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Everyone Deserves A Lovely Home {but how we get there is up to us}

by | Feb 25, 2011 | Authentic Living, Decorating Inspiration

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Everyone Deserves A Lovely Home {but how we get there is up to us}My old house….lovely lanterns, cobwebs and all.

There are endless discussions and advice around blogland and in magazines for what makes a lovely home — and how to go about creating one for yourself. You can get decorating advice on one blog that seems amazing, and then head on to another one and be completely confused again about what you like. There are so many options! And so many distractions. It can be overwhelming.

But when it comes right down to it, how we decorate our homes is up to us. There is no one “right way” to do it. We have to find our own path to a home we love.

Even if “everyone” is doing something it doesn’t mean we have to copy it. And just because “everyone” is doing something doesn’t mean we CAN’T do our own version. We can be as conformist or original or as trendy as we like. We get to decide!

What might be an overly staged and decorated look for one person is an artistic and creative home to another. What is full of character for some people might seem old and outdated to others. What is sterile and boring might be clean and fresh to another.  And what is lively and modern to one might be garish or trendy to another.

How we get there, to that “lovely home,” is a personal endeavor. It is easy to misunderstand or even envy the style of someone who is in a different place in life, has different goals or insights, or appreciates beauty in things others do not.

We are all on our own path to create beauty at home. Even if we are confident in our style, we still all still long for acceptance, for a thumbs up, for a great compliment. If you are a blogger, it is easy to judge yourself based on how many “likes” you got or fans you have or where your ideas have been featured or how many comments you got.

It is hard to see other people getting a bazillion raving comments on a project that may or may not be deserving, and then you wonder why no one cares that you just poured your heart and soul into your space and only heard a few crickets in response!

Of course, many of us struggle at least a little, wondering if our choices are truly what we love or would do under non-blogging circumstances, or are they influenced by what every one else has or how popular the idea might be in blogland! And it is easy to second guess yourself or what you do if your idea won’t be winning the popularity contest.

But in real life, most people don’t judge their decorating choices based on how popular it is online. Blogland makes people a little crazy sometimes. We can lose sight of what matters.

We all grow and evolve as we get older. We might have regrets or lessons learned. We can start to find our rhythm and what works for us. We can hopefully find confidence in who we have become.

We need to give ourselves and each other room to grow, to experiment, to fail, to learn and room to be ourselves no matter where we are on our “home journey” — whether we are followers or creative trailblazers, blog writers or blog readers — we all are looking for our own style and way of living that works for us. We all deserve a lovely home, but how we get there is up to us!

Enjoy the links in this post, and when you are done with these, you can find my weekly round up on my Inspiring Finds page!


  1. Becky K.

    Amen, Melissa! Beautifully said.
    I walked into my living room yesterday and just had to smile.
    It makes me happy. It won’t win any ribbons or awards but the color and the things that are in it have meaning. And that is just the way I like it!

  2. Kathy Roloff

    Another example of why I go to your blog first. Your sensibility and acceptance of other points of view have cut through the fog. Too often we find ourselves in a kind of competition where creativity should reign. Life is competitive enough without subjecting ourselves to judgement from others when we should make ourselves and our family happy. Thank you for another thoughtful essay.

  3. Shelley

    This is just another reason why we all love your blog so much! I agree that we should enjoy what we have. There is too much pressure in the world to be perfect and obtain so many things…
    On the other hand, because of blogging and reading other blogs, I have gotten motivated to start some projects that I have been putting off for awhile. Seeing so many beautiful things online can be motivating for me. I usually don’t get caught up in what is trendy but try to find my own style – especially since once I change something, my husband expects it to stay that way FOREVER!
    Great post to get us all thinking…

  4. Paula

    I’m with you on this and also echo what Becky had to say (above), my home won’t win any awards but it reflects our taste and lifestyle. We definitely get inspiration from outside sources and sometimes a needed kick in the pants to make some changes. We also get the courage to make these change because you don’t feel alone and because you know, especially with blogs, that there is a group out there ready to support you with any decorating question. Does your home make you feel comforted, do you feel good when you finally get home…if so then your decor must be on track!

  5. Lisa

    Here! Here! on the above comments – exactly why I love The Inspired Room and your writing, Melissa – you inspire everyone to be themselves!

  6. paige

    i love how you worded this post. i think so many of us strive to create a beautiful comfortable home for our loved ones yet i know i feel intimidated by those who seem to have the newest or the nicest “things”.
    over the last several years i have intentionally changed my decorating style in a dramatic ( to me anyway) way. i was a former clutter , save everything, love every style decorator. i used lots of color.
    i found that to be overwhelming & over stimulating . i have changed how i shop, changed my colors to a calm neutral palatte ( which i’m certain would be boring to many) and i feel sooooooooooooooooooo much more at peace in my own home.
    i’m off to read some of the links you posted.


  7. Heidi Milton

    Well said, Melissa! I’ve been following all the dialogue on this subject over the last week or so and love that the conversation is encouraging us all to “do our own thing.” Our homes are sacred spaces where we raise our families, create and preserve memories, and weave our lives together. Each one is unique but no less special than the next. Happy thoughts for the weekend. :) Hope yours is blessed.

  8. Darlene R.

    great post!! I think you hit the nail on the head!

  9. Gwen

    Thank you Melissa. What a beautiful posting! You both inspire and give confidence. Blessings to you.

  10. FairfieldHouse


    Another well thought and written post. There are so many beautiful homes (rooms) featured on shelter blogs it is easy to get overwhelmed and want it all. When designing our homes it’s wonderful that there is so much inspiration to draw from out there but we must look inward and discover the difference of what we like and what we love; what is functional with our lifestyle. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

    Your Friend,

  11. Kathysue

    Bravo Melissa, this is exactly the message I tried to relay to my clients for years. I use to say,I go home to the home I love that makes me smile. I want to leave you with the home YOU will love. It is all so personal and subjective, Isn’t it?
    I think this is a hard time of year to get our mojo back as they say. I did a post last week on this time of year. I called it,” the In-Betweens” here is the link if you would like to read it. I think so many struggle with the who am I, what do I want, what should I do, this time of year. Thank you for always writing such thoughtfully written post. KS

  12. Becky

    AMEN! I think one of the greatest blessings of entering blogland has been to see that there are people like me out there. People who aren’t bound to the latest-greatest, but have a passion for making their home a sanctuary for their family.
    You’ve said it so well as always, Melissa.
    Thanks for ALL your inspiration!

    • Melissa

      Thank you Becky, it is wonderful to find others who can appreciate uniqueness and celebrate each others creativity!

  13. maggie

    Ack! I hit a key and my comment went out into the atmosphere!
    Anyway, I just wanted to say that I found your post very insightful. What would the world be like if we all were exactly the same?

  14. Kim

    This is a great post and much needed!!! I can easily fall into the trap(s) that you mentioned. There are so many beautiful and unique styles out there – working towards what works for our family!

    Thanks again!!

  15. Jo

    Well said! It has taken me a while to figure out what I want, decor-wise. Want to know how I did it? I thought back to my teenage bedroom.

    It had neutral cream walls (rented apartment) and neutral cream bedding. I had zero money, so I decorated with what I had, which was stuff I loved. Empty chippy picture frames, a spotty vintage mirror, flowers (dried alfalfa…smells heavenly!). My mom’s antique gate-leg table, an old painted cabinet, and a wooden bookshelf for furniture.

    All this made me realise that I am not a modern ikea, home outfitters, etc decorator. I like old, chippy, neutral, meaningful. I kind of forgot that when I was setting up my home for the first time at age 19.

    Hmm…I think I may have to turn this comment into a post.

    • Melissa

      That is so funny, I think I wrote a post or at least mentioned one of my teen age bedrooms and when I think back to that room, it had bright apple green and navy with white polka dots! I loved color and whimsy. I still do, even though it manifests itself in new ways, I still have apple green chairs and I’ve been craving a polka dot fabric lately ;-) Can’t wait to ready your post!

      • Jo

        Ooh, apple green is a lovely colour! That’s the colour I wanted to paint my front door, but my husband wasn’t sold on the idea, because our siding is light blue. I think it would have looked great. But it’s dark blue now, which I love too.

  16. Fiona's Mosaic

    Excellent post Melissa! And not just about decorating, but LIFE! Can we be brave enough to do what we love or feel called to do, regardless of what the “norm” is, or what others (society) think we should do.

    Good food for thought sista! Well done!

  17. stephany

    My thoughts exactly! That is why I named my blog “home is…what you make it”.
    I am an interior designer, but even if I go into a space to work with a client it should always be about the home that they want to make, not the home that I want to make for them!

  18. Anna

    Great post! I love that I’m seeing things like this pop up lately… definitely good advice :) There are so many fabulous styles, and sometimes it can be overwhelming with all the distractions, to zero into what makes you tick — not just what makes you smile.

    Have a great weekend!

  19. Marilyn Holeman

    “What is full of character for some people might seem old and outdated to others.” Yes, very true! My bedroom is a cottagy garden style. I love it! But I’m sure others would think it old and outdated. It was so fun, when my daughter came to visit, and she said, “This looks like a picture in a magazine!” But the important thing is that I love it, and it doesn’t matter what others think. They don’t live here! Thanks for your lovely and thought-provoking blog, Melissa. Blessings!

    • Melissa

      Thank you Marilyn. I so enjoy having the camaraderie of other like-minded women!! You all bless me so much!

  20. Valarie

    I could not agree more! We just moved into a new home and I’m working really hard on making sure I decorate it in a way that makes us all feel happy and at home here…not according to trends and magazines. That said, I do love finding ideas and inspiration in blogs like yours, and in magazines. It’s a tough balancing act, but so worth it! I actually launched a blog this week documenting the process and if you have time I would LOVE your thoughts! Your blog is such an amazing resource, so thank you!

  21. teresa

    This was so well stated that I’m filing this post away….exact thoughts that have been floating around in my head….you just say it better.
    Thanks so much. My heart & head feel much better because of your words…
    {I want to follow my heart when it comes to design, but sometimes my head thinks too much about all the design styles and how too’s etc. out there, that I’m left doubting myself.}
    You are awesome!
    Happy day

  22. Barb

    Thanks for this. Really good. I also live in the PNW. I have always wanted to tell you how amazing your Portland kitchen was. Wow. That was talent!

    Also thanks for the Little Green Notebook. I moved from my dream house in the SW back “home” to the PNW. Never have felt so sad in my life. I miss AZ like crazy and I’ve been back “home” for 7 years.

    Little Green Notebook blog was all about exactly what I am going through now…but I want to use Ikat. Want to know something funny? The great designer we are using here doesn’t even know what Ikat is! When I showed her at the Seattle Design Center she made a face. LOL… She has all kinds of credentials but is totally not into the looks I like. No way would my house go with her style. So you say, why are you using her? No choice….she came with the design/build firm that is remodeling our house. Ugh. Not fun & it should be. It should be fun. She may be the designer but no way is she going to decorate this place. That makes it even harder. I know I can do it and I will.

    Oh and for all of you that think, if I could only hire a designer/decorator? I have had 2 bad experiences so far. You can do it.

    I say, enjoy your home for YOU and I do think we ARE overexposed on design, too. Who are we out to impress anyway? The design police? Someone in cyber space?

    Sorry for the rant. I really only wanted to say, here, here! And also, if you like top hats or fencing masks on stands, by all means use them! LOL

  23. Patsy

    Thanks so much for these articles. I hope people will begin trusting their eye and their instinct and stop following the fade designer’s giving out really bad decorating advice in their quest to make a name for themselves. I have a name for them, but I won’t post it here. LOL Thanks again.

  24. carol

    Kathysue sent me to you, specifically to this post. I absolutely love it and agree with everything you’ve said, really. I am so glad she sent me the link to this post as I’m glad to have found you and am looking forward to going through and reading your past stuff. So well said!

  25. Leslie Lewis

    Thanks, Melissa, for always being so authentic and helpful! This post was very encouraging to me.

  26. Coasting anon

    Great post…I wrote about this very same thing over at the FLOR blog earlier this week (which means I actually wrote about it 2 weeks ago :) I was inspired by attempting to back cookies with my son who is 19 months old and failing to have the quintessential mommy blogger experience. You can read the FLOR post here if you’re interested…it references the post over at my personal blog as well:

  27. Pam

    This post is so well written! I have been reading blogs for a couple of years and just started my own. I’ve been reluctant to post on some of my spaces, because even though I love the rooms, they aren’t the same as so many in the blogging community. I need to get over it and just post and know that my decorating style makes my family comfortable and if it’s not someone else’s style, that’s fine.

    Thanks so much for sharing. You made my day!


  28. Jamie

    So “well-said!”
    Loved this post…

  29. Roxanna

    Yes, well said. My design style can be all over the place. I will shop & bring home something & find it does not work the way I thought it may. So back to the store it goes, I keep nothing that I just do not love. Now thrifting is another story, before I pick that piece up I ask myself “where will you go”, if I can not think of a place immediately I put it down. I live in a small home so there is no room to store something for “someday”. People who have been in my home in the fall/winter months, then visit again in the spring/fall get a big surprise. Nothing is the same but the furniture, my color scheme changes completely. I see trends I like & think where can I incorporate that. For example, I love burlap, so what room can I add this to. Oh yes, my black & white toile office/guest bedroom. I purchased a toile & burlap pillow from etsy, revamped the memory board by hanging the board with burlap strips & making a burlap rossette. Revamped picture frames with burlap mats so I got my burlap & the room is darling. I am not a designor, so there are no clents to please, I just decorate for me.

  30. Cyndi

    Hi Melissa… I LOVE reading your blogs! You have an AMAZING home & you have a special eye for designs. Everything that you have posted, looks like a picture out of a Home & Garden Magazine. I really like your lantern it’s very cute… I’d like to get something similar for my house. Take care and hope you have a wonderful Sunday!


  31. Minnesotamom

    You could almost end that post with “Case closed!”

    Every person has different taste, and we are each allowed to decorate our homes as we like. Very well-put.

  32. Susan

    I’ve been blogging for a number of years, but it’s mostly been about my hobby (cross stitching). It’s only recently that I’ve created a home decorating blog, to record my progress in decorating my new home. I am on a very limited budget, so it’s a slow work in progress, and I can’t possible “compete” with those that have unlimited resources, but I love going home every day, and get pleasure from walking into the house that I’m creating with my family.

    Thanks for posting this!

  33. Erica

    Love this post! People used to come in my home and had all kinds of opinions about the decor. Just as you point out, I enjoy my surroundings and no longer am “bugged” about what others think. I have my own style and am proud of it!

  34. MarieRoxanne

    I know this post is old but you had it in your gallery and I love your thoughts because I feel those same thoughts myself. My mom and some relatives are strict on what they think a house should be and I have conformed until now, (Of course, the past residences I have lived in were all rentals and one co-owned with my mom) Now I have my own place to call my own, and let’s just say, I am ready to “play”!

    • Melissa

      Yay! Thanks MarieRoxanne! Have fun! :-)

  35. Melissa Berg

    Where are the outdoor lanterns supplied from in your opening photo? They are exactly what I am looking for for our new home!

    • Nicole crowley

      Where are your lanterns from!?


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