A few weeks ago, we talked about the importance of making space for beauty in your life.
Today we’re going to zero in on making beauty a part of your home life.
I’m a big believer in the importance of home. I’ve always been a bit of a homebody. The feeling of “cozy” is my most favorite in the world.
I take great pleasure in the fact that as a culture, it seems we are beginning to recognize the importance of “home” again. It seems like for a while, anything outside the home: work, achievements, socializing, was somehow deemed more valuable.
The funny thing is that even I, a slow living enthusiast, have trouble remembering to bring beauty into my home.
As much as I love and value home-life, it can be all-too-easy to forget to take the time to live well.
Why? Well, because I’m practical. Because our lives, no matter how much we try to simplify, are still in a busy season. So survival mode can win the day sometimes.
But when survival mode wins the day too many days, that’s when I start to get depressed.
And I wonder if I’m operating in survival mode because that’s what we truly need at the time, or because that’s somehow become my new default position.
Listen, I get the need for survival mode sometimes. A new baby, illness, a busy season at work or school, or sometimes all of the above at the same time can render families unable to do anything more than hang on for dear life.
So please don’t misunderstand and think I mean if you’re unable to whip up made-from-scratch-pies and beautifully set tables every night you’re somehow failing at life.
I, like any other human being, have felt stretched to the max at times. I understand not being capable of anything beyond yoga pants and takeout at times.
Not bringing beauty into your life doesn’t make you a failure.
Rather, inviting beauty into your life actually feeds you and gives you strength to tackle the challenges in your life.
It reminds you that you are not a machine, but a human being with a soul worth recharging.
So the pursuit of beauty should actually make you feel less like a failure, instead of beating yourself up for not reaching pinterest-perfection.
The key to this, of course, is to check your heart. Make sure the things you’re bringing into your home actually feed YOU, and aren’t just what you think you need to have the “perfect” lifestyle.
I’ll give you an example:
A few autumns ago, I was in conversation with a woman at work. This woman was beautiful, well-dressed, and extremely put together. The sort that you are sure actually lives the Pinterest-perfect life.
In fact, I’m sure she does, because in this conversation she was lamenting the fact that she wasn’t living up to her standards.
It was October, and she hadn’t yet put pumpkins out on her porch.
Now, before you think, “cool story, bro,” let me tell you this:
This woman was actually stressed about the fact that she still had petunias in bowls instead of pumpkins and corn stalks.
She actually looked me seriously in the eye and said “I mean, I never do that.”
I don’t remember if these were her actual words or not, but it was as if she was saying “this isn’t me.”
She had put her identity in developing the perfect lifestyle. When life got busy and she “slipped” a little, her lifestyle became a source of stress for her, rather than something that brought her joy.
I could just see her manically driving to the nursery on her next day off and loading pumpkins into her car with a frenzy.
Instead, shouldn’t picking out pumpkins be fun and a little whimsical? After all, it’s certainly not a necessary thing. It’s a little thing you may choose to do to celebrate the season: to celebrate life.
After all, that’s what inviting beauty into your home is all about: celebrating life.
And that’s why making beauty a part of your home-life in particular is important: because home is where life happens.
Rather than being less valuable because it is not in the public eye, home is almost more valuable, in part because of it’s privacy.
This is where you exist with only those who are closest to you. The ones who see you at your sickest, your crabbiest, your least-put-together.
It’s not only where you hold holiday celebrations and family parties, it’s where you have late night heart-to-heart conversations. Where you hold your child’s head when they’re sick. Where you sing songs, read stories, and say prayers.
It might not be where you live the perfect lifestyle, but it’s where you live life,
And that is worth celebrating.
Behold: 8 ideas for how you can celebrate life and bring beauty into your home.
- Meal planning makes dinners a whole lot easier (I’m a big meal planner myself), but consider relaxing one night a week or month and having more of a “fun” meal. Invite your kids’ menu ideas, go shopping together for the ingredients, and delight together in the preparation of the meal. They will learn something and dinner won’t seem like such a chore!
- Instead of waiting for babysitters to be available, have a decadent date night at home after the kids are in bed. Use fresh ingredients, use the nice plates. Play music and enjoy the finer things at home in a relaxed environment. (Because honestly, meal times with kids aren’t always the most relaxed endeavors!)
- If you choose to bring home a souvenir when traveling, consider bringing home an artist print or objet d’art for your home, instead of the go-to tee shirt or cap. My parents have always done this, and their home is a jewel box of lovely things. Watercolor prints from Bermuda, a handmade silver bowl from North Carolina, wave-smoothed rocks from Lake Superior decorate their home, inviting reminiscence of family memories.
- Piggybacking off of the above, if you want to bring physical memories of your travels home, but don’t wish to spend money home, look for free mementos and display them proudly in your home: an interesting piece of driftwood, shells, ticket stubs, or maps. Remember, often it just takes attention to how an object is displayed to turn it into a work of art! In my home, I have seaglass I’ve collected from Lake Superior flirting with my jewelry in little glass dishes. The shimmering of the jewelry and the soft opalescence of the seaglass bouncing off the glass dishes gives me joy each time I see it.
- Words are just as beautiful as images (especially to a word nerd like me!) Choose an inspiring quote, a moving song lyric, or a favorite passage from a book and print it out or write in longhand. Whether you place it in a lovely frame or simply stick it to a door with washi tape, it can be a lovely reminder of the words you love.
- I long for a beautiful art collection, but let’s face it, art is expensive! Even prints can be hundreds of dollars sometimes. My sister solved this problem by looking through her Pinterest boards and printing off some of her favorite pieces at FedEx Office on quality paper. Bonus: this makes it easy to change up your collection often!
- Invite luxury into your home in the form of fresh flowers, sweet-smelling bathing supplies, candles, or fresh baked goods. The thing about luxurious items is they invite you to slow down and savor them. I’m far more likely to relax a little longer in the tub if I’m using body scrub from Lush-my favorite! Sometimes we need reminders to slow down and enjoy life, and little luxuries tend to encourage that.
- Embrace seasonal living. DON’T stress out if you don’t have pumpkins on the porch in October 🙂 Set yourself free to do this in a fun way. Go berry picking in summer and eat as many popsicles outside as you can manage. Take time to crunch the leaves beneath your step in fall. Embrace hibernation in the winter and attempt knitting something easy, just to get the cozy vibes. Go for a walk in the first spring rain, to enjoy precipitation that isn’t frozen for once. Find simple, restorative ways to celebrate the gifts each season brings.
Remember that inviting beauty is about celebrating life.
Your life. It doesn’t have to be complicated, perfect, or expensive.
Hopefully, you’ve gleaned some ideas on how to bring beauty into your life.
Today, I would love to know: which of these ideas would you like to try? How to you find ways to celebrate the big and small moments of your life? We are all on a journey to enjoy our lives to the fullest, so all ideas are welcome!