Smart Design With Suzette: Design Envy

Spiff up your home with a do it yourself project like painting furniture. Courtesy photo
Los Alamos

As someone who looks at a great deal of photos of beautifully designed homes every day, I know how the pangs of design cravings have the potential to overwhelm.

Despite the fact that we may be wishing for something different at home, that doesn’t mean we can’t also learn to love our homes just as they are today. Hardly anyone escapes home design envy.

Over time I have developed an arsenal of strategies to help cope with any feelings of my home being “less than” how I want it to look, especially what I see in my mind’s eye of the potential it has. But it takes time and money. If I won the lottery tomorrow, then I could turn my vision into an instant reality.

For now, I will love the home I’m in with all its quirky characteristics. Here are some ideas for gaining a new appreciation for your own beautiful, imperfect home.

Finding beauty in imperfection. Courtesy photo

Embrace wabi-sabi style. The wabi-sabi philosophy, which has its roots in Japan, finds beauty in imperfection and impermanence. For instance a thick slab of wood with an interesting crack running down the center is more highly valued than something flawless. Isn’t that refreshing?

Tune in to your feel-good factor. Forget, for a moment, everything you’ve heard about design and just answer this one question: What makes you feel good? What color instantly lifts your mood? What sort of artwork makes your heart sing? Instead of trying to live up to someone else’s ideal, allow yourself the luxury of choosing what you love.

Organize something small. When you are feeling dissatisfied with your home, try tackling a small, easily managed organizing project: a single desk drawer, say, or that jar of kitchen tools on the counter. Take every last item out, clean the area with soap and water, edit and remove what is not useful or well loved, and be mindful about what you replace.

Find beauty in the mundane. Sure, designer spaces are beautiful to look at. But that doesn’t mean your refrigerator, crammed full of snapshots and handmade magnets and postcards, isn’t beautiful too. Take a moment to be aware of the meaning behind the little “messes” strewn about your house. They are the sign of a life well lived.

A gratitude journal can help with design envy. Courtesy photo

Start a gratitude journal. Whether you use a notebook and pen or a digital tool, the important thing is to begin. Try starting or ending your day by recording three things you are grateful for around your house. It could be as basic as having a roof over your head or something more specific, like the way your garden looks through your kitchen window or the beautiful rug handed down from your parents.

Lighten up! Donate unused items to charity. Courtesy photo

Lighten your load. It seems counterintuitive, but giving something away can actually make you feel more abundant. Not only will making a donation to a charity make you feel better, but you will gain a feeling of lightness and space in your home. Start small, with a single box of books or a bag of clothes you don’t wear. If it helps you appreciate your home more, don’t stop there.

Tackle a home project you’ve always wanted to try. Nothing beats the feeling of satisfaction that comes from making something for your own home. Whether it is painting furniture or trying your hand at a DIY repair, there are tons of great home projects out there that cost next to nothing.

Use your space in a new way. I find that when I am craving a big change but can’t afford to go on a major shopping spree, it helps to move furniture. Change your living room arrangement, carve out space for a creative studio or home yoga practice, or swap two rooms entirely (dining room for living room, or den for study, for instance).

These strategies can help you appreciate your home for all it offers right now – let’s be grateful for what we have in this present moment.

Feel free to contact Los Alamos Interior Designer Suzette Fox to suggest specific design topics or for help with your home. For more information, find her on Facebook at and on her website