We’ve all had the experience of visiting a friend’s house and oohing and ahhing over her kitchen remodel or new living room arrangement, only to have her say, “Thanks, but it’s really not finished yet!”
Home renovations and decorating can feel like a never-ending project. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the feeling that you will never truly be finished with your home. But here’s a secret you won’t hear on lots of home renovation websites—your home probably won’t ever feel completely finished. And that’s completely okay, we promise, because your home doesn’t have to be finished to be beautiful.
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It’s Okay for Your House to Be an Ongoing Project.
Our homes, like our lives, are works in progress. Instead of seeing your house as a project that has to be completed by a strict deadline, think of it as a living thing—a place that will grow and change around you as your family grows and changes.
As much as we want our homes to be complete and perfect, most people don’t have the resources to revamp every corner of them all at once. There may always be projects you’d still like to do, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the home you have now even as you continue to work on those things. You can love your home, even through its awkward teenage years.
Tackle One Project at a Time
It’s easy to feel discouraged when your project list is a mile long. Rather than thinking of all the things you have left to do as one giant list, try breaking your list into smaller, more manageable chunks. Then choose just one project at a time to focus on.
First, make lists based on priority. Make a list of the things that bother you the most about your home or your most urgent needs. These are things that need to happen within the next several months. Then make a list of your second-level priorities—things that aren’t urgent, but that need to happen in the next 6 months to a year. Finally, make a list of non-urgent projects that are either less important or are things that will require more planning and saving. This way you have all of your projects written down, but you can focus on the things that really need your time and attention at the moment instead of worrying about everything all at once.
You can also make a separate, smaller list of small projects that might only take an afternoon to complete. Then when you find yourself with a few free hours, you can tackle one thing from that smaller list instead of being overwhelmed by the giant one.
Let Go of Perfectionism
There’s nothing wrong with wanting your home to be beautiful and wanting your home improvement projects to be done the right way, but when you become too focused on every detail being perfect, you can miss out on enjoying the beautiful home right in front of you.
Remember that your home is not a museum. It’s the place where you share life with your family and friends. Think practically about how you want your home to look and how you need your home to function. Maybe you love the look of clean white furniture, but you have three sons and a Great Dane. This doesn’t mean you can’t have what you love, but it does mean that you might need to go with white slipcover that you can remove and wash as needed instead of buying that white living room set.
Being willing to compromise a little and letting go of perfectionism can actually help you enjoy your home more than holding onto an idea of a perfect home that feels impossible to achieve.
Let Your Home Change With You
Think about your childhood bedroom. Remember your Disney princess bedspread or your Matchbox car lamp? Now think about your bedroom as a teenager. Even if you slept in the same room throughout your childhood and adolescence, you made some changes as you grew. You traded in your Barbie playhouse for a stereo and covered your wallpaper with posters from your favorite bands.
Just like you wouldn’t expect a 16-year-old’s room to look the same as a 6-year-old’s room, you can’t expect your home to stay exactly the same forever. Your tastes will change, your family might grow, or you might use old rooms for new purposes. If you are looking at your home as a project you are trying to finish, it can feel frustrating to realize you no longer like the color of the kitchen or that you need to convert your studio into a room for your mother.
Give yourself the flexibility to keep changing things, even the things you thought were finished projects. Your home might never be truly finished, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be beautiful and vibrant each step of the way.