A Home Decorated with Love

Print Friendly

One day my daughter, daughter in law and I went to the Parade of Homes in our area.

The homes on display in a Parade of Homes are homes you always dream about but know you can never have– perfectly decorated and expensive model homes.

My son and son-in-law were moaning as we trotted out the door all excited to once again get some new decorating ideas. As we made our way to the car, they yelled, “Don’t even think about moving or remodeling when you get home.” They know their wives oh so well.

I don’t know why we torture ourselves, but we do it every year. My daughter called the next day and said, “I get so discouraged after looking at those houses when I walk into my house and see that there is stuff everywhere.” I know what she was talking about because I felt it too but at that same moment, in my minds eye, I was thinking about my daughter’s home and the way it looked the last time I saw it. I then started comparing it to the model homes we had just seen and these words popped into my head, “Her home was decorated with love”.

The Living Room

When you walked into the living room of the model home, there was a place for everything and everything was really in it’s place. I think they even measured the throws and pillows to make sure they were in the right spots. The pictures were of beautiful landscapes and there wasn’t a toy in sight. Contrast this with my daughter’s home, where there was a music stand and chair in the middle of floor where sister, who is learning to play the flute, had played Hot Cross Buns for the twentieth time and sat beaming as family members patiently applauded and praised her again and again and again after each attempt.

There was a very worn “security blanket” (not a throw) rolled up in a ball at the end of the couch. A favorite was pillow laying half on and half off of the couch where middle brother had laid when he was sick and where he had been given special love and attention from mom.

Instead of landscapes, there was mom and dad’s wedding picture and the kids’ school pictures, along with family pictures scattered here and there. There was a dog chew in one corner where big brother had just finished playing with the dog and in another corner was the cat bed where a well loved kitty contentedly slept. There was a stray toy here and there, a few books, a couple of Bibles and some magazines all having been shared and read together at different times.

The Kitchen

When you walked into the kitchen of the model home, there wasn’t a dish in sight- nothing on the counters. It was spotless and shiny. On the other hand, my daughter’s home had a handful of dishes left in the sink from when dad took over and made lunch because mom wasn’t feeling good. There was a pan of water on the stove where sister had fixed a cup of tea for mom and a pan of something burnt and unrecognizable that dad had burnt while trying to cope with lunch and feeding baby brother his bottle all at the same time.

The Dining Room

The dining room chairs in the model homes were lined up in perfect position. My daughter’s were all in different places from having been used over and over that day. Some were from doing homework, others crafts, coloring, painting, fixing a broken this or that, having a snack together, and always, at the end of the day, sharing dinner together with everyone talking a mile a minute.

Last but not least there was total silence in the model homes, but at my daughter’s there is music all the time. Someone is always singing, whistling, humming or laughing. The dog is barking, someone is always talking and there are even a few boyish burps followed by mom’s scolding them for doing it.

Yes those model homes looked beautiful on the outside but, like your mom always said, it is what is inside that counts. Inside the model home, it was empty, cold and lonely. My daughter’s home certainly wasn’t empty, there were lots of “items of love” scattered everywhere. As far as being cold, all that love and laughter spread warmth to every corner of every room and as for being lonely, you couldn’t find one spot to be lonely in even if you tried. Trust me, my daughter has tried to find a quiet place to be alone in and they still seem to find her.

So here’s to all the homes decorated with love and the moms and dads who decorate them.


photo by: colleen-lane


  1. Gina says

    Well said, Jill!

    No one lives in those model homes and it shows. I wouldn’t want to live there either.

    We also have the scattered toys, the lone shoes here and there, a fine (or not so fine) sprinkling of dog hair, and LOVE, lots of LOVE, that permeates our house.

    Wouldn’t trade it for any show-house in the universe!


  2. Jessica says

    A very good post! Being a poor college student, my apartment is definatly ‘decorated with love.’ All of my decorations are thrift store finds, gifts from family members, or freebies. Somehow everything always ends up matching though. I am lucky enough to have the opportunity to live alone, so my apartment is usually pretty well organized, though it is never really quite since I always have either a movie playing or music on. My cat’s toys are usually scattered everywhere, with half of them disappearing into the black hole which I have yet to locate, and cat hair is also everywhere and on everything. Wouldn’t trade it for the world though!

    • CJ says

      Try under the couch. My cat loved to play with those tab things that come off milk jugs – once I moved the couch I found about 50 of the under there! I always wondered what she did with them…. 😀

  3. Joanne says

    Thanks for this post! I often beat myself up because my home is not like the model homes but I never looked at it from this perspective before. My home is decorated with love!

  4. Tina Barrett says

    If you look through many of the decorating magazines you will notice that seating arrangements and wall decor are a hodgepodge. Furniture is never all the same style;often
    a family heirloom or flea market find is scattered in amongst new and used pieces. The color scheme pulls it together. Slipcovers are often used to extend the life of the piece of furniture. Pictures and collections on display are things the owners love and remind them of happy times in there lives or loved ones who are important to them. Who knew that being thrifty would become the chic thing to do! I would rather have a home that feels welcoming and full of love than a showplace.

  5. harriet says

    If it makes you feel better, my house has been featured in a number of magazines–really–and it looks beautiful in the photos, but it never looks that good in real life! The lovely antique dining room table usually has folded laundry waiting for family members to put away; the artfully arranged bedside table usually has my CPAP on it, not antique books and a vase of flowers; and the nice sofa usually has an old dog snoring away on top.

  6. Karen says

    Great post. My mom likes to call our house “well lived in” and that is how we grew up also in a well lived in home.

  7. Brandy Ringle says

    Thank you so much for writing this! I’m so glad to have found it on facebook! I’m hosting my 15 year old sons’ confirmation party at our home on Sunday after church and as I look around at all the beat up furniture and well worn carpet I’m a bit dismayed at how it will all look when family & friends come over. But I know that this furniture has seen my son & three daughters through their first day home from the hospital, their midnight nursing, their living room forts, learning how to read, so on and so on. I know someday I will miss it all, especially when they take all that crappy furniture with them to college!
    thanks again!

  8. Char says

    Thanks for this!!! I watched too much HGTV this summer when I was not working. I think that watching too much of it makes us discontented with what we have. Think of how much some of those people pay for those houses!!! I just can’t imagine the house payment. Anyway, I have learned to be happy with what I have and make it as nice as I can. But, I live in my house—so do the cats and the guinea pigs…and the spiders!!!

  9. Char says

    By the way, did you ever notice that some of these people have an obsession with crown molding? What’s the deal with it?

  10. Larabelle says

    Thanks for this post! My little apartment is decorated with love and I really enjoy it. I have found since I stopped watching television I stopped being discontented with what I currently have and instead I have developed an attitude of gratitude.

  11. CTaylor says

    Beautiful post. Having raised six interesting & energetic children, I remember the days of disarray despite my most earnest efforts…I also remember the endless happy memories that overshadowed them. The memories are definitely priceless and worth more than a home full of photogenic rooms! A child’s happy face supercedes a beautifully vased flower arrangement or perfectly appointed living room any day!!

  12. says


    Your essay brought tears to my eyes, as it showed the love Tawra’s family members have for each other. I’d like to publish it in my newspaper, the Nebraska Family Times. Could you please e-mail me so we can “talk” about it?

  13. says


    Thank you so much for sharing this!!! Wow…it really touched my heart. There was a time when I felt those feelings of discontent after visiting some homes on tours or homes of church friends that are a “bit larger” and more decorated than mine. God has helped me to come to a place where I am very happy with our little house decorated with lots of love and family pictures and things that are special to us. We have love scattered around as the boys play during the day…and learn to clean up their messes before they go to bed. When I walk in our home upon returning from someone else’s home I am able to be happy for them and what they enjoy…and happy for me and what I enjoy. God bless you and your lovely family!!!

  14. says

    a fridge magnet I was given by my sons with a sense of humour.

    a messy kitchen is a happy kitchen.
    mine is deliriously happy.

    aren’t children wonderful.

    a sign I have also says.

    in this kitchen I rule supreme
    if you don’t agree starve.

    not me really since I tend to cater to each persons wants.

    another sign says

    my house is clean enough to be healthy
    but messy enough to be happy.

    that one is my favourite.

  15. Susan says

    Thanks for this…I figure as long as the health department doesn’t come in, we’re fine. This is a concept my mom never understood. I have 4 kids and their friends and we have pets. My husband works from home. We’re messy, noisy, in and out and I love it. This time of year I do miss my kids being very small, but sometimes it is a relief from the busyness and noise ;D I do ask that they pick up their stuff in the evenings before they go to bed. But there is always a heap of shoes by the front door, backpacks and stuff…yeah, this is my home too.

  16. Deana says

    I have a stitching that I did when my girls were young, my oldest has moved out along with some of my older things, who has a cute little apartment designed with love. My youngest as I type is at the collage taking her senior tour. But here is the stiching I did many years ago, which still holds true today.

    Some houses try to hide the fact
    that children shelter there
    Ours boasts it quite openly…
    the signs are everywhere
    For smears are on the windows,
    little smudges on the door;
    I should apologize I guess
    for toys strewn on the floor,
    But I sat down with the children
    and played, laughed, and read,
    And if the doorbell doesn’t shine,
    their eyes will shine instead
    For when I’m forced to choose
    the one job or the other,
    It’s good to a housewife
    but I’d rather be a mother!

    My home is no mansion by any means, but I have one daughter at home and most of the time 2-6 teenagers in my home. I have the gathering place, they all feel welcome in my home, are able to eat, and loved. I think that is more important than a picture in a magazine. You are exactly right love makes a home.

  17. barb~ says

    Just Beautiful, Jill. May God richly bless you and your wonderful family. You are such a treasure and inspiration to so many!


  18. says

    Sometimes you get discouraged
    Because I am so small
    And always leave my fingerprints
    On furniture and walls

    But every day I’m growing —
    I’ll be grown some day
    And all those tiny handprints
    Will surely fade away

    So here’s a little handprint
    Just so you can recall
    Exactly how my fingers looked
    When I was very small
    have always liked this poem. one year a teacher had the class dip their hands in paint and put the print on a piece of construction paper and wrote out the poem. Such a nice reminder of their childhood.
    I thought it fitted well with this article.

  19. Lisa says

    “Greatest Love Of All”

    I believe the children are our are future
    Teach them well and let them lead the way
    Show them all the beauty they possess inside
    Give them a sense of pride to make it easier
    Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be. Whitney Houston

  20. Billieme says

    I still adore looking at beautiful homes and as a realtor I get to do that a lot! I get to see both model homes and occupied homes. My biggest wonder in the beautiful occupied homes is where are they hiding the paper clutter!?
    With 2 home business that have mountains of paper – we cannot disguise the paper piles. My DH thinks that filing cabinets are black holes that paper goes into and are lost forever. So, there are piles everywhere in our home office. The office is so paper crowded that it takes the dining table to work on to spread out and get the job done. Are you going to do an organizing list for paper? I have twice hired people to make me throw away papers.

    • says

      Billieme we do have several posts and things on organizing papers. You might start with this one Organizing you Paperwork for Taxes and then go to the bottom of that article and you can click on some more places to go.

      Paperwork can get out of control just one quick tip is you do need to stay on top of paper work and each day control and take care of what came in that day. In the same way you need to do your dirty dishes everyday or before you know it they will get out of control you need to do the same with your papers. If you don’t you will get soooo overwhelmed and discouraged.

      It is one of those things which none of us like to do but it still has to be done. I hate brushing my teeth but wouldn’t dream of not doing it every day. Anyway check out that article and some of the others for more practical tips and ideas.

  21. michele says

    Great post. I live in a model home…well, it was in 1964. And I like its big divided windows, and the thought that went into using a small blueprint and using the space really well. Of course, the kitchen is way to small, and closets/storage are nothing like I would build myself, but with three kids under the age of 4 there is love. And as a stay at home mom there is money at the end of the month…and with those two things my husband and I can build our future. I am a former designer (pre-kids) and “perfection” is way too overrated. Give me love and laughter anyday. Hey, even a crying baby ain’t so bad….

  22. Lil says

    I was just going over older articles and came across this one…how did I miss it.

    I have to agree….I dont like sterile homes where your afraid to sit down because you’ll knock a cushion out of place. I would much rather have and visit a home that is lived in, where you feel instantly welcomed and comfortable. I have friends that complain that their home has nothing new in it, that everything was bought second hand or gifted by relatives and yet it is the most warm and comfortable home I have ever been in. I love visiting them, their house overflows with love and everyone is treated like family (like it or not) and everyone helps out where they can (I usually do the dishes…I love instant results).

    Too many houses now arent homes but sterile show places where even the unfortuante inhabitants dont like being. They are only status symbols!

  23. Grandma says

    When I was young we went on visits twice a year to my grandparents.
    They lived within half an hour of each other.
    Grandma M lived in the town and her house was full of antiques and expensive stuff plus hardwood floors a shuffle board team would die for. She covered these with rag scatter mats.
    Last thing said to us children as we got out of the car was don’t touch anything.

    Grandma Mc lived on a farm with a big old farm house. The only two places we couldn’t go were Uncle Carl and Aunt Margs room. And the hay mow unless we asked first.
    The only thing we couldn’t touch was the piano in the parlor.
    No major rules just go and have fun.
    Grandma used to say if you fall in a cow pie or worse you will be squirted down outside with the hose.
    We all thought she was kidding until you guessed it I fell just inside the barn door. I had on a white short outfit with white socks and runners.
    Got taken to the house and grandma came out with the hose and squirted me down.
    The thing that upset me was it was all brand new and had to be tossed because it did not come clean.
    But to this day I want my grandchildren to come and play and not worry about stuff.

  24. says

    Such a beautiful, uplifting and heartwarming post. Home is where memories are made. I wanted to make memories with my children that last a lifetime and would carry on through out the generations, I have been so blessd with an amazing family, 6 beautiful children, 12 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren, our home is filled with tons of love, our children live close and almost all of our grandchildren and great grandchildren live near by, I think the best thing you can give a family is a warm loving home, I think it can be beautiful with all the family made treasures, God Bless you and thank you again for this post…….

  25. rose says

    those model homes are gorgeous .. and i love to visit them too .. its just like the picture-perfect homes displayed in the magazines (esp at this time of year) .. some of these homes are just so “put together beautifully” .. and decorated so beautifully ..
    in fact, last nite i went to walmart with my daughter (she needed a few things and i went just to keep her company) .. well of course i am looking at all the mags with the beautifully displayed/decorated homes .. and i said to my daughter “how do they do it? .. how can they keep it so orderly/neat/clean? .. i do one thing i am done for the day .. ” .
    my daughter told me “mom, i think those houses look that way for one full day, maybe not even a full day.. bc people with kids and pets have messes, unless they are like “stepford wives/children” (remember the movie?) .. the house we grew up in didnt have all those fancy decorations but they had lots of hugs and kisses.. and that was what john and i remember (john is her brother/my son) ” .. well .. of course i could keep my eyes from tearing ..
    and she is right .. it isnt about the decorations but the hugs and kisses .. and burnt cookies .. and the “oh my!” casserole (what is that??) .. hehee poor hubby .. no i am not the best cook .. i admit that but i do try ..
    so .. thank u for reminding all of us of the important things with this post ..

  26. Grandma says

    Just finished wrapping all the gifts and sent them out on the bus.
    I was going to come home and while Don slept before going in to work the night shift I was going to clean up.
    Well at the bus station the poor woman who I have met and say hello to was having a bad day.
    Her computer was not working right, her debit machine was working when it felt like it and she had calls when she tried to give someone the 1800 number for grey hound people yelled at her they wanted her to answer their questions. When she got to me she was almost in tears. Her adult son who is disabled was in the hospital and she was worried about him.
    So I came home got a goodies tray I had in the fridge and got a friend to drive me down and I walked in handed it to her said Merry Christmas, got a hug and left.
    She was smiling and right now as I rest up from my extra trip I feel good even though my table is covered with wrapping paper and boxes and clutter. The wine glasses I washed are still in the strainer waiting to be put away the couch is white instead of blue due to cat hair and the floors all need to be swept.
    I made someone smile so who is going to see my house until I find the energy to get it picked up.
    Merry Christmas everyone.

  27. Lynette says

    After the kids had left home and we were empty-nesters for a few years, the grandkids came along,now they are mostly grown too-we almost wish for those days when the house wasn’t so neat!

  28. Mary Jane says

    A few years ago, I heard some expert on T.V. say emphatically that people have to realize that their homes are genuine reflections of themselves. The theme was that we were to spend tons of money on the right interior decorations, and we were to do it often. I looked around my living room and laughed out loud. It was the middle of winter, after dark and 40 degrees below zero. My husband had parked our old snow blower in the living room next to the woodstove, to thaw it out. Countless mitts, gloves, toques and scarves hung from a retractable hanger near the same woodstove. Wet boots, and several heavy coats strewn around the fire completed the woodstove décor. A dog was sleeping under the coffee table, a cat had taken over the rocking chair, and the day’s mail was sitting on the coffee table. Colourful, but mismatched afghans covered our well used furniture, but we were very comfortable sitting in it, drinking coffee after a work day. Remember when our grandparents used to cover up “the good furniture” with clear plastic? My Grandma had a beautiful couch in a room that no one was allowed to sit in. I was reminded of it when I saw the plasticized couch in an old photo. Ever try sitting on that plastic covered furniture?

  29. Julia says

    What always amazes me on the TV shows is that when they begin to remodel a house or just a room, the room they are demolishing is often one that I would love to have and looks perfect the way it is. Some people just never seem to be satisfied with what they have. Are they bored or just need to keep on remodeling in order to feel productive? I don’t know, but it does make me think about how blessed we are to have what we do, not magazine laid out homes that no one is comfortable in.

    • says

      I have wondered the same thing myself Julia. Also I don’t understand the shows when buying a home and there are 5 people in the family and they insist they need 5 bathrooms. How in the world did we survive growing up and 4 of us had only 1 bathroom. I’m sure I am warped because of that.:) You are so right in that so people never seem to be content with what they have.

      • Holly says

        A family of 3 JUST turned into a family of 8 with the addition of 5 quintuplets. The mom had worked in a dental office. The husband is a truck driver. They live in a 2 bedroom 1 bath home in a township not very far away. They’re planning on staying in their home. The couple’s dressers were moved from their bedroom into the basement to make room for the new babies 5 cribs, donated from family and friends. They’re planning on staying in that home, with the addition of new bedroom in the basement at some point and a remodeled laundry area with twice as many washers and dryers. I hope they’re able to add a second bathroom in the basement too.

  30. Jean H says

    Model homes are great for models and I don’t know any!! My hubby got upset when the grandkids left toys all over his beautiful lawn…..
    I told him, to enjoy it…one day the toys would be replaced with big 4 wheeled toys….and they would not come to our house like the little toys.
    Well, our little boys are 16 and 14 and dream of cars and girls….but it isn’t at Papa and Nana’s as often!! Decorate with love!!

  31. LAC says

    My home was built in the 1950’s with the original pink and green tile! I LOVE my home and we are redoing it but still keeping to the integrity of the era so the pink and green tiles stay! I have the summer off and will be working in the house to get as much done as possible!!

  32. says

    A great post! As empty nesters…hubby & I are in the midst of re-decorating our family room…it is the main room in our home we live in…with to senior dachshunds. Everything except our leather sectional is being replaced…I ordered a custom slip-covered sofa & chair as the room needs to be comfy & pet friendly. For more square footage we had the tv mounted over the fireplace…and I’m currently shopping for paint colour, end tables, lamps & decor. You can guarantee it won’t be a “show home”….but have the well loved look!!

  33. Pamela says

    What a beautiful post. I hope your daughter reads this and knows how loved and appreciated she is by you. That post was a keeper.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

6 + seven =

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>