Have you ever flipped through a magazine and drooled over some of the pictures of beautiful interiors? These rooms and renovations appear to be everything you want – and you think to yourself, ‘If my house could just look like that, be that clean, and that organized…’ We forget that just like the supermodels in today’s fashion magazines; these rooms are ‘airbrushed’ with perfection of placement and poised with fresh flowers and accents that are not part of the room in its everyday life.
While these magazines are a great source of inspiration and ideas for our homes, it is hard not to feel somewhat depressed after we close the magazine. We walk around our houses envisioning the ‘only if’ in every room. We look at our homes as ‘projects’ rather than looking at the warmth and personality that we have created. Most of us create project lists for our homes that are several items long. Added to that is the wish list of items that we need or want to purchase to make the rooms in our imagination a reality. Lack of time and available funds in our busy lives gives us enough stress without the burden of trying to create the ‘�perfect home’ on a budget.
Get Some Perspective
The reality is that life does not exist in an airbrushed setting. Life requires paperwork, use of technology, maintenance of pets, raising children, folding laundry and probably working all week. Magazines and catalogs try to sell us on achieving perfection in our homes even with these everyday demands. We are visually sold that everything should be brand new, perfectly coordinated, and totally organized. Somehow, all paperwork and shoes should be non-existent in the perfect home…Imagine that!
It is easy to see ‘the perfect home’ as a necessity when the media flashes pictures at us from every direction. Media in all forms seem to put pressure on people to have more and have it look perfect. Suddenly we all need big mudrooms, outdoor rooms (with dining, kitchen, living areas and fireplaces!), master bedrooms that have their own sitting areas, and media rooms to watch movies and sports! Notice how the flat screen T.V. quickly became a necessity in today’s homes snowballing into the need to reorganize, rearrange and rewire. Even one small change affects our rooms, our time, and our budgets. There is no doubt that these rooms and amenities can be beautiful and useful. It is just important to keep perspective on what our needs and priorities really are. The more we want, the more we change, the more projects we make for ourselves (more time, more money spent, less time to enjoy life).
Designing for How you Live
Perhaps we should consider another approach to designing our homes that doesn’t come with a brand name, a coordinated set, or out of a catalog. Before embarking on any household project, we need to take inventory of our lives and consider how we would like to spend our time. If we spend three months out of the year outdoors, do we really need an outdoor living space as opposed to a picnic table and a few chairs? If we barely have time to watch television, does it warrant the large screen T.V, pool table and bar? Looking at our home as a space in which we can really live our daily lives and feel comfortable should be the most important factor in creating an inspirational interior for our families and ourselves. Do meaningful pictures, artifacts and furniture surround you in your home? It is important to take the pressure off ourselves when it comes to our interiors and what we ‘need’ to have.
Making Your Home Perfect for You
Simplifying our needs for our homes means less stress, more time available for fun and family, and more money for recreation or savings. Luckily, for us, today’s trends in design are working in our favor. It is totally within design limits to decorate with what we have! Many of us are working with our parents’ coffee table from the 1960’s and our great-grandmother’s old tufted sofa. Mixing and blending styles and time periods have become totally favored. As fashion styles and hairstyles have become so much more forgiving over the past decade, home trends have followed suit. Pieces in our homes that have meaning, are heirlooms, or are simply odd pieces that we love, say so much and coordinate better than predictable setups that you can buy in a catalog. If our rooms radiate our personality, we will be happier in them.
A perfect home should be where you feel comfortable. Home is a place you can be yourself, hear people laugh, and surround yourself with memories and warmth. When catalogs and magazines arrive in the mail, look through them with a healthy perspective or toss them in the recycle bin, you choose. Letting go of the need for a picture perfect purchased lifestyle can give you the freedom to enjoy what you have without feeling constantly frustrated by what you don’t have. Expect a few papers on the kitchen counter, expect a junk drawer, and above all, expect to live in your home. This summer, spend less time acquiring and more time living. Even if you build the perfect mudroom, there is no guarantee that everything will end up in the right place anyway. A perfect mudroom may not bring you happiness. However, a sense of humor about the pile of shoes by the back door will go a long way.