10 Reasons You Don't Have the Home You Want
It's easy to say you don't have your dream home because the one you live in is not the sprawling seaside pad for which you made a fantasy Pinterest board. But that's lazy. Having the home you want is about much more than real estate. Even when you close escrow on that gem you lusted after for nine months, it will never really be your dream home until you come to terms with a few realities. First, you need to put in some hard work and careful thought. But it's fun work, because when it pays off, it pays off big—every day.
Follow this yellow brick road below to your dream home.
Being disorganized inhibits your efficiency in your home, which in turn can cause stress. When your things don't have a proper place to be stored, that often causes mess, something very few people thrive in.
While there are many tips and tricks you can follow to get organized, organization comes down to two basic elements: one, storing like items together, and two, storing things where you can see them (or so you know exactly where they are). It's as simple as that.
Comfort is so essential to home design and decorating, but unfortunately it's often overlooked in favor of aesthetics. Luckily, there are limitless options for décor and furniture in any style that suits you. You just need to do your research to find the right things. Don't rush out to your nearest home décor and buy the first piece that fits. Look around online and locally. Sit down on those metal bar stools you like; can you picture yourself eating dinner in them? Go to the mattress outlets and lay down on a few; you may be surprised to learn you prefer hard cushions to soft ones. Is your side table so low that you literally have to stretch to reach it?
Take a walk around your home and look at all of your furniture. What pieces have made you uncomfortable in the past? See what you can move around. Maybe you can make your desk chair more comfortable by adding a pillow. Maybe you can put your computer monitor on a stand so you're not hunching over or straining to look at it. Comfort is key but it's one of the few design elements you can't see so it's all the more crucial to consider it purposefully.
A light, bright home is an inspiring one. Walking into a dark space will kill your mood, make you tired, and often, make you want to leave. So open up those blinds. Draw back the curtains. Get yourself some vitamin D. If you own your home and have few windows, consider installing some—or even a sunlight. Beyond setting a happy mood, lighting is also, of course, essential for function. You may not enjoy working from home because your desk is too dark. If you add under-cabinet lighting in your kitchen, you may find yourself cooking at home much more often.
It's important to have a mix of ambient lighting, task lighting, and accent lighting in every room. Head here to read all about why each is essential.
Do you have a formal dining room that you barely set foot in? Do you work from home—hunched over the kitchen counter? Part of having the home you want is about coming to terms with who you are and what you and your family's interests, activities, and responsibilities are. You may live in a traditional Colonial home, but that doesn't mean you need to have a formal living and dining room. Create a play room for your kids, an office for yourself, or an additional family room. If you spend every morning surfing, consider building an outdoor closet for your boards, instead of leaving them out in the elements. Think about what your ideal home would look like—and make it happen.
Some people enjoy cleaning, but we'd venture to guess that most people don't. That doesn't mean you shouldn't live in an uncleanly home. If you can't commit to regularly cleaning your home, at least get in the habit of spraying and wiping down your countertops after cooking. Pop the dishes in the dishwasher before you go to bed. Buy a robotic vacuum cleaner that sucks up dust while you're at work. Hire a cleaner to deep clean at least once a month. And also, just man up and clean. It's a reality we all have to face, and when you have a clean home you will enjoy it so much more.
I recently had the realization that I bought the wrong refrigerator. I was feeling frustrated in my narrow galley kitchen, and it occured to me that I should have purchased a unit with the freezer on the bottom. Given that in a galley kitchen I don't have the luxury of taking a few steps back, it would be much easier to see my everyday refrigerated items if I had them at eye-level. Applying strategy to this purchase a year ago would have saved me from frustration and regret.
Before you make any purchase for your home, consider all the factors. Look at other options. Don't just put a desk in your open-plan for your kitchen because you can—are you really going to work there? Maybe a bookcase for cookbooks would be a better use of your space. Strategize your furniture plan, find the best placement possible for every item, and make sure every piece works for the space as best it can.
Like having too much responsibility or personal "unfinished business," having too much stuff causes mental baggage. It inhibits your organization and efficiency and causes stress. I myself am overly due for a major cleanse. A good closet purge is almost cathartic. It's incredible how good it feels and how streamlined all of your tasks at home become once you purge. Do it and don't look back.
Your home should be a place that supports the things you love to do and the mindset you want to be in. It should be filled with things that you love to look at (colors, patterns, shape, artwork). It should facilitate your favorite activities. It should let in the sunshine and give you a view of the landscape. All of these things will inspire you and in turn make you a happier person in your home.
If we didn't want privacy, we would move to a commune or sleep on the streets. But we don't. We have homes of our own because we want to carve out our own little place in the world, a place where we can escape the public. If you share your home with family or a partner, make sure to give each other privacy, be it a few hours of alone time per day or separate rooms when you can relax or work on your own when you feel the need to. If you live in a city, or a suburb even, make sure you outfit your home with proper window coverings to keep prying eyes out, and lay down a padded rug so downstairs tenants can't hear you. It will give you peace of mind.
As time passes, you will inevitably acquire more stuff (see: slide seven). You may feel a duty to keep gifts that aren't your style, and one could argue both sides of that. But things that you purchase for your home are commitments that you make. They are pieces you'll see every day, and if you don't actually like them, be it for aesthetics or comfort (see: slide two), you will regret it every day. You will inevitably want to get rid of them, but as life goes, it will take longer than you'd like to make that happen. In the meantime, they'll be causing you mental or physical discomfort. If you had just purchased something you love that works for your home and something that inspires you (see: slide eight) in the first place, you wouldn't need to purge.
Never bring anything into your home that you don't love—that includes boyfriends, girlfriends, and roommates. Don't make commitments you can't keep.
What other items would you add to this list? Share your thoughts in the comments below.