I just got back from IKEA: The land of cheap duvet covers and disposable furniture. I wandered aimlessly through the 10 acres of displays, willing myself to just pick a look and go with it. But I can’t. That’s why our home still looks like our college apartment. Well, our college apartment plus 5 kids.

You see, when prices get in a 3-digit range, my palms get all sweaty and I can’t seem to commit. I could never justify tossing out anything that expensive and starting over if I didn’t like it in a year or two. So whatever furniture I choose, I feel like it will be in my home forever. (And these are IKEA prices I’m talking about. I can’t even walk into an Ethan Allen.)

So once again, I end up choosing nothing and come home to a bare walled, artless, rugless, plantless, hand-me-down furnished 4 bedroom house at the end of every day. And until I have “a look” I hesitate even buying frames and knick-knacks (stuff in the 2 digit range) in fear they won’t harmonize with this fantastic, hip, yet timeless look that will reveal itself as soon as Nate Berkus knocks on my door.

Right now, our home is functional. Nothing wrong with that. I’ve visited enough third world countries to know better than to take these luxuries for granted. (As my mother would say, “you live better than did the queens of England.”) Never underestimate clean, hot running water. I know that. But I long to make my home more beautiful. I believe it’s a primal urge given to all women: to decorate and accessorize. It’s what separates us from the animals. But somehow, I just can’t seem to do it.

It doesn’t help that my husband refuses to budget in any money towards the cause. “The kids will just destroy it!” is his credo. He has a point. Our tots have been known to scribble here and there with unauthorized permanent markers. They’ve been caught smuggling scissors out of the kitchen on occasion. (Once, I bought my daughter one of those flowing gossamer nets for over her bed when she was three. She decided she liked the sound the scissors made when they sliced through the fabric better than the décor itself.)

But if I subscribed to my husband’s philosophy, all our walls would be oversized dry erase marker boards and all of our floors would be solid white linoleum all sloping towards a common drain.

Wait…a…second….

I think I just found my new ultra-chic, timeless look!