goal, I  start looking at old things in new ways. Often there is a simple creative solution to contentment right under my own nose. A coat of paint, an inexpensive slipcover instead of a new sofa, a simple rug to cover less than ideal flooring, or moving furniture around can give new life to a dull, outdated or predictable space.

When an unachievable level of perfection is no longer the goal, I can find simple solutions along the way to work with what I have. I am no longer in search of the “perfect solution” but rather looking for the most reasonable and creative solution to work with what I have.

When contentment with what I have becomes the goal, creativity has a chance to flow and I can actually begin to really enjoy my home! The pressure of perfect is removed. The creative challenge takes perfection’s place and I often times end up with something even more beautiful to me than what I thought I needed.

Do you struggle with perfectionism?

Follow my journey to contentment via my post on Living an Authentic Life!

By Melissa, The Inspired Room

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  • Living the Balanced Life

    I struggle with perfectionism, but more about myself. I feel I have to be perfect. I am overcoming this with God’s help! This is an awesome post and I am going to check out your blog and your authentic journey. It’s sounds like we may be traveling in the same direction!
    8 ways to find joy everyday

    • melissa @ the inspired room

      It is a struggle for many of us in different areas of our life. I hope you’ll come visit, I’ll come visit you as well….I’m always striving for the balanced life!

  • Becky Hall

    “creative contentment” – you should trademark that term! :)

    Sometimes when I’m feeling like I need something “new” to freshen things up, I just give the house a really good clean…. works (almost) every time!

    • melissa @ the inspired room

      Becky, isn’t that the truth? Sometimes our discontent is simply that our house needs to be cleaned ;-) Agreed!!

  • Paola Pacheco Rarick

    This was such a blessing to read. I find that the green-eyed monster comes out when it comes to my home, my hair being done, my clothes, etc. etc. I always come back to the same truth. That I can’t always be striving for more. That our Lord wants us to be content where we are. But I just love how you have made such a great solution for these feelings which are inevitable from time to time. So so wonderful!! Thanks for blessing us with this piece and with this site!!!

    • melissa @ the inspired room

      Thank you, you are so right. I think this is a lesson that can be applied to so many areas of our life. Our marriages, our homes, our clothes….when we make them an obsession, when we are always seeking out more, desiring perfection we can’t achieve, or always on the hunt for something we don’t have, we can get into trouble. But when we find joy and contentment right where we are, with what we have and are blessed with, we can enjoy the creativity God blessed us with in healthy, more meaningful ways.

  • Fiona’s Mosaic

    Over the years I have found that “not having” is such a blessing because it forces me to get creative and come up with creative solutions that I wouldn’t have thought of earlier because there was NO NEED.

    It also puts me in a place of trust with my creator, that I wouldn’t have otherwise.

    • melissa @ the inspired room

      Fiona, yes, I agree! Not having can be a blessing! Having too much is sometimes a curse that feeds our desire for more, rather than finding happiness in creating.

  • Katie

    Thank you for this post! It’s a subject that is rarely talked about on home decor and decorating blogs yet desperately needed I think. The unchecked desire for material things of any kind eventually becomes a negative force in our lives. And I’m sure it manifests itself differently to different people, but as always, awareness is the first step to recovery! :) Juggling my love of decor (and decor blogs) with contentment (with what I have) and stillness (in the midst of 50 unfinished projects) is a weekly if not daily struggle.

    Ultimately, I’ve found (and it’s no real epiphany) that what I focus on minute by minute and day by day takes priority in my life. And when I give that place of priority to the Lord, everything else falls into place.

    • melissa @ the inspired room

      Katie, I have found that if my first thought of the morning is “what is going on on twitter today?” or “I wonder what amazing things are happening in blogland” or if every little thing I do seems centered around “what I like to do” rather than what God would have me do each day, I have let myself become obsessed.

      While I of course write my own blog and enjoy the creativity of others, it has to be a conscious effort to NOT make home decor (or fashion or creating or business or whatever the case may be) my idol each day. I agree, putting God first has to be a conscious choice day by day! Thank you for your comment!

  • Jami Kastner

    Ohmigosh! I <3 your painter drop cloth idea! I'm trying that one SOON!

    • melissa @ the inspired room

      Soooo easy and so affordable! It made me happy for a few dollars and I could stop obsessing over my furniture because I was finally content with how it looked!

  • Ashley @ One in the SAHM

    This is so right on and something that I struggle with so much. I’ll decorate, and then re-decorate, and STILL never feel like it’s quite enough. Bad news bears. Thank you so much for the post – I re-posted it on my blog because it was so good!

  • Tori

    The only key to contentment and even joy, that I need IS gratitude. The more I focus on that which I have to be grateful for, the more other ways of thinking about said things (events, people, etc) fade into insignificance! The more I focus on gratitude and feeling thankful, the more I have to be thankful for… it’s a principle taught over and over in the Bible, Book of Mormon, and basically any other text (ancient or modern) that encourages right thinking! Like attracts like! ^_^ Can’t beat it. Just gotta learn it! ;)

  • gitz

    everything I own is a hand me down, and I’m lucky that most of it started to match. :) there was definitely a time when I thought “when I get that good job and save up I will have (insert what everyone else had). but as my life turned eclectic (nice term for insane) :) I started to embrace the eclectic in my home.

    you’re right. it’s perspective. and if we put our heart into what we have, and our hearts into the people who enter our home, the surroundings will feel welcoming and inviting. I now pay more attention to the feel of my home than the expense of it.

  • Heathahlee

    I noticed myself getting more and more discontented with the things in my home the more I read (and obsessed over) blogs. “Why can’t I have a beautiful house like theirs?” was my mentality. I still struggle with it, but now I know it’s just about being thankful for what God has blessed me with. I mean, even if my furniture is mismatched and most are hand-me-downs, each piece has a story! : )

    • melissa @ the inspired room

      Hi Heathalee!! There is so something beautiful about having things that tell a story in our homes. Sometimes we can erase the beauty and story of our pieces, in our effort to be “current” — that is sad to me! Enjoy what you have, and the stories they tell!

  • Angela De Souza

    I used to struggle with perfectionism but the older I get the less I struggle, I have come to see what is truly valuable in life. Time with my precious family is so much more valualbe to me now than a perfect house.

  • Anonymous

    I find it isn’t so much wanting and not having and envying, but the inability to get myself up and doing one of the many thiings I have wanted to do or long for. bjc

  • Maggie

    This was an amazing post! As was the additional on your blog. I need to read this everyday! I continue to tell myself to be content and then finding myself wanting more. It requires us to keep our eyes on Him! “Creative Contentment” what a great book you could write.
    Sweet Blessings

    • melissa @ the inspired room

      Thank you Maggie ;-)

  • Joni

    What a great reminder and unexpected gift! Thank you so much for sharing your heart and creativity.

    • melissa @ the inspired room

      You are welcome, and thank YOU for taking the time to leave an encouraging comment!!

  • wendy

    I love the canvas drop cloth idea so much that I immediately called my mom and asked if her sewing machine could handle it. I don’t think either of mine could. We’re going to give it a try and then, I just might have the PB look sooner than I thought. I hope to cover a sofa and love seat. If it works, I’ll post on my blog, which I just started today. Any and all tips in that regard are much appreciated too.

    • melissa @ the inspired room

      Wendy, I”m so glad to hear that you are going to try the drop cloth slipcovers! Have fun with your mom (my mom made mine!) and do tell me when you try the slipcovers! I’d love to see! Congratulations on your new blog!! I’m coming by to leave a comment ;-)

  • Bronwyn

    You put this so well, Melissa. It is so important to keep a grateful heart to the Lord for all He has given me. I find that when I’m discontent, and then pendulum swing the other direction (“so fine, I’ll just live with an empty house”) that’s not any different at the heart level than active coveting. When I’m truly living in gratitude, my heart is singing to the Lord, and glad that there are SO MANY things I can DO to make my surroundings beautiful. The fist is smile. And #2 is probably cleaning like Becky said! And then the fun of Treasure Hunting at garage sales, Craigslist, my own attic and bins, or just moving stuff around!
    Thanks for keeping it real, and keeping the focus in the right place!
    BTW, your post on white slipcovers convinced me to give it a try; and then I scored the white IKEA loveseat for $25 and the sofa for $43 (2 different sellers…and clean, don’t worry). I love that I can wash off the grime that inevitable is left by my 4 children!

    • melissa @ the inspired room

      Wow, way to go Bronwyn! That is a great deal on the IKEA loveseat and sofa!! :-) Enjoy your new sofas!! Thanks so much for your comment and encouragement today!

  • Where’s Mommy?

    Perfectionism is a struggle for all!

  • Robin ~ PENSIEVE

    Ha! I DON’T struggle with perfectionism….but I do struggle with reaching for excellence. I love how you give “permission” to have a passion for creating beauty and manage to also help shape perspective about how that can be done without creating idols.

    I like how you think, Melissa….and I kinda wish I DID struggle w/perfectionism sometimes!! :)

    • melissa @ the inspired room

      Ha, Robin! It is great to find a balance!! My husband probably wishes I struggled a little more with it in some areas, I’m sure, especially when it comes to cooking. ;-) That is an area I need to grow in my perfection expectations.

  • meredith

    Through your words I am reminded of something someone gave to me this week (excerpted from Choosing God’s Best, copyright 1998 by Don Rauniker.)…
    “God speaks in all sorts of ways. Sometimes He reveals His will to us by an impression. Sometimes He speaks by an inner voice. Sometimes we can hear Him speaking through the voice of a stranger, a friend, the words of a song, a thought from a book, a verse of Scripture.
    Rushed urgings are usually of the enemy. God’s Spirit may “hound” you by softly and repeatedly bringing something to mind, but be suspicious of anything that makes you feel driven or in any way obsessed. The voice of the Good Shepherd is gentle, familiar sounding and loving. It leaves you with a sense of spiritual uplift and rejoicing, never fright (John 10:3-5, 14-16, 27-28).”
    Thank you for sharing your wisdom!!!

    • melissa @ the inspired room

      Thank you Meredith!

  • Patsy

    Thank you so much for your article and the others you reference. I am my own worst enemy in everything I do. I have never had a perfect life and as a child I was poor and abused. As an adult I’ve always strived for perfectionishm in everything causing myself a great deal of stress and sometimes too much money. I feel like iI’m always striving to be what others will accept and I’m sure that comes from my childhood where I was invisible as a person.

    Your articles help me realize I’m striving for the impossible and need to trust my instincts to do what I kow is right for me.

    I wake every morning and go to sleep every night thanking God for all his wonderful gifts and guidance.

    Thank you again for your inspiration, talent and kind heart.

    • melissa @ the inspired room

      Hi Patsy. Thank you for sharing your heartache from the past and your sweet message here. You are dearly loved by God! He gives us beautiful gifts found in imperfection — I pray you’ll find peace in His love and those gifts. {hugs}

  • Cindy

    We have moved several times. My husband is in the Army and we have almost always lived on Post. I feel like I have done a pretty good job of making our house a home and a place we can enjoy while we are there. And doing it as inexpensively as possible. We recently bought a house because this will be our last assignment and we hope to atay here afterwards. All that to say, I feel stuck and overwhelmed. in making my home beautiful and ours. We have repainted most of the inside of the house. I would love for someone to help me use what I have to decorate and then shop for what I need to fill in. I need some good ideas.

    • melissa @ the inspired room

      Hi Cindy! We have a lot of Navy people at our church and I totally know how that goes! While I can’t come by and help you personally, I have written a lot of posts on how I go about decorating my house.

      Hopefully this will give you a little inspiration!

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  • Becky @ creative contentment

    I happened upon your blog today.. the name of my blog is creative contentment and I so enjoyed your thoughts on contentment. I live in Turkey and have chosen to embrace where I am and what I have and my theme for this season is ‘use what I have”. I have found how fun and inspired and creative I can be. Thank you for your blog. It was a treat to me.

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  • Alex

    I think you are very talented