Most of us have a pretty good sense of our own style. But even the most design savvy can find their look going off track! Here are some hints that a look just isn't working for you.
#1. You Feel Depressed At Home
*Of course, we know that a happy home takes so much more than the right color scheme! This advice works for people that have, for the most part, happy and healthy relationships with themselves and the other people living in their house.*
Lots of people find that the environment can have a big impact on their mood. Even though you love a certain aesthetic, you might find that it has a negative effect on your feelings. Here's a great example: My mom is currently in a transition from traditional decor to something that is a lot lighter and brighter. This past Christmas she had a white tree in the living room she has been updating. She made the comment that she used to want to get her old, more traditional, tree down as soon as possible because it made the room feel dark and depressing. She found the light and colorful tree made her (and the room) more cheerful and it made the whole holiday season more enjoyable!
If you are prone to seasonal depression, you may find that dark, moody colors don't work for you. You may also want to use the gray trend with caution. While some grays can be light and airy, and many people find gray tones in their home calming, you may find them draining your mood. Lighting is also important to your home: overhead, mood and task lighting are all important elements in design, but for most people with seasonal depression, natural light is the most important. Try to utilize your homes natural light and bring in some bright colors for a more buoyant mood.
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#2. You don't get to display the things you really love
The appeal of certain styles, like Minimalism, is that there is no clutter and very few things take pride of place. The downside is putting away all of your favorite photos, decorations and mementos. While it's great to declutter, too much might strip away some of your joy. While overcrowding a room can be make it frustrating and less than user-friendly, you might not want to say goodbye to every memory or sentimental item. For balance, try blowing up a favorite family photo or use a unique display cabinet for your most loved momentos.
Denying your favorite things is not just a minimalist problem either, the same can happen in theme decorating. If you commit too hard to one theme, like a farmhouse kitchen with carefully curated open shelving, you may feel you need to hide your favorite cooking paraphernalia for not matching the look. If you feel frustrated every time you have to dig for you favorite ugly oven mitt or plastic colander, if may not be worth the sacrifice.
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#3. Your House is Uncomfortable
The battle between form and function seems to be eternal. Stiff chairs, sharp edges, cold metals… we can let our eyes do all the thinking when it comes to decorating, but your other senses are alive and well and if your house is battling your sense of touch, it won't be a joyful place to live. If you keep stubbing your toe on the perfect bar cart, or have a permanent bruise from your contemporary coffee table, you'll find your mood quickly changes.
Some homes are so precisely curated they completely lose their functionality. Eventually you may find whole rooms become "display only" and your house is no longer made for living in and enjoying. Strive for pieces that look AND feel great! People love a beautiful house, but nothing beats a cozy home.
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#4. Other members of your household are disproportionately represented... or not represented at all!
This one can get people worked up! Yes, I've been there and, yes, it can be tempting to take over as the decorating dictator! As much as you may want to be in control of your home's look, if you share your space with others, you may find it's good for your relationships and your style to do some creative compromising.
It's a common joke to talk about one partner's cherished belongings being tossed out or relegated to a basement or out building, utterly sacrificed for another person's look. Sometimes a spouse will grudgingly allow one piece that seems out of place, and will make constant apologies to guests. (Fans of The Office can reference the painfully real struggle when Jan and Michael move in together...) But the truth is, everyone wants to feel like they belong in their house!
Try some simple compromises to give everyone a say. I'm working on a post that will detail how my husband and I deal with our wildly different styles, but here's a hint: listen and be ready for some give and take. Your spouse hates yellow? Ok, there are so many other colors in the rainbow! They want their collection of animal skulls on display? Maybe you can find an eclectic way to integrate!
Consider kids in your decorating scheme too! Matte and frame children's art and intersperse it with other pieces on your wall, display a trophy, let someone else choose a room color, or pick out some furniture. You may feel a sense of personal satisfaction when you open the door to a Pottery Barn showroom, but you don't want to create a home where the rest of the family feel like strangers. As much as you adore your white-on-cream-on-sand living room, you might feel something even better when you see the rest of the family loving the home you all share!
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#5. You're decorating with someone else in mind.
While it can be wonderful to get advice from family and friends when decorating or remodeling, it can be easy to be overwhelmed by other people's opinions. Maybe it's a picky mom, or an overly-critical friend, or maybe it's just the idea of company and concern for what others will think, but it's easy to lose your way when you start thinking about everyone else. You have to live in your home full-time. Visitors and guests will be with you some and the truth is, some people will love your style and some won't!
You need to make a home that suits the style and needs of your family. So if your mother-in-law disapproves when the formal dining room becomes a craft room, you may have to weigh the joy of your space with her frustration. Just be sure you're making choices for those that live IN the house! And don't worry too much about other people's reactions to your style. Everyone likes getting complimented and we may feel that warm glow when someone says how beautiful our foyer is, but if we count on the reactions of others to justify our choices we will have an unfulfilling, confusing, and even unhappy life. Are you thinking: I can't wait for people to see this antique-dresser-turned-statement-vanity or I can't wait to relax in my tub and stare at that gorgeous piece of furniture? It's ok to have a little of the former, but you want to have a whole, whole lot of the latter!
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