Owning Your Home {Even If You Don’t}

As I keep saying, this is not a home decor blog exactly. Except maybe it is, kind of. Because I keep posting home decor stuff. So, whatever. I love decor.

It’s not just because it’s pretty. It’s the feeling of ownership it gives me over my home. It’s a dream of mine to cultivate a home of abundance, joy overflowing, and safety along with risk-taking.

Even if we don’t “own” our apartment, we can still own our home. We own our responsibility to fulfill the role God’s given to each of us, and personally, I’m hard wired to create a space that’s full of tangible lovelies like accent pillows as well as full of abundance and joy and whatnot. I even think accent pillows and such can accentuate (see what I did there?) the purpose and intention we bring to our homes.

Now, having finished The Nester’s Cozy Minimalist Course, I’m loving the freedom I’ve found in rearranging, in risking new nail holes and switching up lamps. Simple changes that left me breathing a sigh of relief! And I didn’t break the bank, you guys!!

accent pillowsYeah, the couch is diagonal now. I still like the earlier arrangement where it was more perpendicular, but I think it’ll stay this way for awhile. And look at the accent pillows!!! No red, people!! (All the red in my house has been grating on me for awhile, in case you didn’t know… this excludes Valentine’s decorations of course.)

Mom may have taken me shopping for the pillows… We found the aqua-ish one and the grey-square-patterened one at Bed, Bath, & Beyond on megasale- yay! And the other grey one and the big neutrally one came from this glorious warehouse store called “At Home” here in town, and they were also on the cheap. (The far left one I already had.)

back of couch better

This bench made it back to the back of the couch. I just like it! Plus, the blanket-covered basket next to it on the floor hides a bunch of wires. Yay, hidden wires!

The Nester always says (and which I repeat seemingly once a post), it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. Whew! Amen. Isn’t that wonderful? Aren’t you breathing a little easier? Because I am.

Today, I’m clearly sharing some further rearrangements we’ve made to the living room, which is the room I chose to focus on for this project since it vexed me the most.

Even if we don’t “own” our apartment, we can still own our home. 

I know a couple weeks ago I shared my new arrangement of the room, without any extras like wall art or anything on shelves etc. But then my mom came for a visit and our wheels got turning (and we shopped for accent pillows obviously) and we changed it again. And that’s ok, friends! Did you know you’re allowed to change stuff around in your house??

gallery ish wall closer

My very first gallery wall. I mean, I think this is technically a gallery wall, right? Well, whatever it is, I like it. And as I create more springy items for the shopI’ll probably switch out what’s in the frames for those things (however, both of those framed pictures are available for digital download from my shop if you like them). Eventually, I’ll also paint over that flowers-in-the-water piece, which I’d painted back in college and forgotten about. I mostly put chose it to fulfill the need for a wider/more landscape layout type picture, but also because of the color.

You know, the thermostat is still there, but it’s not that big of a deal. Plus, when there are so many other happy things to draw your eye, who’s complaining?

gallery ish wallAll this time, I treated the stuff in my living room like it was bolted to the floor somehow, and that there was just no other possible way to situate the furniture, and that I had no art that would look good on the walls, or anything. (Gosh, don’t we get melodramatic when we’re dissatisfied? Or maybe I should just say “I” instead of dragging you into it.)

I didn’t do much besides just shift things around that were on the entertainment center shelves. I pretty much liked everything there already, but it feels freshened up now.

ent center

Still tweaking the area on top, but I’m ok with it for now.

shelf left side 1

I still love showcasing things like my letters which just bring me joy every time I look at them.


And “You are my sunshine” is a phrase you can find in several places around our home, mostly because my husband sings that song to Lucy every night before we put her to bed. (It’s pretty much the sweetest thing ever.)


In the course, we talked about utilizing different shapes and textures in the room in general, but also in vignettes like these, so here I obviously have a few different shapes/textures/colors/neutrals that I think are pretty happy together.


And then there’re plants… Of course, it’s no secret that I kind of have a grey thumb, so these flowers are fake. But I love them! And I love this box, because it stores stuff and it’s cute and sort of neutral but stylish at the same time.

orange flowers

Did you see the happy lamp? Well, the happy lamp shade? Actually, I think the shade makes the lamp happy, so it is a happy lamp…

lampAnd I know Valentine’s day was two days ago, but I still have a couple really cute decorations up… Nothing over the top, just this heart pillow (I don’t count the XOXO pillow, which is going to be out all the time.)

xoxo chair

I know. The chair doesn’t have a real slipcover; it has a fuzzy cream-colored blanket. We haven’t been able to find one for it that isn’t exorbitantly expensive. So, my mom and I might attempt to make one?? Maybe? Or we’ll just switch out chairs? Or something.

xoxo chair close up

I love banners, don’t you? And I love this Be Mine banner I hung on our mirror. Between that and the roses, it feels pretty Valentine’s-ish without being Party City in my dining area.

be mine wall

But I come back to accent pillows… Because oh! how I love them.Other accent pillows

Especially the aqua one… I think he knows he’s my favorite.

accent pillows yay


Like I said, none of this is perfect, or even finished! But that’s the other thing we learned in the Cozy Minimalist course: a room is never quite finished, because our families change and seasons change. Our home needs to continue serving all of us, which means it will look different at different times.

Kind of like how there’s nothing on my coffee table. I always loved putting cute stuff on it, but I have a toddler so cute stuff has to live in other places. I’m actually enjoying this cleared-off-coffee-table season! Turns out you don’t have to have cute stuff on every surface in your house.

I feel like I learned so much through this course, and strongly recommend it to you, if you are someone who wants to love your home as it is and doesn’t have a lot of time or money, or who has lots of both but struggles to take risks in their home, or someone like me who is a combination of all of those things!

Thanks so much to The Nester (who doesn’t know me or know that I’m posting about this course, fyi) for creating and generously sharing this course with the world. It’s well worth the cost, especially when you feel like a good friend is stopping by to help you with your homemaking struggles.

That’s one room down (sort of) and several to go at our house. But now, I feel like I can tackle all the others, too.

Don’t forget, friend, we can own our homes!

3 thoughts on “Owning Your Home {Even If You Don’t}

  1. Don’t you just love The Nester? I’ve purchased the course but haven’t gone through it yet.
    I love how you say that “even if we don’t own our apartment we can own our homes”. That is true. Home goes with us wherever we live. When we moved from Johnson City, Tennessee I missed my house, especially in light of the fact that we were moving to a really small apartment, but we managed to make the apartment feel like home. Now we are in a house again in my hometown, still a much smaller home, but cozy. We take home with us in our heart wherever the road may lead. You have a beautiful blog!

    1. Thank you so much, Teresa. You’ll love the course- it is truly delightful and helpful! I hope it’s blessing you to be in your home town again. I loved the mountains of Johnson City, but the midwest is home for me, and I’m glad to be living here again! Thank you for your encouragement. I so appreciate it!

  2. Oh my goodness Haylie! I really like you! I actually just took Nester’s Cozy Minimalist Course as well and LOVED it! I haven’t done a whole lot of rearranging in our home yet. We just moved in a few months ago after having baby number 2 so I’m taking it slow. =) And I have been getting rid of all the red in my house too because it was grating on me. I need my house cool and peaceful and calming and red works against it for me. Oh and I love love love your little heart pillow! It’s great! =)

Leave a Reply