How to avoid “updating creep” with our values

(Today’s reblog has pictures of some of my favorite re-purposed furniture pieces. I’m thinking of repainting the orange chest this year.  I love orange but, hey, that’s why I buy “thrifted” furniture. I can repaint as often as I like. Spring is almost here so start looking for those great furniture pieces. I have been already. It’s supposed to be unseasonably warm next week and I’m already checking out new spray paint colors. BTW, this is one of my favorite blogs and the truth I post here is a truth I remind myself of often.)

My hubby and I like to have a leisurely Saturday morning enjoying our coffee and watching a couple of home remodeling shows we’ve recorded.  Gives us lots of good ideas.

But we both  get very annoyed with the phrase “it’s dated“.  So—-

Can we talk?

Here’s the thing.

What is “dated” anyway?  What exactly does it mean and does it say something about our self-centeredness and lack of contentment?

Oh, I know it’s supposed to mean “out-of-style” but you do realize, don’t you, that what we’ve just updated will eventually be “dated” as well? Time and the latest decorating trend will guarantee that.

I think that’s why I like certain decorating blogs more than others.

Most blogs encourage re-purposing and re-doing but not a whole late of “updating.” I find the homes that appeal to me the most are those that have a wonderful, timeless, original look and feel to them.

I love the idea of re-purposing. One such blog I just found seems to illustrate this very well.  There are many others but I just stumbled on this one while I was writing this post so it’s freshest in my mind.

I have absolutely nothing against refreshing our homes and making them beautiful.  I do it all the time. But what I am saying is that we don’t need to be so obsessed with having the latest and the best, that we throw caution to the wind where our finances are concerned.

Having to have the latest and the best is exactly what caused the housing crisis and the economic downfall in 2008. People bought homes they couldn’t afford and banks financed their foolishness. (People knew they couldn’t afford those houses no matter what anyone bank told them. We all know down deep inside what we can and can not afford.)

Don’t buy into the media hype that you must have the latest anything. Any business has as its goal profitability. Businesses that sell appliances, for example, have their bottom-line in mind when they tell you a new refrigerator will be more energy efficient. It probably will be but that’s not what their concerned about.

So if you’re considering buying a new stainless steel, ice making, side-by-side refrigerator that almost talks just because it’s more energy-efficient than the one you have, ask yourself, does what you save in energy costs really justify the outlay of cash?  Or would it be better to take the money you would spend and put it in some sort of financial program that will yield some dividends and then buy the new refrigerator when the old one dies out?

When we updated our kitchen (pictures coming soon) we did buy a new refrigerator because the side door racks were held together with duct tape. However, the refrigerator itself still worked. But because we are very limited with the space we have for a refrigerator, meaning we can only buy a relatively small one, we chose to buy a new one and donate the old one.

(This was one of those times I chose not to be “cheap” and you will hear more about my tendency to be that way  in a minute.

If you follow this blog you know my hubby and have been going through each room in our house and doing some necessary renovations as well as some “extra” things simply because we want to. But our main decision-making benchmark for each project is this:  Does it make sense for our home and our neighborhood? Is it really going to increase the value of our home? (I have yet to read one statistic that says we recover 100% of any remodeling we do. If we recover 70%, which I think might be the best we can do, that means we’ve lost 30%, which is fine as long as you realize that up front.)

So the main question we ask ourselves is, does it make sense to spend  money on this project? And the next question is, how much ?

But sometimes I can be too cheap. I’ll use myself as an example.

When we remodeled two of our bedrooms, I wanted to only paint the walls and make simple cosmetic changes.  My husband looked at the cracked one-hundred-year-old ceilings and said we needed them completely re-done.  I was not happy because of the cost as well as the mess.  And what a mess it was!

But he was right.  Painting the walls would have been silly with ceilings about to fall down!

And sometimes it’s a good idea to buy or do something just because we want to.  A little of what we fancy is absolutely OK if we can afford it.

Updating doesn’t have to be expensive anyway. Paint is relatively cheap and I often find perfectly good paint at my local thrift shops. Thrift shops also have all kinds of furniture that just need a little loving care. There are only four pieces of wood furniture in my home that were purchased as new.

These items below are some of my favorite painted pieces. I’ve had them for forever. These first two pieces are Urbane Bronze from Sherwin Williams which I made into chalk paint. I used calcium carbonate to make this chalk paint.

painted chest

2013 JAN 095

For this next piece I used whatever leftover white paint I had lying around. It is chalk paint I mixed. Since I painted this, I’ve found the missing handle. Thank goodness. This piece is at our cabin.


This orange chest is probably my very oldest piece of furniture, not just meaning an antique but the piece I’ve had the longest. It’s one of the first pieces we ever bought. The “metal” inserts are various patterns of anaglyptic wallpaper that I painted silver and glued on with wallpaper paste. It looks like the wallpaper on the door is wavy but that’s the the condition of the door itself. As I said, this is a very old piece.

At present we use this bedroom piece in our TV room, smallest room in the house and the one we live in the most. Go figure.


The bench below used to sit in our breezeway. I like the unusual stripe but we have eliminated this piece since then. Somebody at Goodwill, got a good deal. (Oh, my I rhymed.)


Anything can be painted.

Accessories can also be changed around. Various combinations of these blue vases have been in a number of my rooms. They each cost less than one dollar. When the blue no longer works, I’ll paint them another color.

blue vases

For the bathroom below, we contracted out to have the bathroom walls covered with  bead  board. It was a project we couldn’t do ourselves.

But what I did to decorate it was very inexpensive. The mirror and accessories are from Goodwill. The shelf was from Hobby Lobby priced at about seventy percent off because it needed painting and had a corner that was roughed up. Seeing as I was going to paint it anyway, what did I care?

I already had the small plates and I just stuck on the letters. The black balls are leftover Christmas ornaments. I just hid the hanger parts.

Total cost of this little vignette was easily under ten dollars. Isn’t the bead board great?integrityn


But how far will we take this “outdated” line of thinking? I call it “updating creep”.

  • Do our values become outdated as well?
  • Do I have to be politically correct because to be otherwise is outdated?
  • Do I need to change my behavior because of what everyone else is doing? A good example here might be the words we use. Just because using foul language and swearing has become commonplace even among Christians, does that mean I should climb on board?
  • Do I watch television shows that are offensive on a number of levels because to do otherwise makes me look outdated?

Our thinking in one area almost always affects our thinking in other areas. We don’t live in little “bubbles of separateness” like the bubbles that are used to depict conversations in cartoons.

Every part of our life and our thinking affects every other part.

There’s a wonderful saying I heard somewhere

Learn to love what you have.

Don’t change your views, your behaviors, your habits, just because someone has told you they’re outdated. Or that you won’t stay relevant. Or that you’re “out of touch”,

However, do be sure that your views, behaviors, and habits are built on your understanding of scripture. I often reexamine these areas of my life to be sure I’m living as I believe and that those beliefs square up with scripture.

Whew, this post took a life of its own.

God bless and have a good day.