I Figured Out Everything I Bought for My Home Last Year and Learned Lots About Myself

updated May 3, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Adrienne Breaux)

Last year, I tried a little experiment. I looked around my apartment, sorted through receipts and tried to piece together all the things I had bought for my home, decor-wise, in 2015. I had moved into my apartment that year, and was curious how I spent my money. This year, I decided to do the same for my 2016 spending, and the results were different, but still surprising (although they really shouldn’t have been).

(Image credit: Adrienne Breaux)

The decor I bought for my home in 2016:

  1. A very large, extremely soft off-white floor pillow
  2. A ’70s-style papasan ottoman and cushion
  3. Rad ’80s-style patterned pillow cases
  4. A canvas and paint for DIY art
  5. Extremely awesome brass house-shaped trivet
  6. Two yummy-smelling candles
  7. Boucherite rug
  8. Hand-lettered quote
  9. New palm plant, new pot and small green plant
(Image credit: Adrienne Breaux)

What was really worth the purchase:

Honestly, because I bought so few things this year, I feel like all my purchases were really worth it. From vintage items to new pieces, I really love everything I paid for, and have used everything. My favorite purchase was the cool patterned pillow cases though; I found them at my local thrift store for only $4!

What I could have done without:

I mean, technically I didn‘t need any of the things I bought this year, but if I’m being truly honest with myself, I especially didn’t need the rug. I purchased the colorful rug to go on top of a patterned pink rug I had bought the year before. I felt like I needed a more random, wild pattern than the geometric one on the older rug, so I went for it. While it is quite plush to have two rugs in my living room (yep, I layered the multi-color boucherite rug over the larger geometric pink rug)—and definitely fits with my apartment’s bohemian vibes—I don’t really need two rugs in my tiny living room (particularly when there are four rolled-up rugs hiding in my closet right now because I ran out of floor space).

(Image credit: Spearmint LOVE)

What really surprised me:

I don’t listen to 2015 myself. Or rather, I completely forget my own advice pretty much as soon as I write it.

I forgot to put any effort into decorating for the holidays in 2016.

And I can tell you that it made a noticeably negative impact in my life. An even starker comparison to 2015 when I went above and beyond decorating for the holidays. The absence of cheer was especially noticeable for Christmas, and I do feel bad I didn’t do more. Not only did the lack of holiday decor leave me feeling Grinch-like, but the end of the year felt more like a blur rather than a cheery turning of a new chapter.

Not enough art.

In 2015, I realized buying local art makes me happy, yet I bought only one piece the whole year in 2016. But I did make some art in 2016, and while I’m not exactly going to become a world-famous artist anytime soon, I did enjoy the process.

I’m not the plant-growing prodigy I believed I was in 2015

I was also humbled in 2016, plant-wise. Many of the thriving plants I adopted in 2016 are still around, but there were a few casualties.

(Image credit: Adrienne Breaux)

Resource list:

For anyone who might be interested in precisely what I purchased!

  1. Floor pillow — Was a randomWal-Mart buy and don’t see the exact one online, but it’s a cross between this and this, an I remember it being $20
  2. Papason ottoman and cushionWorld Market, $50
  3. Rad ’80s-style patterned pillow cases — Vintage, $4
  4. A canvas and paint for DIY art — On sale at Michaels, $50 total?
  5. Extremely awesome brass house-shaped trivet — Vintage, $3
  6. Two yummy-smelling candles — I’m obsessed with the smells of these hand-poured in Alabama STACK candles (Olive Blossom is my favorite scent), $30
  7. Boucherite rug — Spearmint LOVE, (on sale, no longer available), $337
  8. Hand-lettered quoteTomoko Kuwahara (see her Instagram), $25 OBO
  9. New palm plant, new pot and small green plant — Lowes, $50

Final price tally: All told I think it added up to just under $630 for the year’s decor purchases.

(Image credit: World Market)

Final takeaways I’m going to try and remember in 2017:

1. Put some effort into holiday decor

Like, all the holidays. The difference between 2015 and 2016 was stark in terms of general cheer and festive feelings.

2. Trade out your art, so you can buy and display more in 2017

Part of the reason why I didn’t invest in more art in 2016 was I felt like I’m running out of wall space. But, I can switch pieces in and out throughout the year in 2017 so I can display more.

3. Get a couch I like already

This wasn’t mentioned at all above, but in 2015 I bought a “placeholder” couch and I still have it. Not only is it not my style, but one of the cushion springs is all out of whack so there’s really only one spot you can actually sit on. May 2017 be the year of the sofa purchase.

4. Make more art

It feels good to make art. Even if it’s not perfect. I’m going to try to create more in 2017.

If you do decide to try this exercise, feel free to leave the lessons you learned in the comments below!