Let’s get real for a moment, most of us have set unrealistic expectations of how our home “should” or “shouldn’t” look! So drop the word should, and put in “can” or “will”. I’m not the cleanest person on the planet, and I’m happy to admit – most of my clients AREN’T either! The trick is designing for real life. 

We see pictures online all the time that look perfect and effortless, but in reality – they aren’t effortless! Checkout Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, you’ll start to compare your life to someone else’s highlights. That’s the truth of the matter. So how do we reset those expectations and work with what we’ve got? 

Fist off, design with purpose & function in mind. I bet you, you’ll have a much cleaner home if you designed it in a way that made it easier to clean your house! You’d probably feel much happier if you had more functional kitchen storage that allowed you to get some items off your countertops! Designing for real life is critical. Our lives are changing daily, and our homes and offices can change with that! 

So what is staging? Staging is used in two ways, most likely you know the term from selling homes, but it’s also used on photoshoot day!.There are specific companies that install full service staging to sell home fasters & for a higher price. This really helps future buyers see a specific vision in the space. It’s much easier for many of us to envision what we can, or can’t do when a home is set up in a pristine way. That being said, it’s not actually all that conducive to how we actually live! We like comfort in our homes, soft sofas, cushy rugs, photos on the walls, and so on. We don’t always have fresh cut flowers and cookies in the oven! Remember that next time you see a staged home, or a staged photo! 

Many of the photos we see on social media are usually taken on the last day of the project and capture everything looking in “perfect” condition. The pillows look effortless, candles, books, and items put away carefully. It’s not reality. Two weeks later we might even see the home looking a bit messy, why? The designer or owner may not  have designed the space for everyday functional life! Imagine having a beautiful living room, but there was nowhere to store extra throw blankets, no bookshelf for personals & books, maybe a lamp that doesn’t produce all that much light. See where I’m going with this? Think about the way YOU live & admit it – we’re not all that clean, and that is OK! Let’s work together on designing spaces that meet our everyday needs and adjust in functional ways when we need them to! 

Understand your style of living, and I’m not talking about if you’re boho chic or mid-century modern taste! Think about how clean, or messy you are and work with it. Accept that you need to design around your existing habits and prepare to make new healthy ones! A space can influence our emotions & wellbeing, but it’s important you feel in control of those things at home. If you’re not a big cook, perhaps focus your energy on giving yourself extra refrigerator room for take-out, or more pantry storage for easy snacks. If you journal daily, create a space that encourages you to do so. Use space with purpose so that 5 years down the line you can create multiple functions in the same space without drastically changing the design. Reality is, you’re in control! 

Plan, plan some more, and then rethink the plan! I swear by this rule, it allows me to think of multiple scenarios for creative functional solutions to add into the design. We live in a 600 SqFt condo in the city, but it doesn’t feel closed in or small in any sense! I planned the space to change with our lives, a banquette functions as window seating, overflow lounge seating for guests, and it has storage underneath! Paired with an extendable dining table,  we open the bench and pull out some comfortable folding chairs, just like magic the space has instantly changed! There are other great examples of this, like murphy beds, fold out tables from walls, hidden ottomans, and so on. The trick here is you have choice & control over how you want to use the space at any given moment! 

Storage, storage, and more storage! I can design beautiful spaces, but at the end of the day – they need to actually work & meet my client’s needs. I won’t design a kitchen for a chef without ample storage, top line appliances, and the ability to change some elements over time as our lives change – right? The same goes for living rooms & bedrooms! We’re naturally creatures of habit, we like this type of security. Although, months and years go by, and we often want to “switch things up” – so planning for that, is really important! Design is not a stagnant element, it’s constantly shifting and changing with the user in new ways! The work isn’t done yet.

Do you understand the difference between reality and the photographs you see on social media? Photos can be deceiving, but what isn’t deceiving is function, flow, & more importantly thoughtful personalized design that meets your everyday needs! Life changes, everyday is different, and wherever you are should support that flexibility!