Do you really want to paint that room?

A friend was over the other day, and she mentioned that she has meant to paint her living room for the last two years. But she hasn’t.

This is not shocking to anyone who works on their home. It takes a freakishly long time to get the simplest task done. Finding time to get a new towel rack can be akin to a crusade – hopefully without all the killing. But you never know. And most upgrades will only be tackled after necessary maintenance and repairs are out of the way.

Have you ever had a dishwasher break and flood the house? You need a new dishwasher, new floors – all big decisions. Plus, you are most likely battling with the dishwasher manufacturer and the insurance company to complete the task. That’s basically the trifecta of bad juju for home repairs, and for many people it depletes not only their money but any inclination to undertake elective home upgrades. It’s kind of like having a second child. First you have to forget the pain and agony of the first pregnancy, then maybe, just maybe, you’ll be ready to consider doing it again.


You also have to factor in the sad truth that most of us just hate certain projects. Personally, I think painting blows. While I’m a patient person under most circumstances, I am not a patient painter. I do no prep – I don’t even cover the floors. There is no taping of windows or trim. I just tell myself I’ll be careful. You can imagine how that turns out. Like crap. So I don’t paint anymore. That has to be farmed out. (The crazy lime color above – including on the ceilings – was done by a contractor.) And yet my niece will prep and paint a room in an afternoon. It’s possible she even finds it relaxing.

So here’s what I’m going to do – provide you right here right now with a couple of ready-made justifications for NOT tackling your huge list of house beautification projects. Consider it a present from me to you.

First, let’s put decorating in perspective. Feeding the kids is important. Paint is not. If you have never painted, or bought furniture that you really liked, or re-sanded the floors, maybe it’s just not your top priority. Is there anything wrong with that? If you have a millions things on your schedule and at the end of the day thinking about wallpaper is a distant second to 30 minutes of relaxation or getting a pedicure, don’t think twice about it. Get the pedi. Skip the wallpaper.

Second, maybe you’re not getting to those projects because you don’t really care about getting them done. Maybe you have free time, but you’d rather spend it traveling, or horseback riding, or trying to write a novel. If you never decorate your house, it’s OK. Don’t you know several people like this? They may even state their preferences out loud: We spend all our spare money on traveling in our RV to every state fair in the country, but not on our house.

That’s cool. The world would be super dull if we all had the same to-do list. So use these justifications as needed, do your own thing, and don’t worry about the paint. As long as your house is welcoming when you want it to be, no one who matters will care about the other stuff.

Portlander Nancy Ranchel is a self-described accountant, design fan, serial re-modeler, compulsive re-user and blog writer.