In last week’s posts, I asked you to consider how you feel about your current home environment. In particular, I asked you to think about what might not be working. This week I’d like to talk about defining your vision for your home. This is about dreaming, about thinking big! Surprisingly, most of us hold ourselves back a bit. We start editing before we even begin.
It’s important to edit, of course. It’s important to think seriously about time, planned investment, what is practical, and so on. But that isn’t the first thing to think about. I had a friend who was contemplating a move from the midwest to New York. One of the first questions out of his mouth was, “but where will I park my car?” It’s a great question, and one that you need to deal with eventually, but is that really the first question? (Suffice to say, he figured it out once he committed to the move, and is very happy with the life change.)
We often jump instinctively to a mindset of “what’s wrong with this idea?” We likely do this subconsciously to protect ourselves from future difficulties or disappointment. But unfortunately that mindset also snuffs out many good ideas before they’ve had a chance to see the light of day.
That’s why I recommend trying to identify that well-intentioned, self-preservational inner voice (the naysayer), and giving it a time out during this initial ideation process.
This isn’t just a question of gifting yourself with nice objects and a well appointed space. It goes deeper. This is you telling yourself that you’re worth it. You’re telling yourself that you don’t have to wait for some indeterminate milestone down the road to take your desires and passions seriously. We may achieve a great deal in our professional lives, and yet not apply the same sense of confidence and purpose to our personal endeavors..
So when you think about what you want in your home design, I recommend that you spend some of your time thinking about the things that you have dismissed as bad ideas. Because these so-called bad ideas may be the same ones that you can’t quite shake off — an unconventional color scheme, a superb kitchen, a bidet, a dance studio, a workshop, an observatory. If your mind keeps going there, it’s going there for a reason. Give those ideas a chance to breathe.
You may not know how to pull some of the bigger concepts off . . . yet. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t entertain them. You may discover an elegant solution to something that at first feels like a pipe dream, so don’t edit yourself at this early stage. No one has to see what you write down. This is for your eyes only right now. If, down the road, you still think it’s a bad idea, at least you allowed yourself to seriously entertain the concept before you decided against it.
I would also suggest that you take the time to analyze why you think something might not be a good idea. What messaging are you unconsciously internalizing? Do you worry that your idea is too indulgent? Too girly, casual, minimalist, Baroque? Too purple? Who will you disappoint if you design how you really want? The truth is, you can’t predict what others will like, and designing for a hypothetical audience can have the unfortunate side effect of watering down your best ideas. It’s the same curse that has befallen many projects designed by committees. Best to kick those imagined voices out of the room and trust your own voice.
Give yourself permission to dream.