4 Reasons Your Home Is Giving You Anxiety — and How to Fix Them
When wanting to design a welcoming family home, we often look for outside inspiration: magazines, Pinterest, and social media. But interior designer Jessica McClendon, founder of Glamour Nest, does things differently. She looks deep inside her clients, putting their emotional needs first and foremost in every design she does.
Jessica explained, "The truth is, we don't just decorate to have a beautiful home. While it's a nice side effect, the need comes from a much deeper desire to share life and ourselves with the people we love. That's why if you attempt to follow the latest decorating trends simply because it's what everyone else is doing, you won't truly be happy with the result. Will it look pretty? Totally. But if your emotional needs are not being met, it won't feel like a home."
If Jessica's words are setting off alarms in your head as to why your home just doesn't put you at ease despite all the beautiful decor you've filled it with, read on. Ahead, Jessica explains common reasons your home may be giving you anxiety and how to fix them.
The Problem: Ignoring Kids' Clutter
Kids have tons of stuff. While it would ideally stay in its designated areas, it doesn't. It gets everywhere. You could let the clutter torment you, getting in constant yelling matches over its mysterious migration from the playroom to the kitchen — or you could put solutions in place to organize it where it lies. Jessica explained, "If you can keep clutter at bay and make activities more efficient, you'll feel happier because you have more time to spend enjoying your home."
Jessica says this starts with noticing how you really live — not how you wish you lived. "Does your family room floor always end up covered in toys? If so, what can you do to make cleanup easier? Do your kids' art supplies end up all over the kitchen island? If so, how can you make it easy to access, but also easy to put away?"
Don't get stuck in convention, There are no right or wrong answers here, Jessica reminds us. It's about finding what is best and easiest for your family. "What works for someone else might not work for you and vice versa. So feel free to keep art supplies in your kitchen, or have a speaker that plays songs while your children pick up toys off the floor, if that's the solution that works best."
Problem: Not Accommodating Daily Habits and Chores
If you put off doing the laundry until someone runs out of clean underpants, can't get a grip on the overflowing tower of mail in the entryway, or delay paying the bills until the last second, then odds are your design is making these unpleasant chores even harder to accomplish. It may sound crazy to say that interior design can impact your ability to get unpleasant household tasks done, but Jessica says it absolutely can.
"Design your space in a way that makes those mundane activities more efficient. Getting things done easier and quicker is definitely a way to make them more enjoyable." And when you're able to do something easily and right away, you're more likely to do it period.
So how can you go about doing this? Jessica says the first step is to pay attention to your normal home habits and routines. Once you recognize what they are, you can arrange your home around how you naturally do things rather than trying to change your habits to fit some impractical organization plan you'll never stick to, even if that impractical plan is Pinterest-level pretty. "Trying to change an ingrained habit hardly ever works!"
The next step is to examine the reasons you hate a certain activity, and then find easy ways to address those reasons. "For example, do you hate doing laundry because the laundry room feels dark? Invest in more lighting sources or a skylight to brighten up the space," Jessica explained. "Maybe you're simply bored when folding clothes. The answer could be as simple as adding a small TV or purchasing an iPad stand to watch Fixer Upper. Having a better attitude not only makes these tasks more fun, it does wonders for your attitude, which affects the energy in your whole home!"
The Problem: Using the Space Conventionally
There's no rule that you have to use each room as it was designated on the architect's blueprints, yet too often we don't think to do anything different. Jessica says this is a big mistake.
"Think outside of the box and break the rules when it comes to how you use rooms! If you don't throw fancy dinner parties (like me), then why have a dining room?" Jessica questioned. Every room in your home is valuable real estate, and you should be using it to help you fulfill your life's intention. Jessica elaborates, if you want to have more quality time with your teen, get him or her to spend more time at home with you by turning the dining room into a teen-friendly lounge. Or if you're passionate about art, repurpose part or all of the formal dining room you rarely use into an art studio.
The space-use possibilities are endless, so Jessica recommends taking some time to determine what your emotional needs are and then evaluate how you can use your space to best serve them.
Problem: Designing For the Fantasy Version of You
If you've designed a home to what you thought would be perfection but it's still not quite right, it could be because you built it for the person you want to be rather than who you actually are. "Sometimes we can let a fake fantasy version of ourselves take over."
Jessica gives herself as an example: She loved the image of herself as Martha Stewart throwing elaborate five-course dinner parties in a formal dining room. However, she explained, "when I search my heart and get really honest with myself, that image feels empty because it's not really coming from my life's intention to be a good friend. It's coming more from my superficial desire to be someone else's version of fabulous."
Even if Jessica designed the formal dining room of her dreams, she probably wouldn't invite anyone over because she doesn't actually want to cook a huge meal and create ornate tablescapes. "Instead of being a source of joy, that formal dining room would just be a constant reminder that I'm not Martha Stewart."
You can avoid this by reflecting on what Jessica describes as "the truest version of yourself and not just the lofty, idealized version." She explained, "I always remind my clients and students that we must have discernment when expressing our emotional needs, because sometimes we can let a fake fantasy version of ourselves take over. We must be 100 percent authentic and honest with ourselves so our homes can reflect our truest selves. Otherwise, we'll create homes that do more harm than good."
One way to get in touch with this truest self is to journal. Jessica recommends a stream of consciousness in which you ask yourself the following questions: What do I want and crave in life? Who do I want to be? How do I want to give to the people in my life? How do I show love to the people in my life? How do I want to feel in a space and why? What do I wish I had more of? When you're done, highlight what resonates with you.