Do you design your life in the same way you design your home? Maybe you are very controlled and buttoned down and your home is tightly arranged with every book in place. Perhaps you are outgoing and boisterous and your home is full of color and playful objects. Or maybe, sadly, you are boring and bland and so is your all beige decor.
Maybe you’ve never even thought of the connection between who you are and what your home looks like.
I think about it often. One of my favorite things to do is to design and decorate homes. I’m always decorating my home or the home of a family member or friend. People ask me how to make their gallery wall look good or what color to paint their dining room.
My Pinterest boards are mostly home designs. I have plans for remodeling and decorating a home we haven’t even bought. I don’t know if we will buy it until I create the plans and see if I can take potential and make it a reality. I carry a tape measure in my purse and my paint swatch book is often in my car.
I spent several hours this weekend reading home decor magazines such as Better Homes and Gardens, House Beautiful, Traditional Home and Country Living. My favorite is Southern Living, even though I am not southern nor have I ever lived in the south. I have a daughter in Texas and one in the process of moving to Nashville, so maybe that gives me a tiny bit of southern street cred. In any case, I binge read shelter magazines like many people binge on Netflix.
As I leaf through the magazines, I always notice patterns, which is not unusual as you will always see articles about organization in January, garden decor in the spring, and plaid pillows and lush throws in the fall. It occurred to be that the patterns I see in decorating are not unlike the patterns I see in designing a life.
Here are four patterns that are true in both creating a life that you love and creating a space that will make you happy and support your life in a positive way.
You need breathing room.
Too much clutter is suffocating. The same is true of too much furniture; it doesn’t leave room to move easily. Your eyes need a blank space on a wall to rest. Isn’t this like your life? We all need a little calm and quiet. We need time to rest. We need air and the space to breathe deeply and move freely. Living in chaos does nothing to support a calm and intentional life.
You need a little sparkle.
Every room comes to life with a little sparkle. You see sparkle in the shine of a brass candlestick, a silver vase, the glisten of a crystal chandelier, or the reflection of sunlight in a mirror. A little sparkle wakes things up and takes them to a higher level. We need a little sparkle in our lives too. Perhaps it is a witty conversation with a friend, a good belly laugh, or a nice dinner out. Sparkle brings joy and we need joy in our homes and in our lives.
You need grounding.
Things that ground us are things that help us to see boundaries. When we are grounded, we feel supported. Grounding might also comes from a connection to our past. In our homes, grounding might come from a large piece of furniture, a rug or an object made of dark wood. We might also feel anchored by something with a sense of history, an antique, or an object from a family member.
When we are grounded, we know who we are and where we are. If you have ever experienced a glass or Lucite staircase, you have probably felt the sensation of being ungrounded. We will feel uncomfortable in our lives when we are not grounded. Having values and purpose and living according to our principles helps us to feel grounded. We feel grounded when we have connections to others and when those relationships are supportive. In both our homes and in our lives, we are never truly comfortable until we are grounded.
You need to be personal.
Catalog pictures may be lovely, but they never feel quite right. That’s because they aren’t personal. Much of the appeal of shelter magazines is that they take the time to get personal, telling the stories of the people who live in those homes. The best homes have quirky art or homemade objects. Decorators will use colors that relate to the family or design decor around a hobby. A favorite category in recent years is the “I did it myself” feature which shows homeowners who have redesigned their homes or made something personal for their home.
It might seem obvious that your life should be personal, but how many people have built a life around what someone else thinks they should do or be? They wear clothing because it is on trend, not because they like it or because it looks good on them. They choose careers based on what a parent or spouse wanted for them. They plan activities to fit in with a social group or to keep up with the neighbors. When you are personal in creating your life you build a life on your strengths, your needs, your interests and your values. That’s how to build a satisfying life.
The best homes align with their owner’s lives. I hope our home is a reflection of us, and I try. What about you? Does your home reflect who you are? I’d love to hear your home story!