Today’s focus is going to get a teensy bit more personal than yesterday’s. You will begin learning to love your home.
Again, for some people this is easy. For others, not so much.
As I mentioned here, it can be so easy to feel like your own house is too small, dumpy, frumpy, out-dated, or just plain ugly. Especially if you are a blog-frequenter (like I am). There are some beautiful homes being shared out there in blogland! And believe me, I LOVE me some decorating and home improvement blogs like no other!
If you have the slightest inkling that I am criticizing bloggers for sharing pics of their beautiful homes, please read this. (and I’m not, by the way)
In fact, I would love to begin sharing more of the projects we are completing around here! (Like my Master Bedroom Makeover we did last summer) I just don’t want you to ever, ever look at a single photo of my home and wish yours was like mine. Because I will probably never show you the way the floor under the breakfast table looks at around 7:30am every single morning or the way the mudroom floor looks most of the time in the winter (perks of living where it snows!) or the way my living room is covered with throw blankets and baby dolls (again – perks of living where it snows and of having little girls). I will very likely only ever show you photos of my home that I actually like! That Master Bedroom post? What you didn’t see is that my master bathroom was a disaster – complete with peeling vinyl sheet flooring, 1960’s faux wood paneling and light fixtures, and horrid paint colors. (That room got a makeover this fall and I didn’t think to document the process and share it here – still getting used to this whole blogging thing!) You also may not realize that we lived in our house for 8 years before we did that master bedroom makeover. See, you just don’t get the whole story when all you see is the beautiful photo.
So for today I’d like you to take some time to think about your own house. Start with a clear and calm mind and push out every single image of houses that belong to other people. Think about what makes your home great. Just like before, no negativity is allowed. “Our kitchen is great because the kids love to help me cook” is fantastic. “Our kitchen is great because the kids love to help me cook, but it is too small” is not so fantastic. Focus on actual physical features of your home as well as on positive memories or feelings that your house invokes. Maybe you have a favorite spot for reading or a window with a beautiful view. Maybe it is your neighborhood that you love most. Start a new page in your journal and make a list (you’ll learn that I like lists… a lot.)
Now think of some things you can do to make your home more enjoyable.
The biggest thing you can do is keep it clean and tidy. I know, it seems counter-intuitive to think that cleaning will make you love your home. Believe me, it does wonders for your mood. Schedule a day, or a few days if you can’t do it in one, to do a deep clean and then create a schedule to keep you on top of it. And if you don’t believe me, just deep clean the one room you spend the most time in and see how it affects your mood.
Consider creating your own little retreat within your home. It could be as simple as a comfy spot in your living room where you drink your favorite tea while reading. Or maybe it is your bathtub where you can soak and relax with candles and soft music. Whatever works for you. Think about something you really enjoy doing that can be done inside your home – painting, meditating, yoga, working out, reading, writing, etc.; and create a space that helps you do that activity well. Making this spot for yourself will help your house feel more like a home.
Frame some personal photos. One thing you hardly ever see in magazine-worthy photos of home interiors is framed snapshots. There is nothing wrong with adding your own personal memories to your décor! Surround yourself with happy memories inside your home and you will begin to feel happier while you are there.
Work with your family’s habits and needs. Don’t strive to keep the entry way table clear if that is where you tend to lay your keys. Don’t stress about completely clear kitchen counters if your kitchen isn’t big enough to store everything out of sight. Instead, find ways to accept and enjoy your home spaces in ways that suit YOU and your family rather than in ways that match a pretty picture.
Try incorporating natural elements into your décor. There is something deep within us that feels connected to nature. Try something simple, like a decorative bowl filled with interesting rocks, or a row of seashells you collected on vacation perched on a bookshelf. You can even take it a step further and try adding in seasonal elements – fresh flowers in spring and summer, pumpkins and gourds in the fall, pine cones and evergreen garlands in the winter. Taking the time to rotate your home décor in this way will keep it fresh and interesting and help you feel more connected to your home.
Work on figuring out your own style. I have trouble with this. I see a beautiful rustic-farmhouse kitchen and think that is what I want mine to look like and the very next day I’ll see a sleek modern-contemporary kitchen and fall in love all over again. The truth is that, while I like certain aspects of each of those, neither is really my style. Think about the basics that you are drawn to. I’m not talking about specific looks or items; I’m talking about the “feel” or “style”. Don’t try to sum it up in one word or phrase, like “industrial chic” or “French country”. List basic characteristics you enjoy, like “cozy”, “clutter-free”, or “colorful” (totally didn’t mean to use alliteration there, by the way! 😉 ) Write about this in your journal too.
Whenever you start to get that antsy feeling in your belly that you dislike something about your home, go back to your journal and regroup. Make decisions with a clear and focused mind, knowing what your home is to you.
Finally, I want to challenge you to take a week off from looking at picture-perfect images of home spaces! Instead, spend that time looking at your own space and finding ways to love it.
Need more encouraging on this one? Check this out The Nesting Place, a book for “For anyone waiting on the next house who secretly hopes that it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.”