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Do You Have a Mollifier in Your Home?

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“A what?” – A Mollifier – you know some decorative object or piece of furniture that you allow into your home because as awful as it may be, it makes someone else who lives with you very happy. 

I have one and you have been seeing a lot of it lately as I am trying to make it a Jollifier

“A what?”  – A Jollifier – you know that sentimental object in your home that spreads a little joy every time you cast your eye upon it.

I never heard the terms Mollifier and Jollifier before I read Deborah Needleman’s book – The Perfectly Imperfect Home, but knew exactly what she was talking about and loved the fact that she gave these items in our homes such endearing references.

I picked the book up because I love decorating books that are illustrated instead of having photos.  They are timeless – no trendy looks or décor to date them.  Just good decorating advice. I collect them.

Book The Prefectly Imperfect Home by Deborah Needleman

In my next life I want to be able to draw and paint as well as the illustrator of this book – Virginia Johnson. I have a few posts where I did the illustrations here on my blog. You can see them here, here, here.  It is something that I enjoy doing when I have the time.

Sorry to get off course, but this book made me laugh, nod in agreement, and just tickled my fancy. 

I am not a formal decorating type person – I like to mix things up in my own style.  No formality and Deborah delivered.   If you have never heard of Deborah – she was the founding editor of Domino Magazine and the author of the decorating book, Domino.

Here was my Mollifier.

Brown Furniture - making it work in your decor

This piano means a lot to my husband, so we keep it. No one plays it, except when our youngest took lessons for a a few years when she was in grade school.

The piano was a hand-me-down and the biggest issue I have with it is  – it is brown.  It is not that I dislike wood furniture. It is just that I have hardwood floors now in this room and when brown wood furniture is placed on top of brown hardwood – both are just too much brown for my taste. 

There is no contrast.  I also don’t think I am a fan of painted pianos, maybe I will stain it black.   Jury is still out on that – so until the verdict comes in – I have been playing with ways to make this piano a Jollifier.


Last week, I showed you how I added some energy to the space by covering the bench in a bold color and pattern.  For the holidays, I painted a thrift store mirror white and added it to the wall above the piano. It looked festive and I liked it, but when it came down, the piano was still bothering me – the floor and the piano – both brown – no contrast.

Contrast is good for a room. I found an inexpensive sisal rug to break up the brown a bit.  When my budget allows I want to replace the big rug in this room with a sisal rug.  I have one in my foyer and kitchen so they not only add a bit of texture and visual interest, but they unify the rooms and create a nice balance throughout the first floor of my home. 

A nice colorful rug would look nice here too, since this is no man’s land between the kitchen and family room.  I will have to search to find one the right color and size – maybe like this Dash & Albert rug.

Dash and Albert Rug

My next plan of action is to add some molding and bead board to the short wall on the right side of the piano.  That might add some interest and contrast, also.  There is an air duct in the wall above the mirror that runs the length of the room.

My house was the builder’s spec house and they did things the easy way. It ruins the lines of the already narrow room, especially at the other end where it throws off the symmetry.  I have painted the walls many different colors over the years, but like the neutral back drop so I can add any color I choose to the space. I don’t want to be locked into a scheme because of the wall color.

Decorating the family room ideas

I do plan to add more grass cloth on this side of my kitchen. It is on the other side already, but I stopped on this side for some reason that totally escapes me now. I have the paper, I just need to hang it.


The grass cloth wallpaper in the kitchen.

Update 2021: I no longer live in the house in this post and was happy to give the piano away when we moved. We didn’t have space for it in our new home. “Oh… darn! “ :-)

Do you have a Mollifier in your home?  I would enjoy hearing about it and how you try to make it a Jollifier?

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  1. ha ha ha ha I laughed so hard at this! Mollifier!! What a lovely name for something you hate! ha ha ha ha I do have Mollifiers….my husband wanted to keep pictures that use to hang on his wall when he was a teen and single! There is only one left in sight….The others have some how found a new home behind the couch! (wink) I am not sure how???? ha ha ha ha ha We are renting now, but soon enough I am hoping we will have our own home and they could go in his space…like the garage or shop or even an play room??!! (wink)

    1. Hi Lisa-

      That sounds like the perfect place – the garage, basement or shop. Tell him it will make the area more homey :) When I first got married my hubs had all his golf trophies lining the mantel. First thing I did was box them up and sent them to the attic. Later I took all the little metal plaques off of them and make a scrapbook for him so he would have a keepsake. The trophies then went into the trash.

  2. Our tv stand!! Ugh I’ve been searching and thrifting high and low for a replacement but no dice yet. This book is on my wish list!

  3. I most certainly do have a mollifier! I was just trying to convince my hubs to send his beloved espresso leather (possibly pleather) love seat to the basement when it gets renovated soon. I’d much rather have a white slipcovered or beautifully upholstered pair of club chairs its place, but no dice. He makes so few requests, it must stay, therefore, it’s my mollifier.

    I loved this post, because in real decorating, in our real homes, these are our challenges. I also loved what you did with the piano bench!

    I will share pics of my mollifier! Thanks for keeping it real. I may have to put Deborah Needleman’s book on my wishlist.

    Have a great week.

    1. Hi Erin –
      Thanks. Maybe when your hubs sees the basement all finished, he may love it so much that he wants the chair down there. I would keep my fingers crossed.

  4. Not in our home but as a yard ornament we have a wishing well. Its huge and although our yard space is as well I really just cant stand it. My husband made it and although I tried to sell it (yup I really wanted someone, anyone else to take it) but like I said its not one you can just throw in the back of a car trunk. So Ive installed a rock wall around it, Ivy, a fence, cute DIY bird house and many, many other plants and such to try and make it Jollifier! I’m the one doing the upkeep and still I’m not in love with it yet:(

    1. It sounds like you are doing your best to make it a Jollifier by adding the plants and birhouses. Do flowers make it look any better?

  5. My husband has an office space now, so all the mollifiers get to go in there. . . where someone can really appreciate them! ( I guess I’m sort of cheating there). Thanks for the ideas on creating contrast. I’m really struggling in my cream on cream on beige living room.

    1. Hi Paula –
      You are lucky that you can channel all of your mollifiers to one room. :) As far as working with the neutral color scheme I would search for images of neutral rooms on sites like House Beautiul.com. BHG.com, StyleatHome.com, and SouthernLiving.com. I am sure you will find the inspiration needed to help bring the room together. When decorating a neutral room try adding lots of different textures – rough, shiny, metallic, stone, woven, glass, etc. That is what will help make it all come together.