lessons in design :: How to Design for the SEASONS of Your Life {guest post}
Wednesday, July 11, 2012 by {darlene}

Today I am so excited to introduce you to my friend Carrie. She is a blog friend. No wait… she is more than a blog friend… she is a friend friend!

You know. The kind of awesome friend who sends you emails like this:

“Darlene, crazy question. For some reason these candlesticks reminded me of you, they are $5 at the local Restore (maybe it’s the color, I see that a lot in your boards). Do they interest you at all? Let me know – I am happy to grab them and bring them along if you think you or a client would like them.”


Seriously. How thoughtful is that??? I am so honored to know this sweet and genuine girl. And I am so thrilled that she is sharing a guest post with you today. You will love what she has to share with you today {she certainly has me blushing. You are way too kind, Carrie!}. Thank you for sharing your insights with us, Carrie!!


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Ever have something finally click, and it’s pretty life changing?

Sometimes you can hear advice all day long, and for a multitude of reasons not have it sink into your mind the right way.  And then along comes one little word, and BOOM– epiphany!

That’s what recently happened to me.  I’d been struggling to create a home I really loved.  Reading the Overcoming Decorating Paralysis series on Fieldstone Hill was liberating… I could do this, I knew I could!  And yet for some reason I still I couldn’t make the jump to buy pieces I loved.  That’s when Darlene’s Defining Personal Style series came in and rocked my world.  Finally!  I had a list of words to describe what I loved, and more importantly, what I didn’t love and needed to avoid.

And yet, I still couldn’t take that first step.  Something was holding me back.

AH, then came the Design Studio session that Darlene was a part of at the Haven Conference.  And Darlene mentioned one word that changed my life: SEASONS.  As in, seasons of your life… and decorating your home to embrace those seasons.

I realized in order to design a home that made my heart sing, I needed to combine what I loved, what fit our life now, and my personal style. Now I’m finally on that road, thanks to one little yet empowering word:  We are all in different seasons.  You can design to your heart’s content, but if it doesn’t match the place where you are now in your life then it won’t work, which won’t make you happy.  And ‘home’ is all about having your heart smile when you walk through that front door.

For years I’ve coveted that “House Beautiful” look where everything
is high style, dramatic, balanced, unique.  In last month’s issues alone
I counted five ceramic garden stools and about 3,482 blue and white
ginger jars.

Do you know what my kids would do to a ceramic stool and a ginger jar?  We’re talking reducing them to mosaic tiles, people!  We see ginger jars, my kids see bowling pins.

I should clarify– my kids aren’t monsters.  But they are inquisitive young kiddos that love to explore and play.

One of the most important steps in designing for your home is being honest with which season you are currently experiencing.  To which season do you belong– single and sexy?  Young married?  Empty nester?  Or does this one sound familiar– the sippy cup and spilled milk season?  The bobble headed toddler season?  The oops-I-doodled-on-your-Berber-carpet season?

You guessed it.  That last one is my current season.

Right now, I have a 2 year old and a 3 year old (serenity prayers gratefully accepted, please.)  Most of the images in magazines just aren’t attainable right now.  I’m coveting a white tufted tuxedo sofa, but ended up with gray microfiber sectional.  And you know what?  I’m okay with that, once I realized that’s what best matched our current season!  And good thing, too, because the sectional already has been attacked by a pen.  Did you know gray microfiber does a great job of hiding pen marks?  White tuxedo– not so much.

Ahhhh, a tufted white tuxedo.  Yummy.


Some thinking points to guide you in defining your current season:

What does your life look like now?  

What are your needs as a person, or a family?  

Which areas of your home work well, which need to be improved?  

In which rooms do you spend the most time?

My life right now has two {messy, sweet, creative} little kiddos in it.  We need a space that is open, flexible, childproofed, with lots of storage.  Using the personal words inventory from Fieldstone Hill is really helpful here– what words most describe your life AND your style right now?  And which words don’t?!

Here are a few trends I adore that would not work during this season of our life:

::: You see beautiful white furniture.  My kids see a blank canvas.

::: Ah, high gloss finish, how you draw me in.  But those stairs would be like a skating rink.

::: Barn doors are all the rage.  By the time my kids are old enough to handle not swinging from them, they’ll be old news.

::: Ceramic garden stools, or very fragile drums?  Depends which season you are in.  I don’t even want to think about how my kids would repurpose those stools…  let alone what they’d do to that giant clam shell.

::: Displaying a large collection– two words: dusting. nightmare.

::: Mirrored furniture.  Need I say more?

Now we know what won’t work, I need to define what will:

::: This bedroom exemplifies our style in this particular season.  Soft
surfaces.  Lively.  Livable.  Washable.  Beautiful breakable things out
of reach.  Did I mention soft surfaces?

::: Another master bedroom– very relaxing, very beautiful.  Very childproof!

::: Add in a few booster seats and scotchguard the chairs, and this eat-in area is beautiful yet family friendly.

Storage, storage, and more storage.  Extremely family centered entry way!

This kitchen from 320 Sycamore is gorgeous.  Plus displaying breakables out of reach?  Perfection!

Rumor has it this sippy cup season will be so much shorter than I expect.  I’ll be
getting that white tuxedo couch way sooner that I’d like, I’m sure.  At
least that’s what the experienced parents tell this tired mama.  On that note, it’s important to anticipate future seasons when designing for the long-term or making major purchases.  Here’s some guiding questions to get you thinking:


What do you anticipate your life looking like in 5 years?

Will you be living in this home in 5 years?

What major projects will you complete now that need to also fit your life later?

These built-in shelves on this island are a perfect example of long-term designing for seasons.  Displaying ceramics is a beautiful way to show off your collection– when you don’t have little kids, that is.  In our home this might store a basket of toys and some favorite books.  For school aged kids, baskets with school supplies for a homework station would fit that family’s needs.  And later on?  Ceramics all the way!

This sectional is similar to our gray microfiber model.  See, it can be useful now and perhaps even beautiful later!

In summary (for you skimmers among us), here’s some tips for designing for the seasons of your life:

* what season you are in currently, what words describe it?

* what season do you anticipate entering next?

* which words describe your personal style?  Which do you need to avoid?

* what are the non-negotiables?

* what do you need to embrace in this season of your life?

And remember: 

* Always buy what you LOVE, but sometimes that piece may be something you need to love now, for this season.  Gray microfiber, for example.

* A good motto is to buy less things, but better things.  Put your money where your heart is!

Thanks to Darlene’s amazing blog, I’m embracing my epiphany regarding
how to create the home I love through designing for the seasons in my
life.  Someday I may have that white tuxedo sofa.  Just in time for grandkids, I’m sure!

I would truly love to hear your answers to the questions above and more.  Have you decorated for the seasons?  Is there something you love but just can’t have right now?  Any other design epiphanies to share, to help in creating a home you can enjoy and embrace?


Carrie Higgins is the chief lemon-squeezer over at the blog Making Lemonade, which she began after her daughter suffered a traumatic birth and she needed to make lemonade out of some pretty sour lemons.  While her motto is ‘helping you live a lovely life, for less’ by sharing DIY projects, organizing ideas, healthy recipes and more… her passion is interior design, perhaps to be explored in an upcoming season.  Journey along together on Facebook, Twitter, and of course the lovely Pinterest.

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Thank you SO much, Carrie, for your great thoughts on decorating with the seasons of life in mind. It is SUCH a helpful way to look at things, and also to transform your home in beautiful AND practical ways.



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  • This is soooo true of my life right now!

  • This was SUCH A FABULOUS post!!! No skimming here! I appreciated every word and it all resonated with me. Thank you!

  • So so so so so SO right on Carrie!

  • I absolutely love every word of this post – so true! Honestly, I wish I had read something like this when we bought our home (pre-children). When our little boy was born last year, we had to make some design changes FAST, but I didn’t want to compromise on style. The microfiber couch? Not my dream couch, but it has cleaned up beautifully after tummy troubles, spilled silly cups and the glass of wine I left too close to the edge. I’m saving this post for the moment that I’m lusting after something new, but realize that it is not for my current life. Thank you!

  • Beautifully written post and one most women can identify with. I am in the empty nest syndrome where I can have a white couch if I want but, honestly, would trade all the beautiful furniture and rooms for an opportunity to have my baby running around making a mess again. Empty nesting is full of lots of emotions and you can follow those on my empty nest remodel blog if you like.

  • Eeek, that’s me! I have been struggling with that in the whole Design Paralysis thing, too! I have eight children and we home school. I’ve had at least one child aged two or younger since 1995! It’s feeling like a very long season, lol!

    One thing I love is original artwork. I don’t have a lot of free time for drawing and painting, but they love to do it, so I’m framing more of their art for our regular walls, not just the schoolroom. And everything is legit artwork when it’s in a frame!

  • Brilliant post girls! Its freeing to realize I can love something for a future season if it doesn’t work now!

  • YES. Love this post, and am learning as I go…bonded leather couches, vinyl on my dining room chairs, washable surfaces EVERYWHERE. But it can still look nice! And I’m embracing the fact that our house is filled with scratches, dents and dings due to the boys; I’m just calling it character. :)

  • This is so true…you have to plan your spaces around the seasons of your life. When my kids were little I needed a colorful, cheerful environment to keep me upbeat on long days. Now that my kids are older and our life is so busy I am leaning towards a quieter backdrop – rooms that beg for us to sit down, put our feet up and relax.

    I love this concept – designing for the seasons of your life!

  • I so learned my season should not include a blue leather sectional! Body oils and a dog are not compatible with that choice. I can still put pops of color with pillows and other items that I can change easily with just a little dinero.

  • Such a great post, now I am even more disappointed I didn’t get to meet either of you at Haven. Take care, Laura

  • so true, for so many people I’m sure. I’m glad someone put it out there!!

  • […] How to Design for the Seasons of Your Life @ Fieldstone Hill […]

  • Thanks for this encouragement. I feel very relieved to hear someone say it’s okay to decorate for my season of life. We have 4 children (9 year-old twins, 6, and 5) and we have been anticipating a move for over a year now. It hasn’t happened and neither has any decorating. Our walls are mostly bare and I’m just not motivated. Maybe I’ll start with a few small projects now.

  • The pink room is very fierce. I enjoy the color contrast and the items placed in the room. Thank you very much for posting on the subject.
    Stephen, Denver Interior Design

  • Whats up! I just wish to give an enormous thumbs up for the good information you’ve right here on this post. I might be coming again to your blog for more soon.

  • […] girl Carrie at Making Lemonade wrote an awesome guest post on this which is worth the read. Learn what you love, and combine that with what works for THIS time in your life, whatever it might […]

  • Great post, love your captions on all images but especially on the ones that don’t work.

    Love the look of the second master bedroom, simplistic by still stylish.

  • I am so thankful I found your blog. This is so encouraging as a mother of 4 children. My son is 9 but my girls are 16 months apart. 4, 3 and almost 2 years old. So the stage we are in is “oh you scribbled on your brother bedroom wall” and “why are your clothes all over your room?”
    Thank you!

  • Finally, replace the bag and clean or replace the now dirty exhaust filter.

    For electric ovens check the elements and wipe over.

    It is also important that you should consider its form.

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