Grief changes you, and after a series of deaths two years ago, I found myself in need of expressing myself in a healthy manner. It was quite tempting to turn to drugs and alcohol, but instead, I made the choice to renovate some rooms in our house. As a former addict, it wasn’t an easy choice.
Home improvement projects help me focus and help me express myself. I took an old, boring storage room in our basement and turned it into my private room, a place where I can relax and let my guard down. It is small, 12 feet by 10 feet, and is totally independent of every other room in the house. It is mine, and has only my decor in it, deferring to nobody else.
I built a bookcase wall and installed a fireplace. I put in a wood ceiling and painted 3 walls deep crimson. The fourth wall is the feature wall, adorned with brown flocked wallpaper on a duck egg sheen. I built most of the furniture and filled the room with things I love: Books, rulers, southwestern rugs, estate sale finds that range from shabby chic to rustic. It is an eclectic mix that belongs nowhere else in the house. Two skulls watch over the room, and a miniature 221B Baker Street scene takes up one entire shelf. Sherlock Holmes can be seen lying on his couch, his violin by his own bookcase, fireplace lit.
When people come down to talk to me in my room, they instantly feel at home. They feel my comfort, they know they are in a space that is sacred to me. Sometimes we chat, sometimes we binge on Netflix, sometimes we just enjoy the silence. Every time I leave the room I feel better having released some of my stress.
Decor for me is not a trendy hidden shelf filled with cute bookends, fake books, and picture frames covered in fake gold. Decor for me is a way to express myself using no words at all, a way to see myself and be who I truly am, without input from other people. It creates an environment that makes me feel safe and calm. Decor helps me be aware of my blessings and fully appreciate them.