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April 13, 2023
Let’s take a moment to be honest about our homes. Do you love your home? My guess is that many of you would say “sometimes,” and some would admit “no.” But I wonder, how many would say “yes?” The truth is, we should all love our homes! But often, we are very hard on ourselves and our homes, holding ourselves to the highest standards, striving for the elusive goal of home “perfection.”
It can be easy to look around and notice the things you don’t like, the things you would like to change, and the projects yet to be completed. I am admittedly guilty of this myself. I have the type of home I wished for 10 years ago, and yet when I look around, I tend see all the things I dislike instead of the parts I already love.
But what is a “perfect” home anyway? It’s a goal we grasp for that always appears out of reach. Sometimes it seems that without perfection, we will never be content. Instead of striving for an unrealistic goal, let’s refocus on finding ways to love the homes we have.
Changing your mindset can be challenging, but it can be done! Keeping a positive attitude and a little perspective is imperative, first and foremost. Along with the following tips, I’m confident you will be able to find ways to love your home, even if it isn’t perfect.
Sometimes we get caught up in the specifications of a house. We agonize over the square footage, the finishes, and the aesthetic. We contemplate the features we think will make our lives better. While in some cases these things can increase our love for our homes, it’s important to remember what home really is.
Your house is a structure, but your home is where you make memories. It’s your safe space in a chaotic world. It’s where you celebrate, laugh, relax, entertain loved ones, dream, reflect, grow, and heal. Home is about the people and the life that happens within it. In all reality, home is what you make it.
Keeping this perspective has always helped ground me and bring me back to the purpose of home.
Occasionally we forget to be grateful for all we have—it’s all too easy to take things for granted. Having a home to call your own is an incredibly special thing. Home provides you with safety, warmth, and comfort. See your home for what it is, and not for what it isn’t.
Practicing gratitude for our homes will create a new appreciation for all the ways it serves us and the luxury of opportunity to turn a house into a home. Creating a home is one of the most important things you will do. Be grateful for the amazing gift it is—even if it isn’t perfect.
Every home has pros and cons, but I guarantee there is at least one feature you’d miss if you moved. Maybe it’s the big windows or the large backyard. Maybe you have a large walk-in closet or a perfect reading nook. Perhaps you have a charming fireplace or original hardwood floors. Every home has redeeming qualities that make it special and unique.
If you are reading this at home, take a moment and look around. What do you see? What is one feature that you love about your space? I challenge you to make a list of everything you love about your current home. Keep the good features top of mind.
If it’s big windows, be sure not to cover them with heavy curtains. If it’s your fireplace, highlight it and make it the focal point of the room. If it’s the open floor plan you love, arrange your furniture optimally to make the most of your space and improve the flow of the room.
Celebrate the good features by highlighting them and making them the focal points of your space.
When I’m feeling down, sunshine and fresh air always help me feel better—it creates good energy and positive vibes. The same goes for your home. So, if you have it, pull the curtains back during the day and let the sunshine in. On nice days, open the windows and allow fresh air to circulate around your home. Find the sunny spots and spend your time there during the day.
Natural light has many positive mood-boosting benefits so take advantage of this one if you can. Positive mood = more love for your home.
This is essential. Oftentimes it’s not our home we dislike, it’s the clutter that surrounds us. When your home is filled with excess stuff, it can feel stifling and suffocating. It can become a constant reminder that you don’t have enough closet or storage space.
Instead, learn to be choosy about what you bring into your space. Afterall, shouldn’t we be surrounding ourselves with only the things we love, anyway? If this is something you struggle with, I urge you to address it.
Take a good look at what you own and ask yourself:
If it doesn’t hit any of these marks, assign it to the toss or donate pile. This may take some time, but it’s truly worth it. The more baggage we carry, the heavier it weighs on us emotionally and mentally. Clearing your space will clear your mind. Soon, you won’t even need to wish for bigger closets.
Plus, less clutter = less to dust = cleaner home = happier home.
Once you’ve donated or tossed what no longer serves you, it’s time to reorganize what’s left. You may have to get creative with this one to design storage solutions to ensure everything has its own place.
To get organized I’ve utilized baskets, pretty photo storage boxes, and furniture solutions. I’ve utilized armoires to store extra towels and linens, bookshelves to display books, photos, and decor, hanging door organization systems for pantry items and toiletries, and underbed storage containers to store additional clothes. Once everything has its own home, it’s easier to stay organized long term.
Additionally, be thoughtful about where you store your items. The things you use most often should be most easily accessible.
Realistically, I don’t think any of us would say “no” to more storage space if given the choice. But when storage space is limited, it’s important to optimize it and use it wisely. When things are organized, easy to find, and accessible, your home will function so much better.
Now that you’ve decluttered and organized, you will have a clear picture of the items you love and are meaningful to you. During this process you may have rediscovered pieces you forgot you had, found beauties you thought were lost, or gained a new appreciation for something that had been hidden away.
Take this opportunity to use and highlight your favorite and special pieces now. Stop waiting for a special occasion to use your favorite dishes, hang your favorite artwork, or display family heirlooms. Allow them to be a part of your everyday and celebrate them. This is your home. Use the things you love and bring you joy.
Even if your home isn’t your dream home or updated to your ideal specifications, a clean home is a happy home. When your space is fresh and clean, you feel better. Clean bathrooms, shiny mirrors, sparkling windows, and fresh sheets always have a mood boosting effect.
For instance, twice a year I perform a deep clean of all my spaces. I go room by room and do a thorough cleaning, wiping all surfaces, moldings, doors, windows, washing curtains, mattress covers, and shampooing the carpets. My home feels incredible when I’m done, and nothing beats it.
As you take time to care for your home, you build a connection to it. You will feel proud of the space you care for.
Sharing your space with loved ones creates beautiful memories to hold on to while appreciating the opportunity to host in your home. Enjoy time together and create spaces that encourage them to linger longer. Whether it’s wine night, game night, or hosting a meal or holiday, spending time with the people you love will create meaningful moments in your home. Remember, home is about the people and the life that happens within it.
Finding something that you love to do that can be done at home is a special way to build a connection with your home. For instance, consider taking up gardening if you have some green space. If you enjoy cooking or baking, try new recipes for fun. If you are a DIYer, select a few home improvement projects you can accomplish that will not only strengthen your connection, but also move it closer to your ideal home.
Enjoying hobbies you love within your space will give you a new appreciation for your home.
This is a big one, and it’s easier said than done. With seemingly “perfect” homes posted all over social media, it’s easy to fall into the comparison trap. I work and live much of my day in the world of home design and decor, and there are certainly times I find myself comparing my home to the “picture perfect” ones I see on my screen. This is when I remind myself all the reasons I love my home (pull out that list you created earlier) and how special it is to me and my family. I remind myself that these homes should serve as inspiration, rather than discourage me.
However, if you find that scrolling through social media, or watching home TV shows makes you feel worse about your home, take a step back and stop watching them. It’s not helping you love your home. Instead, it can cause envy and negativity and that’s not what you want for your life.
If you can rise above the urge to compare, there is a great opportunity to be inspired by the beautiful homes you see. Allow yourself to be inspired by the beauty, style, and decor of the homes you admire. Identify possibilities where you can infuse that inspiration into your own home.
I recommend starting small as inspiration can be overwhelming and you may easily get lost in all the possibilities. It’s imperative to train yourself to be selective of what you really love while staying authentic to your personal style and home.
With more of us working from home, we can get stuck in the routine of using the same space for everything—working, playing, and eating. Instead, move from room to room throughout the day. A change of scenery is good for the soul. Make it a habit to work in your designated work area, enjoy meals in your dining space, and relax in the living room. Appreciate each space you have, and it will keep things interesting.
Additionally, if you have spaces you don’t use regularly, reevaluate their use. How can they be better utilized to fit your lifestyle? Maybe you never use that formal dining room but need an office or play space. Have an empty corner in your bedroom? Add a cozy chair and turn it into a comforting reading nook. Make the most of your spaces so they fit your lifestyle and are used fully and enjoyably.
If your home is tight on square footage, try to carve out different “spaces.” A designated desk area, eating area, and living area can go a long way in helping you love your home and improve the way it functions for you.
If your home is feeling stagnant, refresh your spaces by moving things around. This is the perfect opportunity to shop your own home. Try moving furniture from one room to another, restyle your shelves, adjust the seating arrangement in your living room, or move decor pieces from one space to another to instantly change things up.
Consider celebrating the change of seasons by making small but impactful decor changes. This helps to keep things fresh and interesting.
Another possibility is repurposing items you already have. Maybe that vase isn’t your style anymore, try a DIY update project. Try re-staining or painting a worn-out dresser to give it new life. This is a special opportunity to be hands-on creatively and create pieces that are meaningful to your home. The pieces I lovingly work on always help me feel a deeper connection to my home.
One of the fun parts about having a home is the ability to personalize it to fit your style. There is nothing wrong with making changes and improvements if those things genuinely make you happy and help your house feel like your own. Whether they are big or small, hired or DIY—home projects can make your home feel like an extension of yourself and reflect your personal style.
Paint is the fastest, most impactful update you can make. If your spaces are dark, depressing, or don’t reflect your personal style, I encourage you to change it! That goes for walls, ceilings, cabinets…the sky is the limit.
Other impactful changes can include adding wallpaper, updating light fixtures, and swapping out drawer and cabinet pulls.
Evaluate which changes will be most impactful in your spaces and do them a little at a time, if necessary, no need to rush! Home will always be a work in progress.
There are simply times when you’re ready to buy new pieces for your home. Maybe you are buying your first home and are starting from scratch to create a home you love. Perhaps you are moving into a larger home and need to acquire more furniture to thoughtfully fill in your new space. Or maybe you are just ready for a change!
Selecting furniture, rugs, and decor is a special part of turning a house into a home. Have fun with this! But, if necessary, be patient and select pieces that you truly love, feel authentic to your style, and represent the life you want to create within your home.
Let’s take a moment and go back to the question, do you love your home?
My hope is that with the help of these tips you will enthusiastically say “yes!” I’m confident you will fall in love with your home, even if it’s not perfect. Keep in mind what home really is. Enjoy the journey and love it every step of the way!
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