I tend to receive requests from home owners who have one of these four challenges:
- They're overwhelmed with clutter and don't enjoy their home because it frustrates them constantly.
- They hurriedly chose paint colours and furnishings because they needed something quickly or were overwhelmed with the choices so just said "to heck with it" and picked one, but don't enjoy their space because it always feels "off".
- They renovated a room but have run out of steam or just don't know how to finish and pull it all together, so don't use and enjoy their space.
- They purchased trendy furniture and replicated swoon-worthy rooms straight from a magazine, but it feels too perfect, unlivable and impractical.
Do any of these scenarios resonate with you?
It's so easy to become paralyzed with the many decisions and choices available to make our homes beautiful. If you spend any time at all on Pinterest or Houzz you've experienced the overwhelm of gorgeous trendy wallcolours, floor tiles, headboards, sinks, sectionals, and on and on and on. These details certainly make for a beautiful space, but to make a happy home they need to come together in a way that works for how you want to live & feel in your home.
Look, I'm a designer and I love to create beautifully styled rooms. But styling for the camera and styling for real life is not the same thing. Good design needs to incorporate function and purpose and meaning for a home to feel welcoming and peaceful. It must enable practical, meaningful living. The beauty comes second.
Practical means that your home functions well and makes your life easier. By meaningful living I mean simply enjoying the experiences and people that make life wonderful: family time, entertaining, making and creating, or quiet time in your favourite comfy chair - whatever makes you happy.
And so the secret to designing the kind of beautiful home that makes you happy is making it be a reflection of you and your needs.
Home should be personalized with things you love (and only those you love), that tell your story, that inspire you, and that refresh your soul. These may include photos, mementos, favourite colours and patterns, artwork that you love, tools that you use, books that make you want to curl up and read the day away. Those kitchen gadgets you picked up on sale but that you never use because you hate cooking, and the artwork you're not crazy about but that you hung anyway because it goes with the paint colour in your living room - these are things that will not elicit happiness at home.
A happy home should also contain the kinds of spaces and furnishings that practically suit your needs. If a Netflix binge is your favourite way to de-stress then a cozy entertainment area with comfy seating is a must. You may desire a trendy and beautiful dining room, but if it's not used then how is it making you happy? If a bright and inviting home office area will encourage creativity, then turn the barely-used guest room into your own little studio (like I did), filled with light, your favourite colours and a chair and workspace that beckons each morning.
Blending personal, beautiful and functional items into your roost in a way that fits the home's bones (ie. the architecture and permanent elements you may not be able to change) PLUS is stylish and graceful can be tricky. It's definitely worth investing a little time and/or money into getting professional help, because now more than ever in this fast-paced world we need homes that wrap around us and make us feel great.
Think about hiring a local designer to help you, or take advantage of the online coaching resources I offer to learn how to slow down and create a home that's beautiful, functional, and makes you really, really happy. Your investment will pay off in time and money not spent over and over again to get your space functioning and feeling "right."
If you're not quite ready for personalized coaching, first check out the 10 actionable steps to creating a beautiful and meaningful home I've collected into this simple guide.
I truly believe that a happy home leads to a happy life. I hope that knowing this "secret" gets you thinking about simple ways you can refresh your home to make it more functional and meaningful.