What’s holding you back?
This is such a rhetorical question, and I think when you start to unpack it for one area, it can open up what holds you back in another area, so let’s take a look at where you are with your home...sounds innocent enough, right?
I have worked with over 150 clients on large and small projects, and there is one common theme — It’s the thing that gets them to email me, call me, and happily pay me for help: That thing is fear.
Why we are afraid to make changes to our space
Across the board, everyone has the fear of making a a mistake that will cost money, fear that it won’t look good, fear that their partner won’t like it (or that broaching the topic will in and of itself cause a rift), fear of buying online, the list goes on. But why is it so scary? Isn’t it just cabinetry, pillows, paint color, or a few pieces of new furniture? Yes, and it does costs money, but there is much more to it. Running underneath all these fears is the fear of change. We are terrified of changing things, exchanging the familiar for the unknown, even if the familiar is no longer creating happiness or satisfying our needs and wants. Along with this attachment to the way things are is a reluctance to part with or change the objects around us that have memories and associations, which can also hold back change. Does any of this sound familiar?
Why it’s so hard to let go of our stuff - the object as link
Objects that we want to hold onto usually serve a very particular purpose - they have an association or serve as a ‘link’ to a person, place, or event. As a designer, I ask one more question — is it aesthetically pleasing? Does it contribute to the look and feel of the space you want to create? I know that may sound harsh or unsentimental to some of you, but I believe the objects and memories we surround ourselves with should honor the person, place or event AND honor our desire for beauty and functionality in our home. So, ask yourself if the things your are holding onto are doing BOTH. If not, here are a few ways to work some - not all - of your sentimental personal items into your new look:
Modify - Is there a photo you can beautifully frame or re-frame? an object that can be put under a glass cloche? Is the piece of furniture something you could paint in a glossy red or taupe? Or re-upholster in a more contemporary fabric? I believe we should joyfully use the things we inherit. Keeping it in use by putting your own imprint on it is a wonderful way to show respect to the past by bringing it into the present.
Pick one thing as your ‘link’ - Can you choose one of several objects that have the same association to give ‘pride of place’ in your home - a special corner or arrangement that has this item as the centerpiece?
Rotate: what was your grandmothers favorite season? What do YOU associate Summer with? Think about a rotating display that changes throughout the year.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about what holds you back, and any solutions you might have come up with that worked for you (just hit 'reply').
And, if you haven’t already heard, on Tuesday, December 6th I’m leading my Home Styling Workshop - Telling your Story with Art and Accessories here in Brooklyn. It’s a hands-on workshop that will teach you step-by-step how to create a cohesive, beautiful look in your home . I hope to see you there, and please let me know YOUR styling dilemma so I can include it in the evening's session -- you can contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.