How is your home decorated? Do you use crisp lines and abstract patterns to create a modern look? Do you utilize antiques and fine fabrics to create a vintage look? My husband and I are still creating a unique look for the home we purchased one year ago. It’s been a bit of a challenge.
Interior decorating isn’t really my strength. An even bigger challenge for me, though, has been determining how much effort and money is okay to put into decorating. I realize that this last statement may sound a little silly, but I’ve had a lot of questions.
- Our budget is tight, so is it poor stewardship to spend money on decorative items?
- The Bible warns against storing up treasures on earth instead of in heaven (Matthew 6:19-21). Is investing in the appearance of my home an example of storing up treasures on earth?
- Can I have lovely things in my home while still living simply?
I’ve been mulling these questions and I think I’ve found some answers. I found it was easiest to first identify ways in which it’s not okay to approach decorating.
Ways Christians shouldn’t approach home decorating
- Trying to show off. We all have lovely things that we like to share with our family and friends (doing so can truly be a blessing!). However, when we purchase or display things simply to impress others, our motivation is inappropriate. In fact, the Bible teaches that we shouldn’t attempt to impress people with external actions (Matthew 23 & 1 Timothy 2:9-10).
- Trying to “keep up with the Joneses.” Envy and concern for appearances motivate us to “keep up with the Joneses.” Both of these attitudes are warned against in Scripture (Exodus 20:17 & Matthew 23:27). We’re struggling with some sin issues if our motivation in adorning our homes is to elevate our standard of living in relation to our peers.
- Spending money on decorative items instead of necessities. We need things like food, shelter, and basic clothing. Tithing is also a priority. However, nice wall hangings, decorative knickknacks, and plush rugs aren’t necessities. When money is tight, essential things need to be our priorities (1 Timothy 5:8 & 1 Timothy 6:6-8).
- Using decorating to facilitate procrastination. Just as we need to prioritize how we spend money, we need to prioritize how we spend our time (Proverbs 24:27 & Matthew 6:33). It’s easy to get caught up in looking at and creating decorative items for our homes. I know I have gotten carried away looking at ideas on Pinterest or rearranging items on shelves! Sewing, painting, and other tasks can take up a lot of time. There’s nothing inherently wrong with spending time on these tasks, we just need to make sure we’ve taken care of other more important tasks first.
After considering these things, it was easier for me to consider the ways in which I should approach decorating.
Ways Christians should approach home decorating
- Creating an environment conducive to serving God. We should learn to love and serve the Lord within our families and in our homes (Deuteronomy 6:5-9). If we are going to seek first the kingdom in all aspects of our lives, we need the environment in our homes—our nerve centers—to facilitate our faithfulness. Is the clutter in our homes minimized so we’re not distracted by it? Do the images on our walls, the book on our shelves, and the trinkets on our end tables honor the Lord? Do the environments in our homes promote peace and rest?
- Meeting the needs of family members. Our families have practical needs. We need to keep dangerous objects out of the reach of children. Certain features may be needed in a bathroom (e.g., antiskid mats, grab bars) to promote safety. Adequate lighting is necessary so we can complete everyday tasks. These needs should be kept in mind as we decide how to decorate our homes.
- Creating an environment that supports hospitality. Hospitality is commended in Scripture (Romans 12:13, 1 Timothy 5:10, & 1 Peter 4:9). We have incredible opportunities to minister out of our homes. We can host block parties. We can mentor younger women. We can host girls’ nights for busy moms. We can counsel engaged couples and newlyweds. A clean environment, seating arrangements that encourage conversation, and setups where guests aren’t afraid they’ll break something are all examples of qualities that support hospitality.
- Being faithful with finances. As I mentioned above, we need to prioritize our spending by taking care of necessities first. Once these are taken care of, we can consider adding special touches to our homes. Keep in mind that you’re not doomed to an undecorated home just because you don’t have extra money. There are plenty of ways to get free or low-cost items for your home. Get creative repurposing items you already own, check out garage sales and thrift stores, and don’t be afraid to look over items others have set out on the curb with their trash. (I know that last one may sound tacky, but people throw out surprisingly nice items!) A final note on the cost of items: Though I am super frugal, I believe that if you’re going to be getting a piece of furniture that you will need for a long time (e.g., dining room table, sofa, rug) that you purchase the best quality you can afford. This can actually save you money in the long run.
How do you think Christian women should approach home decorating? How did you approach the process of decorating your home? Was it easy or difficult? Did you integrate principles of our faith into your approach?