“I even hired someone a few years ago,” she said. “She came in, gave me some colours and took me shopping. But the house still doesn’t really feel like mine, you know?”
I had coffee with a colleague and mentor this week and after work shop talk, we got to gabbing about my blog and design and how I’ve managed to find much of my passion within the digital walls of this web space.
“I love your picture wall in your living room,” she said. “But how on Earth did you do that?!”
“Trial and error!” I laughed.
“Really? But what if you make a mistake?”
Since then, I’ve been wondering if that really ended up being my advice to her. Was I truly suggesting that she could make her home feel more like hers by giving herself permission to ‘put more holes’ in the walls?! No. But maybe kind of?
I will fully admit that sometimes, I feel like my space isn’t ‘right’ either. I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. My approach to our home. How I come to certain decisions. What makes me feel good about the end product.
When I start to feel like ‘something’s not right’ – I change it. I move the couch. I switch the pillows. I reorient the rug after I vacuum. I take all the art off the walls and rehang the paintings (yes, which does sometimes make new holes in the walls.)
But I wonder if it’s because I have the luxury of having a blog where it’s basically my ‘job’ to switch things up. Somehow, I’ve given myself permission to try things and test them, and see if I like them. Maybe my friend needs to find a way to give herself permission to do the same thing?
I mean, if I had a dollar for every time I tried something that looked TERRIBLE, I’d probably have at least $100,000 … 😉
But more to the point about living in a space that feels like yours. I have come to realize how very important that is to being content and feeling free in your home.
Every once in a while, someone will say “I wish I could have a home like yours!” to me. I know it’s a compliment and I’m always gracious. (Although, right now, I’m pretty sure you don’t want the dog hair from Buddy’s spring shed, the sticky something stuck to my kitchen floor, or the torn drapes after the cat tried to be a mountain goat.)
But deep down, I want to say, ‘You can! But it can’t be MY house, it has to be YOUR house. It has to be a source of freedom for you. It has to amplify your own sense of comfort and joy.”
Too often, we are so afraid to make a mistake. Why?
I’d hazard a guess it’s because most people are designing their rooms and making choices about what to put in them based on what they think ‘other people’ want. Or even worse, based on the unrealistic expectations set by TV shows, magazines and lifestyle blogs.
We’ve all heard the sayings “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take,” or “You’ll never know if you don’t at least try.” The same thing goes for your house. You do have the power to fix ‘what doesn’t feel right.’ If you never have another house guest again, don’t you still want to come home and be able to breathe? To be able to feel like you’re in a space that makes YOU better? I say – take the chance. Make the change. RISK making a mistake. Do it for you and for no one else.
I guess what I’m getting at is the imperfections, like the holes in the walls, are nothing to be afraid of. They aren’t mistakes unless we let them be mistakes. They are signs of imperfection. They are signs that someone real lives in the space. They are reminders that absolutely nothing in life is permanent. And I love that.
They are also reminders that what we bring into our homes; put on the walls, drape over the furniture and place on a shelf, should all come from a place of joy and need. (Yes, I am in the camp who believes ‘joy’ is a need.)
I imagine most ‘decorators’ don’t sit down with their clients to do an emotional evaluation before jumping head first into the paint colour deck or fluffing pillows and petting carpet samples. I think they should. Maybe my next career will be to become a ‘Design Counsellor’ rather than an interior decorator? 😉
If your home doesn’t feel right, or if you find you’re coveting someone else’s ‘home’ – gut check yourself. What do you really want? Light? Take down those big brown drapes. Just take them down. Fold them up and put them away. Just for a week or two. See how you feel.
Brightness? Go buy a beautiful plant and push yourself to spend on some coloured pillows. Seriously. $30 at HomeSense can make you realize that you really are energized by colour – like orange, yellow, electric blue. Just try it.
HATE that ugly chair in the corner, but can’t afford to replace it? Drape it in a textile that makes you smile. Cover it up. Move it out of the corner into another spot in the room. Just make a small, easy change.
The point is, if something’s not right, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with attempting change. Worst case? You might have a microscopic hole in your wall and you might get sick of your $30 pillows in a couple of months. No one will judge you. No one will know. No one will get hurt…. and you just might be one step closer to fixing what needs fixing.
Nothing in life is permanent… even a hole in the wall.