I, Jackie, mused publicly on Facebook that, “I think I’m serious this time about repainting my living room.” This, of course, suggests that I have NOT been serious about repainting my living room in the past, but what it really is, is I love color so much that it’s hard for me to rest where I am, on the color I’ve chosen. So, even though I’ve had my current living room color for a little less than two years (we bought our house the summer of 09), I tend to keep thinking. Unquenchable thinking, that occasionally leads me to blurt out such statements as the one above, even if I don’t ever go through with it.

But me making this admission publicly caused a friend to wonder why I’d want to change my living room color at all. She—and many others, including me!—likes the current color. When we moved in, Alex and I labored, hours, over creating the perfect palette for our house, and we started it off with a dose of Meditative Blue by Sherwin Williams in our living and dining rooms.

This friend also raised the question of design sequence. Many people, she noted, choose a wall paint color and decorate from there, wedding their accessories, etc, to the selected color. It seemed to her that I was working opposite to that rather common occurrence, and that maybe that could be good, and useful, what I was doing.

So I want to say something about design sequence, and why I would chose to paint my room, collect a bunch of stuff that doesn’t necessarily meld perfectly with that chosen color (though it certainly goes okay), and THEN pick a NEW paint color.

Other than me being a bit of a masochist, I’d say it goes back to my design/decorating philosophy. I believe in surrounding myself with objects that interest me, that I think are special. Sometimes when we don’t do this—surround ourselves with interesting, beloved items—we end up with rooms that “go” perfectly but lack any visual interest, lack anything that says JACKIE LIVES HERE. That’s like being a Bluth and trying to live, without irony, in a model home in Sudden Valley. Talk about a lack of connection between personality and physical space….

When Alex, Oliver and I moved into our house almost two years ago, we didn’t yet have a remarkable collection of worthy objects. (The rental life tends to impede this, at least for me.) So we chose a paint color to compliment the thing we knew we couldn’t afford to replace right off—our couch—satisfied that the color was also one we liked and went with the other colors in the house (and this is true).

When you’re a Cobbler, sometimes you make decisions based on your now-reality. And when you’re a Cobbler, you sometimes must conscientiously choose to turn toward your decorating destination. When you’ve got even one item about which you can say, hey, I really, really like that. And I want to have it around, that’s when decorating like you becomes possible. That’s when you can stop saying, I’ve got to be a slave to this wall color I picked five years ago and start asking, what makes sense now? Who am I today?

Don’t be afraid to change. Don’t be afraid to look to the objects that you love for inspiration, instead of flippantly committing to a wall color because walls are bigger than your prized collection of vintage fly swatters. Let the fly swatters guide you—trust the instincts that told you you wanted them in the first place, and then pick the paint color that’ll compliment them.

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