Since I was about 12 years old, I’ve loved to decorate and plan out spaces. At that age, the only space I could really call “mine” was my bedroom. I vividly remember my sports-themed room with navy blue and hunter green curtains that my Gram sewed for me. After that was my garden-themed bedroom with a heavy influence of 101 Dalmatians. (I was obsessed with the reboot for some reason. You know, the one with Glenn Close?) There were plenty more variations along the way, but who was beside me all the way? My mom. I could imagine how frustrating it would have been, but instead she encouraged me in my creativity and made helpful suggestions of how we could use what we already had. Each time I came to an end of a room design, I had already moved onto another “love.”
As an adult, because of that helpless feeling of getting to the end of a project and changing my mind, I now gravitate toward a timeless style. I’ve definitely leaned into a specific style since college and have learned to find small pieces that reflect the current style I’m loving instead of changing out all the big pieces.
I guess you could say I have 20 years of experience in changing my mind, using what I already have, and dreaming up ideas of how to create something on a budget. In this three-part series, I’ll be talking about what is a hand-me-down, what to do with them, and how to make your space feel cohesive.
What’s a Hand-Me-Down?
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a hand-me-down as something that is, “put in use by one person or group after being used, discarded, or handed down by another.” I think of that and more when I think about hand-me-downs in our homes.
Maybe you weren’t given a piece, but you found something for necessity or function. This was especially true for me in college and post-college, or when I moved into a new home. Maybe you just really needed a coffee table and the one you saw at a yard sale was $10. Or free by the side of the road (been there!).
Maybe you don’t have pieces that have been handed down to you, but your style has changed over the years. So, your items feel like hand-me-downs because they don’t match your style anymore.
Regardless of where it came from, if you have pieces in your home that don’t match your current style, are mismatched, or even that you love but aren’t “in style,” you’re not alone. I hope this series will be helpful to you!
The Blessing of Hand-Me-Downs
I know for us, hand-me-downs have been an incredible blessing because they’ve filled gaps where we’ve needed function and a lot of times have been free or very low in cost. Taking design out of it, it’s truly a gift to have a place to sit to eat or a place to kick up your feet. I need to remind myself of this! Some of the pieces in our home have been passed down through our family – like these side tables. My grandparents invested in them a long time time ago and here they are today in my family room. I love their history and they remind me of my Paka and Gram!
I have hand-me-downs in all categories. Pieces that were actually handed down to me, pieces that I once purchased and no longer fit my style, and pieces that I found. When we purchased this house, the previous owners were moving to Florida and they left a lot of their furniture behind because they didn’t want to move it – such a rich gift to us! In fact, our entire dining room is filled with their old furniture: the dining set, buffet (which is actually a dresser), and bar.
Honestly, I don’t even know what type of dining room table I’d pick out on my own because this is what we have and it’s not at the top of our priority list budget-wise. Same goes for our outdoor furniture, which we were handed down from my parents, to my sister, and now to us. For this season in our life, we are so thankful and decorate around those items!
The Struggle of Hand-Me-Downs
HGTV has been my favorite TV station since high school. I even included which show was my favorite on my about page here on the blog. I love watching the before, after, and everything in between. My current love is Fixer Upper. It’s beautiful to see the restoration of older, neglected homes getting new life (and inspiring me with my own home).
In the “makeover everything” shows, we see the before, the renovation, and then everything seems to change at once with style in every nook and cranny. What they don’t always communicate is that once they get the space all decorated and beautifully cohesive, the new homeowners can purchase some of the items, but most often all the new stuff is moved out and the homeowners bring in the furniture that they already own.
Some of us get the opportunity to transform an entire room or home all at once. If that’s you, that’s amazing! Please share your journey with us. But, most of us are building our homes over the course of our lives. It’s okay to not have everything match in your home. There is value in the slow process.
What are Our Options?
Friends, I give you permission to have the most hodgepodge home in America. What you love – do that. Embrace what you have. Rock it out. If you’re looking for a change and are planning on getting rid of your furniture, you could save pieces to give to your kids one day or give it away to someone who needs it. You could also try to sell any pieces you no longer want to get some extra cash to purchase new items.
I’ll be sharing the options I use the most in the next two posts in this series:
Follow along! We’d love to have you join in the journey. If you don’t want to miss the other two posts, you can subscribe here or below to receive the rest of the series sent to your inbox.