Breaking Out Is Hard to Do
One of the hardest things to do as a homeowner is to see your own home in a new light or in a way that is different to how you’ve lived in it in the past.
Interestingly, this phenomenon occurs not just with people who have lived in their home for some time. It also happens with new homeowners - albeit in a slightly different way. Many new homeowners try to recreate the look and feel of the home the Real Estate agent sold them. Clients ask if I can help them create the home that they bought ie the one that the previous owners, or owner’s stylist, designed. (Hat’s off to the owner/stylist by the way for presenting the home in such an appealing way!)
What's Wrong With My Room?
The problem with both of these situations is that it can really limit your ability to make the most of your home. A couple of examples:
Just because a room has always been a dining room doesn’t mean that this is the best use of the space for the way you want to live. It may be that it would make a great home office or kids’ play room and, for the amount of times you use the dining room, you might not even miss it!
The home that you bought may have looked fabulous when you bought it but it doesn’t mean that this is the best style for your family and the way you currently live. Remember, the best agents are looking to sell an aspirational lifestyle. And don’t forget – before the open house, the previous owners had just spent several hours cleaning, organising and hiding the ephemera of life to help create the appearance of that aspirational lifestyle!
Sometimes there is something niggly about your home that bothers you but you just can’t seem to put your finger on what it is. The solution could be as simple as removing a door that you never use to make a space feel more open or changing the door swing to create more usable space.
See Your Room In A New Light
So, how do you get out of your own way and see things in a new light? Well, hiring a decorator or designer is definitely one option. They can help you see beyond what is now to what is possible. It’s an advantage that designers have – we’re able to see your home afresh without any preconceived ideas about how it has, or should, look or function. They also have the experience to know what changes will make the biggest difference and how to make them happen.
And, Designers are not necessarily as expensive as you might imagine. Many offer one-off consultations and fixed fee design services which are well worth the investment. However, if this isn’t in your budget, there are other options.
One of the best ways to create your own “fresh eye” is to do just that - start fresh. Pick a room and clear it of all art, accessories and at least the small furniture pieces, if not the large. Open curtains or remove them all together. Then, walk through the room and into connecting spaces, taking notes as you go. Identify:
What is great about the room – is it the size, the light, storage, etc
How does it flow from other rooms – is there a natural rhythm, is it very separate, does it have sight lines from one space to another
What constraints does it have – does it lack natural light, is it small, can these constraints be an advantage?
Seeing the room empty can really open your eyes to how it can function and what the room needs. Use this information you’ve jotted down to do some “what if” analysis. What if this room was the guest room, what if the furniture faced the other direction, what if we used it for an office, etc.
Take the Slow Approach, Design-wise
Even if you decide that the purpose of the room is right, don’t jump straight back in. Experiment and edit as you replace your furniture and accessories. Try placing the sofa a different way. Consider leaving the window treatments off if privacy isn’t an issue. Think about placing your art in a different location. This is a great way to develop your eye and get comfortable with changing things up as you go.
Interiors don’t need to be stagnant. Just as we change and grow our interiors evolve and develop over time. Embrace it and have fun with it – you should smile every time you open your door.