Thoughts {from my heart} on Real-Life Decorating

I have some thoughts from my heart to share with you today about our homes and decorating. 
Sometimes I think we are our worst critics. Especially when our circumstances, resources, time, talents, or other things seem to keep us from doing all of the things that we want to, or feel like we should, be doing with our homes. Sometimes it is so easy to be so hard on ourselves when we don’t live up to all of our personal expectations, as unrealistic as they may be. 
After sharing my home tour over at City Farmhouse, which I re-shared here yesterday, that annoying little voice of self doubt crept its way into my mind. I kept thinking that I wish I had more things crossed off of my to-do list. I wished more of my projects and rooms were finished. I wished that my home looked more “perfect.” It was such an honor to be asked to share my home for her Style House of the month, and Jen was so sweet and kept saying how wonderful everything looked. But inside, I just felt a little inadequate compared to all of the amazing homes out there. 
Am I the only one that does this to myself?
I thought and thought and thought about it. I felt so nervous. I felt so disappointed. I felt like I failed. 
And then I stopped. 
I made myself stop.
I stopped telling myself that I wasn’t good enough. I stopped comparing myself and my home to others. I stopped being critical of all of my works in progress. Most importantly I made the CHOICE to stop.   
In an age of the “gotta have it right here, right now” attitude, only perpetuated by the never-ending loveliness of Pinterest, it is sooooo incredibly important to resist that voice with everything we have. It is a choice to resist it. 
Yes, my brain is always moving and I always have projects on my to-do list, but I can’t, and don’t, expect it to all be done by tomorrow.  My family is always my top priority, and I decorate as my time and budget allows. I get comments and emails all of the time along these lines, and I just want to reach out with a big hug to say, “No one is perfect! Not one of us has a perfect home or perfect life!” We all put one foot in front of the other and do the best we can. 
Here’s the thing. My philosophy is that a home should feel collected instead of decorated. I don’t want my home to look like a showroom. I want it to have far more character than that. And that will take me years to build. 
More than anything, I think it is so easy to get caught up with the way we want our homes to look, that we forget to be thankful for what we do have.
I am thankful for my millions of works in progress. I am thankful for the talents and abilities that I have been blessed with. I am thankful that I have the best, most kind and hard working husband in the world who supports me in everything I do. I am thankful that I get to stay home with my baby, and that I get to tickle her little toes and giggle with her at the doggy. I am thankful for a warm home that shelters my little family. I am thankful for the ability I have to love and care for others. 
I need to remember to replace each thought of self doubt, or dissatisfaction, with a thought of gratitude.
So, why are we so hard on ourselves anyway?
Let’s stop today. Let’s stop being so hard on ourselves. Let’s stop comparing ourselves and our homes to others. Let’s stop feeling what we have and what we do is inadequate. Not one of us lives a perfect life with perfect circumstances, and we all do the best we can. Let’s give ourselves a break. 
 Let’s make the choice to stop. And let’s help each other to stop. 
I have never met a more supportive or kind group of people than I have in my blogging journey. I am truly thankful for you and for the ways you help me to stop and be grateful.


  1. says

    You are so right! I have been decorating our home for 40+ years…and I’m not done! I think we live in such a world where people can have almost anything they want, right away, if they are willing to pay the price. Sometimes that price is getting in over our heads with debt because we cannot wait. My husband and I have counseled young couples for years about the wisdom of developing patience. Patience with each other, with things they desire, with their lives in general. It IS hard to see others who seem to have all they desire but everything DOES have a price. We are all given talents, abilities and history which with we have to accept and work within. Can we change our future? Yes, of course! And hard work can make a difference! I have been so impressed with the bloggers I have seen during the past (almost) two years! Young women (and some guys) who are willing to put in some effort and save a few dollars to make their homes beautiful!
    We do need to encourage each other, be happy FOR each other and cheer each other on! Nothing thrills me more than seeing someone learn a skill or make something they THOUGHT they had to buy! It’s very empowering!
    Great post!

  2. says

    Such a great post Kristen, it is hard reading other posts and wishing but you have to catch yourself and know to be grateful for what you do have and how wonderful it is! I’m thinking my home will never be done because I love to decorate!!!

  3. says

    Kristen – You are definitely wise beyond your years. You have so much common sense and your faith shines thru your posts. To be thankful for all of the things you have and not the things you want is very admirable for someone young as you.

    I think we all need to stop on a daily basis and thank our good Lord for all of the blessings we have. We just don’t realize how much we have to be thankful for. Seems we are always wanting something more.

    Thanks for an excellent post.

    You are a dear!!


  4. says

    This hits home with me. Before I was divorced, I had a beautiful home and blissful outdoor spaces. Now I have a tiny house and starting over. Sometimes I go to these blogs that look like they have everything and endless money to spend. I kind of hate seeing them buy, buy, buy, because I don’t think it is realistic for most of us, bloggers and readers alike. Let’s get real, folks. Please. I am tired of seeing your five figure renovations.

  5. says

    Absolutely! I think so many of us feel this way, Kristen. I question myself many times when I post pictures of our home. Especially if I’ve just come from a blog that showcased a beautiful home. I stop myself, too, because I decorate our home for how we live and what we like. It may not be to everyone’s taste, but it works for us. I think that is how everyone should look at it. Sometimes it’s a work in progress and sometimes this is just how it is.

  6. says

    Kristen, I think so many of us can identify with what you are feeling. It can be decorating overload out there, it’s just sifting through all of it and finding what we truly like and can afford. And I love how you would rather collect than decorate. So true for me, too!

    My daughter is getting married and they just bought a house. She seems to be in a race for time in decorating it and I so want her to slow down and enjoy the process…the progress. I should have her read your post! Thank you for your wise words.


  7. says

    I looked at your blog post right after I complained to my husband about how un-acomplished I feel especially compared to others…. I feel like i failed My looks, my brain, my blog, my children and if I had a house (had to move back home with mom…..) I am sure that would be a mess as well. Then I was reminded that I go through this at least once a month….. (Right after ovulation LOL) and my sweet husband reminded me how much he loved me and how beautiful and smart he thinks I am. My children don’t want to leave my side and when we get a house it will scream Solange because I decorate with things that I love and have meaning to me. It’s nice knowing that other women go through this problem as well and I am not an emotional roller coaster. It’s normal that we get down on ourselves, what’s important is that we pull ourselves back up quickly without hurting ourselves. Sending you (((((hugs)))) and I want you to know that you and your blog has inspired me welcomed me and invited me to be a better me. Occasionally I will feel a stinge of jelousy because I wish I could have a friend near me like you or have a house as nice as you but I quickly shake those feelings away.

  8. says

    This is so timely, Kristen. My friend and I sat and drank coffee all morning and were talking about our houses…how they are never really done…how we need to move to get around to finishing some of those projects that get put
    Then- we were talking about a distant relative that came into a HUGE sum of money. They have a gorgeous, custom built brand new house, professionally decorated with the best of everything. There is not one project left undone-there is not one surface undecorated. There IS NOT a single thing from their former life. NOT ONE piece to remind them of where they came from and what they used to love. We both decided that was pretty sad. If you don’t put any of your soul into your home it is not really yours in the end, is it?
    GREAT POST!!! Blessings- xo Diana

  9. says

    I ADORE you! Thank you for sharing this! I feel this way too, I think we all do the comparing thing, me included. But then I stop to also think about all the things life has blessed me with & it ALL fades away. I LOVED your “I am thankful for….” You are so incredibley talented, creative & kind. Your home is beautiful as are you! Jen @ City Farmhouse

  10. says

    Beautifully and sincerely written post plus so true! Blogging sometimes make me “force” something in my home when I should just take my time with it and enjoy my house. Your home looks beautiful and you are so talented! So thankful for you friend :)

  11. says

    Such a great and timely post! Having lost our dream home three years ago, and before that walking away from a beautiful home to get it, selling everything each time to make the next one happen, and now finally in our forties being home owners again and starting from scratch…. well I have been blog hopping and pulling pics from magazines and I get those same feelings you described… often. I post my own blog and have started sharing our baby steps renovations and decorating and when I post my photos, and get no replies or only a couple, again those feelings come rushing forward. I need to stop, as you did, and go back to it being about being so very happy and feeling blessed we have a home at all after all we have been through, and that we have even the small budget that we do to make improvements. So thank you!

  12. says

    Love it! Isn’t it freeing when you let your hair down so to speak and you are who you really are. We need to stop being so critical of ourselves and Thank God for all the tremendous blessings we here! That was awesome! Thank you!

  13. says

    Kristen I think you are so right. Since we moved into this new house last summer there are days that I look around and only see things unfinished. At the same time, I don’t want it to look like I went out and bought it all yesterday. Homes shouldn’t look like everything was just delivered. I love your philosophy!

  14. says

    Thank you Kristen for the wise words. It sums up how I want my home to look. We are getting ready to move back into a home after being on the road traveling in an RV for two years. I will be doing a lot of shopping at Goodwill & Salvation Army looking for “lived in” toss offs to claim and recreate as my own. We still have some of our furniture left but I’m going for the cozy cottage look. In the end, I want it to look like it was “collected” and not decorated. Thanks for the words that will stay in my head and guide my shopping.

  15. says

    Well, I thought your home was lovely and that your’e doing a FANTASTIC job of decorating it. It does take time…lots of it. I often feel the same way, though…like my home isn’t as good as someone else’s for whatever reason. We all do it…but like you, I stop myself and just relax and enjoy what I have and it gives me great peace. For the record, you’re far ahead of where I was at your age. I didn’t have a home of my own until I was in my 40’s and my kids were grown. :-(

  16. says

    Amen! Thank you so much for taking a risk, and sharing this, I think we all feel the same way. Especially as DIY’ers we are never really “done” and don’t want a “decorated” feel anyways. So it seems like a tour would be a moment for us to stop and share our progress. Thank you for being such a lovely person, hugs to you friend!

    xo, Tanya

  17. says

    This is such a great post…our homes grow and change as we grow and change, always evolving as we make them a place where we feel at home! I don’t want to live in another family’s house. And I love to see a home filled with love, laughter, and creativity…not perfectness!

  18. says

    Well said dear friend! I battle this mind set CONSTANTLY and need to stop. I try to remember that quote: ” Gratitude makes what we have enough”, but sometimes I just forget and get wrapped up in what I haven’t accomplished or don’t have. Thank you for putting it out there front and center that what we are/ have right now is enough! <3 <3<3

  19. says

    Beautifully written post. You should be very proud of your home and all of the love you put into every room. I love your blog and enjoy every post. You are so gifted and I thank you for sharing your talents with all of us.

  20. says

    The thought of YOU being embarrassed about your home is just inconceivable to me. Every time I see it I marvel. I think it may just be my sister’s dream house!! And not only do you have it so beautifully decorated, but it is even more special and amazing because you remade so many of the items yourself and put so much LOVE into it! I love reading thoughtful posts like this from my favorite bloggers, but you, my dear, have NOTHING to be worried about in this particular department! You told me yourself you’ve loved decorating and thrifting since you were little. It is truly a talent that God gave to you specifically!

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