Show of hands, everyone:
Who enjoys personally designing or re-arranging their home decor? And who when mentioning the words ‘personally' and ‘decorating' in the same sentence is completely appalled and/or frightened?
Please, come back out from under that rug; I promise I won’t make you pair the perfect coffee table and side table duo today.
But I’ve noticed an interesting and arguably obvious pattern from my conversations with clients as Chef & Somm's Event Designer:
Some people find picking out paint swatches, trinkets and shelving units to be as soothing as a vacation escape. Other people avoid making these choices by quite literally escaping the situation - there doesn’t seem to be an in-between.
Now here comes my own personal confession of this post:
I too used to be an escape artist when it came to designing just about anything. You see, I’ve been an artist my whole life but strategically applying traditional mediums to canvas is a far cry from - let’s say - organizing a floating shelf to be functional and visually appealing at the same time. In the past, I couldn’t seem to bridge the psychological gap between what art was to me (paintings, drawings, collages, sculptures etc.) and what household design could be.
Enter my Mother: DUM DUM DUM.
No, I’m kidding! It’s not one of those stories. It’s one of these stories:
As a mother of four, my Mom had it going on when it came to the artful balance of ‘I have no extra time in a day' and 'I desire to make this house a home.’ One day in my late teens I finally became conscious of what an eclectic, colourful, well-designed home I was blessed enough to live in (yes parents, this moment does happen!). It was within this fluidly changing, artistic bubble of my mother’s decor and personal tastes that I learned to develop my own, personal design principles and inner confidence in them.
Everything in this world is a potential source of inspiration; a way to harness your own creativity. And I would argue that embodying the spirit of ‘Why be someone else when you can be yourself’ is one of the biggest considerations within any type of artistic design.
But naturally, I had to stop, think and (over) analyze:
What part of me had changed from when I used to panic at the sight of an empty room to now when I shake from the excitement of possibilities?
I developed a healthy, strong, ‘I’m one of a kind’, ‘my style is style' mindset because I realized the one thing that was always holding me back was my poor attitude towards what I could and could not accomplish in this world. Psychologically I was holding myself back from trying new avenues because of the fear of failing.
So now instead of entering an empty room thinking "I know nothing and this will be a disaster," I now aim to enter thinking ‘Wow, what a room full of unlimited possibilities to imprint new, creative ideas on! What an exciting new journey. Let’s see how it goes.”
This new type of mindset - essentially a self-loving, self-encouraging attitude - did a few things for my ability to psychologically show up for a challenge and in turn make things happen:
First off, we’re admitting and preparing ourselves for the idea that decor is more of a process than something final and permanent. When we mindfully consider a room within our house to be a journey, continually working towards something we love, some of the infamous self-inflicted pressure lifts to get it right the first time.
Think about designing a room the same way you design a healthy relationship: When we view the beginning of our partnership with someone as the beginning of a journey or path together instead of say, thinking our work is now done, the union feels more fluid to grow and morph with you both in time. A room in your living space should operate under this same premise!
As fluid and moving people, we need to adapt to the idea that change is good. It’s necessary. It’s functional, above all.
So don’t be afraid to change things up. When we let go of our fear of change, designing our spaces goes back to a place of figuring out ways of how best to enjoy and utilize the spaces at the time.
Show of hands:
Who here has a room in their home affectionally dubbed 'The Room Where All Things Go To Die" but also lacks space for some genuine peace and quiet?
I now ask you another question:
How have you grown personally since the last time you moved your furniture around in the room you’re sitting right now? Any new interests, people, projects, work etc.?
And one more: What spaces do you require to do some of the things you enjoy? Or, what spaces do you require to do some of those cool new ideas, habits, dreams, or hobbies you’ve been wanting to try?
This is your opportunity to start finding the space for your life - your current life happening right now. If something is sparking your interest or bringing joy into your psyche, why not make the physical space for it as well?
Now, what does this also do for your psyche? It removes the pressure of permanency from design and decor.
Public Service Announcement for all Home Owners:
If you don’t like how things are turning out or has turned out at the end, there’s no need to stress because it can and no doubt will eventually be flipped again.
Don’t like the coat of paint? Re-Paint it.
Not a fan of that carpet you bought? Return it.
Does the couch look massive now that you bought it home? Look into it ASAP and don't settle!
Trust your gut instinct when it comes to designing your spaces - the space after all is for you. These opportunities to change what isn’t working will arise at the moment when you notice something feels off, at the end when you’ve finished the original plan but just aren’t satisfied, and even 10 years later when you’ve become a different person again!
When we remove the self-inflicted pressure from our experiences, we gain a more enticing outlook on our personal projects and a forward-moving momentum to get them done. I’m not referring to an irrational positive mindset here, but seeking to find confidence in your abilities and your style is key.
If you look at your living room and think “I’m so sick of this colour! And that couch has got to GO” then I can sympathize with why this seems like a heavy and undesirable task. Why not rev up your own engine by adjusting to “A lighter colour will really open it up in here. It’d probably entice me to flip this couch then too!”
Same problem. Different, more mindful approach. Fewer expectations. Less pressure.
So I’d say when it comes to decor and design, it’s rather like any other new experience that we are keen to get our hands on:
Our mindset dictates how we approach a situation, person, place, problem, and so on and so forth. It’s almost as stark of a difference as turning on and off the lights in a room and expecting to see the setting in the same way.
‘Lights On’ is essentially a way of being; a constant thought process that embraces seeing new experiences as new opportunities to expand who we are and what we bring to this world.
And what more of a beautiful way to express your imprint on this world than through decorating your living space - that place you spend over half your life in - in a way that works with and serves you and your goals in life. Remembering that the pressure and stigma of ‘what is considered good design’ are no longer relevant or meaningful to the process.
So I will now ask this one more time:
Show of hands, everyone!
Who enjoys designing or re-arranging your home decor personally? And who when mentioning the words ‘personally' and ‘decorating' in the same sentence is completely appalled and/or frightened?
I hope there are many more hands waving for the first option now, because this blog post is the beginning of a few from me, Erica - the Designer of Chef & Somm.
And I would love to work together on a few design projects to bring some fresh and new ideas into your spaces, but the first step of any project is always…?
Designer & Event Planner