Real Life Design: Slow Progress is Still Progress

Let’s sit down and have a chat here, you and me. Grab your coffee and get comfy because it’s about to get real.

I know those design shows get your down about your own home and seeing your high school besties’ brand new renovation plastered across Facebook doesn’t help. It gives you design envy.

You start to get critical about your own home. You wish you could knock that wall down or gut that bathroom but you just can’t afford it right now. Yes, you’re going to save up for it, but God only knows how long that will take. It seems like every time you have some extra money stashed away that’s when life interferes–the water heater stops working or an unexpected bill comes in the mail.

You’re getting sick of daydreaming, planning, and pinning. You’re sick of feeling bored in your relationship with your home. Where’d the love go? Where’d the excitement go? (Yes, I’m still talking about your relationship with your house.)

It’s like you’ve given up. Your home has become your yoga pants and old t-shirt; something you’d never wear in public but a source of comfort. Of settling. Of accepting defeat.

Well chicky, it’s time to figure this shit out!

Let me tell you something: No, we can’t all afford to do fancy renovations or expensive upgrades all of the time BUT you can still make small changes and updates that can reignite the passion you have for your home.

Slow progress is still progress.

Newsflash: Sitting on your couch eating a bag of chips watching a Netflix marathon of Friends reruns and feeling bad about it isn’t helping anything, I promise. Well, it’s always good for a laugh but it doesn’t make those problems go away.

We live in a society that thrives on instant gratification.

I, too, am guilty of this. But do you know what instant gratification does to us? It makes us impatient. It makes us want. It makes us forget to be grateful for what we already have.

It’s time to shift our thinking towards gratitude.

So first things first, get off of your ass and grab a pen and paper or open your preferred note taking app on your phone (I like this one). Then, go room by room in your home and focus only on the things that you love about that space or that work well.

If you feel nothing but complete distaste for any space(s) in your home, then write a memory that brings you joy that happened in that room. Did your child take their first steps in there? Is that the space that first ignited your passion for design? Will that room eventually be for another family addition or an office space for your entrepreneurial journey?

The main focus needs to remain on the positive and what you’re grateful for in your home.

Now it’s time to take note of the small things you’ve already done to improve that space. Did you add additional shelving for more storage? Did you get rid of the hideous peach walls and paint it a soothing grey? Did you buy the perfect couch at the best price?

While doing this, it’s absolutely ok to keep a page of projects that pop into your mind while you’re in each space, however, don’t let those become the main focus. Once you write it down, release it and return your focus on what you’ve already accomplished. You can revisit these tasks later.

Celebrate the small wins and improvements. Remember that design, like us, is always changing and evolving. Forgive yourself for not committing the time to finishing a project and remind yourself that life is allowed to get in the way, especially if it’s to spend time with your family.

Just like in fitness, you shouldn’t compare your progress with someone else’s. Do you really want to be a body builder or do you just want to be healthier? Remember that in your home too: Are you really jealous of their recent bathroom reno with their dark burgundy walls that makes the room feel suffocating or do you just want to paint your bathroom? Paint the effing bathroom if so!

You will always feel like you could be doing more or that your house should look like it belongs in HGTV magazine. But that’s not real life. And that’s ok.

Slow progress is still progress!

Remember that list you made (without meaning to) focusing on improvements you could make to your spaces? When you’re in a spot where you really want to refresh a space but don’t have a ton of money, try to knock off some of the smaller tasks that you can afford at the time. We both know how much difference a fresh coat of paint can bring or how removing dated valances can let so much light into a room.

Do what you can when you can. Do not overextend yourself with time or finances. Love your home while you improve it. And when those feelings of design envy start to creep up, go back and read the pages you wrote about all of the things you love about your home.

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