Hands up if you’ve drooled over a home in a magazine, on Pinterest or on HGTV and thought, “If my home could look like that I’d be so happy”.
Yep, me too. But in reality, even if we could mimic those homes (on our realistic budgets – ha!) we wouldn’t be happy. Because they just wouldn’t feel right. A designed and styled space can look great at first, but your own home – you know, the one you actually live real life in – needs to be rooted in function and meaning, and that can’t come from any magazine or TV show. It comes from your story, your purpose, and your values. If it’s just style, it feels hollow.
Photo by Robin Stubbert
You’ve probably visited someone’s home for the first time and got that feeling that their home matches exactly who they are. It has a genuine feeling and is welcoming and comfortable. You want to stick around for a while.
That’s the real goal for your space, not the Pinterest image. Because if your home feels comfortable, easy and like you, not only will others feel good in it, but so will you. And you’ll be able to live more closely to your purpose and be happier doing it.
So how you do you accomplish this? Through adding function and meaning.
Begin with making your home functional. No matter how beautiful your home looks, if it doesn’t make your life easy and comfortable, you won’t be happy. You need to arrange your furniture so it promotes the way you live (or want to live). So arrange your living room for TV watching or conversation (or both) – but make it functional and comfortable. And make healthy cooking easily accessible in your kitchen. Make your bedroom relaxing so it promotes good sleep.
Examples of how to make your home functional:
Keep traffic paths clear of clutter, things on the floor, and furniture.
Put furniture where you need it. If you like to read in a window, make sure to arrange your room so you have a comfy chair there so you’ll be encouraged to read more.
Add storage in easily accessible areas with pretty baskets and bins, so you can have things like toilet paper, cleaning cloths, and tea bags right where you need them.
Store items in the room where they’re used. For example, table linens are in the dining room or kitchen, dirty clothes hamper in the bedroom and/or bathroom, coffee by the coffee maker.
Create a dedicated nook for administrative things like paying bills, writing notes, and charging your devices (see these ideas on creating a charging station). Keep this kind of activity restricted to one place in the home so it doesn’t creep into your everyday routines or relaxation times.
Have multiple table surfaces. You want to be comfortable when curling up and relaxing, so have coffee and side tables around your seating for drinks, lighting, books, etc.
Have good lighting. Nothing is more frustrating than not having enough lighting where you need it. Invest in floor, table and hanging lamps.
Try open shelving and glass containers. It makes cooking and baking much easier, and works in the bathroom too for personal goods you use daily.
Use hooks to keep outerwear, bags, scarves and hats ready where you need them (and not crammed into a closet or lying on the floor).
When it comes to adding meaning, there are so many ways to personalize your home beyond just family photos, which, of course, are also important. Each room in your home should have something that either connects you to your past, speaks to your values, or inspires you for the future.
Examples of how to add meaning to your home:
An heirloom handed down from a family member.
A piece of artwork that inspires you and brings you joy – it doesn’t have to be expensive – it could even be your own!
Your favorite books.
A throw in your family fabric that speaks to your ancestry.
One or two special mementos that hold significance to you or that remind of a particular stage in your life.
A display of a collection you love.
A photo, postcard, or map of somewhere you lived or visited, or want to visit in the future.
A pillow covered in the fabric of your favorite old sweater or t-shirt.
A quote, mantra, or verse that inspires you printed and framed.
Your kids’ artwork framed.
Plants or other natural elements that make you feel connected to the universe.
A chalkboard with your favourite healthy recipe written on it on display.
A symbol of something meaningful to you (perhaps a spiritual symbol, a music symbol or a pineapple, which is a symbol for “welcome”).
Photo by Robin Stubbert
So go ahead and dream about the newest Sarah Richardson home, but don’t feel you need to purchase expensive furniture and custom draperies to make you happy. Do some of the small things that will make your home functional and meaningful, and sit back and enjoy.
BONUS: ever wondered how to create that HGTV/magazine look and make your own personal and loved items stand out? It’s with white walls. Go ahead and download my free e-guide on the benefits of white walls, how to choose the right shade of white, and my favourite tried and true white colours.