When Jake and I moved into our house after getting married, I told him, “I will not live in a house that looks like a college dorm.”
Aside from being sick of the kind of décor I had had on my walls since high school, I really wanted to live in a place that felt like home. After graduating from college, I lived in three different apartments in two years. Things weren’t permanent, they weren’t inviting, and they definitely weren’t inspiring. When we got married and got the opportunity to rent what is right now the perfect house for us, I was determined to make this space into something I had yearned for for years.
Moving On and Moving Up
Most people are in transition in their early 20s. Between moving out, getting an education, starting a career, or any combination of those things, change touches pretty much everyone’s life when they’re just tipping over the edge of that dreaded chasm called adulting.
When I started college, I took a lot of my favorite, familiar décor and mixed it with some new things to make my dorm both a comfort and an acknowledgement of a new chapter. Did I do this consciously? No. But is that what happened? I think so, yes.
Think about it. Your space—your home, your bedroom, whatever your unique living situation may be—is a big part of your life. I know not everyone is into home décor and some people may not give much thought to what their space looks like, but at the end of the day, this space is where you will always spend, well, the end of your day. It’s going to have some effect on you, whether you’re aware of it or not.
I am definitely a person who feels affected by her surroundings. When I love my space, beautiful things happen. I make more, I feel more positive things more often, and I’m excited to start each day and comforted to end each night. For me, my space is my haven. So when my life changes, I want to make sure that I can shift that haven to cater to my new needs.
How I Crafted the Perfect Space for Me
I’m not suggesting that you drop hundreds of dollars on new décor every time you experience a life change. Though, if you have the luxury of doing that, that’s fantastic and you should do it if it brings you joy. What I am suggesting, and what I did, is to take a look at all the ways that you want your home to make you feel.
Yes, I designed my home around my feelings.
If you’re struggling to feel inspired by your space, think about your emotions. Is there any part of your mental health that could use some balancing out? Is there anything that’s going great that you want to encourage even more? Think of ways your space can do the work for you.
The three things I wanted my space to foster were comfort, creativity, and self-assurance. We were newly married, I was starting a new job in a new field, and I knew this job was going to take more creative energy than any I had had before. So I sought out things for my home that I felt would bring out these feelings.
This one is simple. I made sure our new couch was cozy, full of extra pillows, and definitely suitable for snuggling and watching things together. Our bed was the same story—we always have a plush bedspread and fluffy pillows for extra coziness while sleeping.
Other things that bring out comfort in our home:
Candles: Who doesn’t love a nice scent and some tranquil light?
Blankets: They are everywhere in our house. I think the only rooms that don’t have blankets in them are the bathrooms.
Cats: Of course they’re not part of our décor, but they add to the cozy ambiance.
To bring out creativity through our décor, I gave a lot of thought to color. Our living room is very colorful and has a lot of mixed patterns and textures because they make me feel alive! We rent our home, so we can’t paint, but I used this as an opportunity to put color into all of our decor accessories. Plus, I have a space dedicated to storing my yarns and a desk to sit at while I edit photos. Boom. Creativity enabled.
Other things that bring out creativity in our home:
Books: When I find the motivation to read them, books are very inspiring to me!
Windows: This may sound odd, but I love just looking out of our windows sometimes. I try to leave the curtains open when I can, and I also have curtains that let in a lot of natural light so I’m never really stuck in the dark.
Spices: The food you cook impacts your space too. I love food with lots of flavor, so that’s what I want my kitchen to be there for.
I’ve always liked being different. I don’t like blending in, and I wanted someone to be able to see that from my home. To create a space that felt uniquely me, I mixed various styles (some boho, some colonial, some rustic) and also displayed a lot of items with personal significance. For instance, we have items from our wedding day, a portrait that my grandmother painted of me, and a blanket that was handmade for me years ago.
Other items that bring out self-assurance in our home:
Photos of family and friends: What’s more unique to you than the people you love?
Framed calligraphy of our wedding vows: They’re also a helpful reminder of what kind of wife I want to be.
Greeting cards from recent birthdays, holidays or milestones: We generally keep these on display in our living room for a month or so after the event, just to encourage happy memories and feelings of love.
You Can Do It Too
If you’re really mindful of what you put in your space, you can make it inspiring. I’m not saying our house is perfect. There’s a lot of messy bits and some parts I wish that I could afford to overhaul, but I made the most of what I could work with. As a result, I find a lot of reprieve in my space, and it’s the perfect setting for me to think, make, write, and recharge.