Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing posts with tips and questions to help you find your unique home style (and guidelines to shop accordingly.) The goal is not to go on a shopping spree when we’re finished. The goal is to make more thoughtful and resourceful decisions as you inevitably encounter opportunities to purchase “ingredients” for your home. We will work together to write our “home recipes”, and talk about how to go “grocery shopping” at thrift stores. We will talk about when to pay extra for a “restaurant” experience, and when to opt for the “grocery store”. We will explore examples of common “home style recipes” that can be tweaked to serve your family’s unique “dietary needs”.
This post is the second in a series about discovering your “home recipe”. If you missed the first post, I’d recommend reading it first before diving in to this one!
You can read the first post here.
Now that you’re all caught up, let’s get started!
Your home has a recipe (whether you know it or not!)
The way your home looks and functions is a representation of your unique home recipe, which is made up of your unique list of ingredients. When you’re cooking a meal, it is important that you use the right ingredients. You wouldn’t try to make banana bread without bananas, but you shouldn’t try to put bananas in a pasta dish. It wouldn’t turn out the way it should, and it wouldn’t taste good. The way your home looks and functions is no different.
I think a lot of women struggle to “find their style” because they’re cooking with the wrong ingredients, and they don’t know how to make an intentional shopping list.
Your home already has a style.
You might not feel like you know what your style is, but I promise you have one. You might not fit into a specific category (I know I sure don’t!), but your style is probably more obvious than you think! Think about your absolute favorite spaces in your home. What do you love about them? Are they full of family heirlooms? Are they uncluttered and minimal? Are they decked out in knick knacks and special treasures? Are they colorful? Neutral? Modern? Vintage? All of the above?
I’m going to suggest two steps that will help you define your unique home style.
1.Take inventory of what’s in your “pantry”
By “pantry” I really mean “home”, but I’m trying to roll with the food analogy. 🙂 What ingredients do you already have in your home? Do you have a lot of vintage furniture with character? Or do you lean more towards minimal and modern style? (P.S. My goal is to help you clarify your style and be more content with your home. We’re not going to dream up a recipe that will result in you going out and replacing everything you already own. That wouldn’t be wise, and I am willing to bet that it is absolutely unnecessary. You are, however, allowed to sell and get rid of things that you do not love that are taking up space in your home.)
Make a list of the ingredients you already have and love. Later, this list will help us determine what other ingredients we need to add to complete your recipe.
Here’s my list to help you see what I’m talking about. My family consists of me, my husband, and our dog. If you live by yourself or have kids, your list might include different things than mine. For example, if you have kids, their toys should be on your list.
Here’s a template for you to print and use if you’d like.
That’s my list! Now that I can clearly see the elements that make up my home and decor, it will be easier down the road to see what I might need to add or take away.
2. Think about what purpose you want your home to serve.
Before we can write our home recipes, we have to figure out what we’re trying to cook. Look at your list of ingredients.
Which ones are non-negotiable?
The couch that you don’t love but can’t afford to replace? Your kid’s toys? Your husband’s board game collection and TV in the living room? Your giant, colorful rug? Your favorite chair? These ingredients may or may not be your favorite, but they are essential. They’re the bread and butter of your home’s pantry.
I believe that your home should serve your family. If it is doing a good job of serving your family, you probably have a clear idea of what should be physically taking up space. If your home is not serving your family, we have some work to do. Your home is the place where you live. It doesn’t need to be perfectly styled like a magazine cover, but on the flip side I don’t believe that your home should be a place where you hoard and allow your “stuff” to reign.
Maybe you need to be more okay with your kid’s toys being scattered across the floor and the throw pillows never being perfectly fluffed. Maybe you need to let go a little.
Or maybe, you need to declutter and eliminate the excess “stuff” that isn’t serving your family or reflecting your style. Maybe you need to be a little more intentional about the way your home functions and looks.
Ultimately, I believe that the way your home feels and functions is more important than how it looks. But if how your home looks is keeping it from feeling and functioning the way you want it to, that’s an easy fix.
Decide how you want your home to feel, and the way it should look will become obvious.
Now think about the ingredients you absolutely love.
Maybe its the vintage art or the minimal furnishings. Whatever you already own and truly love will help you uncover your personal style. Like I said, these things might not fit neatly into a “design category” like minimal or vintage or boho, but they will help you create your own category.
My list stayed pretty much the same, but maybe you need to add or subtract a few ingredients.
Cross off anything that isn’t essential or that you don’t love. Keep the things that you love and that are non-negotiable.
This is your home recipe.
I’m willing to bet that your home doesn’t need extra stuff. If you’re like me, you’re probably the opposite.
Take another look at your list of necessary and favorite ingredients. This next step is going to involve a little “homework”. (Get it? Homework? Like you’re working on your home? Ok… I’m done…)
Here’s your “homework” to complete before we define your style and make our “grocery lists”. You might not feel like your style is clear yet, but I promise we will get there.
I want you to carve out an afternoon or an hour of time. This is an intimidating step, but I believe it is absolutely essential.
I want you to take your new home recipe, full of your non-negotiable ingredients and the ingredients that you love, and walk around your home. Now that you have a physical list of the ingredients that serve your home’s purpose and reflect what you love, you’ll be able to see what doesn’t belong on your list. You love neutral colors but you have a bunch of random brightly covered throw pillows? They don’t belong. You love simplicity and un-cluttered spaces, but you have a bunch of “decorative items” that you don’t love? They don’t belong.
The first step to figuring out your home style is not adding new things- but subtracting things that don’t belong.
Walk around your house and clear out the ingredients that don’t belong. Put them all on the dining room table or in a spare bedroom. This might be difficult if you’re not happy with a lot of big furniture items, but remember what we talked about earlier- some things are non-negotiables, and we can work with those things by being resourceful and intentional.
I want you to clear out the unnecessary decor and clutter that doesn’t serve your family or reflect what you love.
When you can clearly see what doesn’t belong, it’s easier to make room for the things that do belong. You’ll ideally be left with spaces that more clearly represent your style, and it will be easier to define your style when you’re only left with decor you truly love.
The next step is to sell, donate, or repurpose the things that don’t belong. Maybe some things need a simple coat of paint or a new pillow cover. Maybe some things are completely unnecessary and can go to Goodwill. I can’t make those decisions for you, but try to be responsible about discarding your excess stuff. Unless it is actually trash, there is probably someone out there that could benefit from your excess! Have a yard sale or take a trip to your local thrift store. Getting the excess out of your house will help your space take a deep breath.
That’s it for this week. Next week we will work on naming our recipes and creating “grocery lists” of decor and elements to keep on your horizon. I’d love to see your home recipe! You can follow me on Instagram for daily snapshots of life and home. Send me your home recipe on Instagram or through my contact form so I can share them in my next post!