I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately on decorating a grown up home. For most of my early adult life, I was shuttling from one apartment to the next, with a few houses with friends sprinkled in between. Adam and I moved into our condo four and a half years ago (how did time fly?!), and, while it was certainly an investment and it had all the details I wanted in a home, it still felt like an interim home (perhaps because we positioned it as a three to five year home). And I felt like I didn’t decorate like a grown up. I could blame it on the kitchen, dining, and living room all in one open area, and or that we didn’t have room for a king bed or a sitting area within the bedroom.
However, there’s something about this new house that feels grown up. When we were looking at houses, the minute I’d see an open floor plan or a lack of trim, I was out. That wasn’t an adult house. I wanted purposeful rooms, crown molding, and the type of space where I could imagine hosting a holiday dinner.
Now, let me add the caveat, we’re still in a small space. It’s the reality of Capitol Hill real estate. But we do have room for a king bed, albeit with nightstands that will have to each measure less than 20″ wide.
Decorating a Grown Up Home
Moving into this home is giving me the opportunity to embrace what I’ve had in my mind as a grown up home. It’s more traditional. There’s more wood. There are fewer stand-in pieces that will do for now.
But there’s also more pressure. Decorating a grown up home — one that isn’t a “just for a few years” kind of place — comes with so much more complexity. I want to get it right. Sure, I can redecorate anytime, but do I want to? Or do I want to get it to a place where I’m happy with it for more than a year or two? Ideally, the latter. And, as a result, I’m trying to slow down and choose each piece intentionally. I’m not buying things just to fill the space. I’m accepting that I might be living without dining chairs for a few months or going without light fixtures until I’ve found the one that’s just right. I’m not going for the quick Amazon fix, but, instead, splurging where it’s necessary.
I’m also being more ruthless in what I bring in to the house. Even in the kitchen, I’m donating anything that isn’t an A-list item (this goes back to my word of the year — upgrade). Less stuff in my house, but nicer, more permanent items is the goal.
The Thrill of a Formal Dining Room
Perhaps the biggest part of the grown up home, in my mind, is the dining room. A dining room was an absolute non-negotiable for me when we were house hunting. There are those who’ve tried to say the formal dining room is dead, but I’m holding on. We’ll have a small bistro table in the kitchen, but I want a fancy place with a big table and room for at least 8 (in theory, our table should fit 10-12).
I took inspiration on the mural from the fabulous dining room at the Nelson Galt House in Colonial Williamsburg, designed by Heather Chadduck Hillegas, the designer-in-residence. I added a stately chandelier and greek key drapery that reminds me of my days working with custom fabricators when I worked in interior design right out of college. I found the most beautiful wood dining table with gorgeous carved scallop detailing and two extendable leaves from Kaiyo, and I plan on getting a floor mat to make sure the space is practical for everyday meals, too.
The result feels timeless and formal, but welcoming, too. And it’s going to be the place I make those grown up memories for years to come.