Do you love your home? I mean REALLY love it? The way you would love someone close to you, faults and all, in good times and bad, when they are wonderful and terrible? Do you love it the way you should really love yourself? Taking it all in, seeing the journey it has been on, the same way you have been since the day you were born? Do you criticise it, try to change it all the time, get frustrated and tired of it? Most of us do this to ourselves, and our homes. All of these things and more, are the reasons why your home is more than a building.
Your home is part of you – it is where you spend time away from other people, the place you can shut the door on the outside world, the place where you get to play in whatever way you want to, and bring friends and family back to join you. As we have been working through planning our current renovations and preparing our real room renovation, I have started to realise that the quirks and cracks and less than perfect parts of our home, are the ones to cherish. Working out that you love your home, warts and all, is the way to happiness at home. It is not about stopping wanting to make changes – far from it. It is about working with the perfectly imperfect, and allowing this to blossom within your home, as you make those changes. If you can do this, it will enable you to feel more at peace and love your home more. We were considering carpet over our less than perfect floorboards in some areas of our home for example, but then, as I started to work with the ones in our little sitting room renovation, I realised that highlighting these boards was key to the room, and indeed the entire home, working.
Here are 6 ways to love your home more.
1. Let go of other people’s ideals
What someone else says about your style is not what matters. What is printed in a magazine is not what matters. Whatever is on trend in the stores, is not what matters. What matters is how you feel about what you bring into your home and how you manage to live with these things. Many people do not have a home, or have a less than ideal one. Being grateful for what you have is very important in loving your home more.
2. Stop looking out and start looking IN
What happens when you are alone in your home? What are the rooms you gravitate to? How do you use them? Which spaces make you feel happy and which spaces bring you down? Why do they do these things? What happens when you are in your home with other people? How do you interact in the spaces and how does your home support or block this interaction? Along with this, how does it allow you all to breathe. Open space living has many advantages, but it also has disadvantages. Whilst we would love one big open family space extension if we could afford it, our family loves the dedicated rooms of our 1940’s home, and the way that we can be in different rooms, but still close to each other.
3. Consider the cracks and knocks from a different angle
Have you ever watched something on television or read a magazine, which depicts an old villa somewhere in Europe, or England? Have you appreciated the cracks in the plaster, the wonky floorboards, or the patina of the timbers? Age and time are what makes things beautiful when it comes to interiors. A nice new paint job is lovely and there is nothing better than a freshly cleaned home. But a totally perfect home that smacks of the show room and smells of artificial things, is not. It is the idea of wabi sabi, or perfectly imperfect, that tells the stories of you and your home. This does not mean living in a wreck, it means appreciating that less than perfect can be perfect. I am a big advocate of regular tidying and cleaning, rearranging and creating nooks and happy places within your home, to make it sing.
4. Rearrange and redecorate
All homes get run down and need some TLC. This ranges from the daily tidying, the weekly cleaning and the occasional renovation or makeover. There is nothing like a few hours of faffing to make you feel more connected to your home and put a spring in your step! When you take time to go further and properly rearrange and redecorate, it allows you to deep clean a room and swap things from one space to another. It makes you remember why you loved your home in the first place, and gives you the joy of creating a new look in the building you call home. Doing some of this work yourself connects you to the walls, floors and things that live within your home. Involving your family in the process, means you all have a hand in the finished result. Be sure to keep some of those perfectly imperfect touches so you don’t lose the heart of your home.
5. Be adventurous!
We are about to try some things we have never done before – such as painting floorboards with a light grey floor paint. I am also going for full walls of colour, rather than feature walls. Trying something new in your home is a bit like getting a new outfit and going on a date with your partner somewhere you have never been before. Taking time out for your home is just as refreshing and important, as your other relationships.
6. Remember what really matters
I have been thinking a lot lately, about people who are no longer in my life. Like many of you, I have had my fair share of loved ones passing away, including 2 beautiful best friends taken far too soon, my beautiful parents in law, and my darling grandparents. As I was walking home from school drop off the other day, I started thinking about my most recent loss, of my 101 year old grandmother. I realised that sometimes I just think she is still here and that I could call her up, or pop in for a roast lunch. Her face fills my thoughts and I am a jumble of emotions – missing her dearly but feeling so very grateful for having her all these years.
When my best friend passed away a few years ago now, she was not in the same state as me. She had driven across country to see me and other friends and family, shortly before she died. At that meeting, she knew it would be our last. I did too really, but the inevitabilty of the last time we held each other did not hit me until she was gone. Life is fleeting and fragile. Your home is very important, but it is not everything. It is certainly not worth tying yourself up in knots about which white paint to choose, or whether to go with the floral or the striped fabric on the sofa.These are important choices you will make that will affect the enjoyment you have within your home, and I am involved in helping people every day to make these decision in my decorating practice. It definitely matters, but it is the people in your life that matter most. Remembering this as you make choices about your home, will help you to love it more.
Be sure to make the life you are living within your home the most important, and the rest will follow.