While it's easy to get consumed by all the actions you want to take to physically improve your space, we want to take a moment to focus on bettering the way we think about our space. In short, we want to let go of the guilt we have over our home's imperfections.
To get you on your merry way toward home love, here are eight things to stop feeling guilty about:
Your best friend has a white picket fence and walls she can paint without needing to ask permission. You, meanwhile, are still sending off rent checks every month and crossing your fingers that the flatscreen you mounted in the wall won't mean saying goodbye to your deposit when you move out — if you ever move out. I get it; I've been there. While it seems like everyone you know is moving on to greener pastures, in reality, you're not alone. Home ownership rates are the lowest they've been since 1967. Instead of having home ownership envy, focus on all the perks of renting, like having a landlord to manage and pay for all maintenance.
Designs in Progress
When I moved into my current apartment, I discovered that all the living room furniture from my previous home was a complete mismatch in the new space. Financially unable to overhaul the entire room at once, I spent months redecorating, inching toward my vision one baby step at a time. Eventually the room reached a livable place, but for one old and dirty love seat. Ashamed of the incongruous furniture piece, I insisted on leaving a swatch of the fabric I was planning on (one day) reupholstering it in as a means of explanation. A year later, the swatch looked more ridiculous than explanatory. I finally removed it and owned the mismatched seat as it was.
Hacks and DIYs
Yes, it would be great to have real hardwood floors, but for now wood laminate will have to do. Make the best of what you have spending what you can afford, and don't apologize for it. An Ikea kitchen remodel, Craigslist bedroom set, or DIY bathroom tile job should be domestic badges of honor, not reason to feel inferior or ashamed. One of the best pieces of furniture in my house is a media console I found on the street corner, took home, and refinished, and I love to brag about how little ($30 in all!) the project cost.
There are numerous benefits to having live flora and fauna in the house — unfortunately, these benefits can only be reaped if the plant is kept alive. Despite successfully caring for a dog and baby, I have yet to keep a potted plant going for more than a month. Que sera, sera. Faux ferns it is for this black thumb.
A Visible Television
Televisions feel like an eyesore, but they're an unavoidable part of home life. As long as you haven't focused your entire living room around the screen, there's no need to feel guilty. If it's going to be in the room anyway, might as well accept it and be grateful today's models are sleeker and less aesthetically disruptive than the bulky tube models of yesteryear.
Some Dirt and Messiness
Your co-worker's home looks positively spotless in the background of the baby pic she posted on Instagram, but in reality, ruffled blankets, piles of toys, and dirty dishes were merely pushed out of the tiny square frame. Homes get dirty. It's an inevitable byproduct of living in them. Cleaning as you go is the best way to quell the chaos, but on any given day you could run out of time to make your bed or load the dishwasher. It happens, and it's OK — even if guests come over and see it. A little grime or clutter doesn't classify you as a slob, just as a human.
You moved in with big ideas for updating the bathroom and overhauling the kitchen — and then the property taxes increased and the plumbing went, along with your reno budget. You are not the ugly tiles on your kitchen backsplash, and no one is judging you for them. Eventually they will reflect your design aesthetic, but Rome wasn't built in a day and neither will your dream home. Stop fretting, and make the best of what you have right now.
Large and Beloved Collections
When you live in a small space, shelves flowing with books, rows of antique teacups, and racks of shoes take up valuable real estate. While it's always a good idea to sort through and clean out these collections regularly, don't feel bad for having them. Your home is defined by you — your interests and passions — and your collection is a part of this that you shouldn't give up entirely. Quite on the contrary, we recommend you display them with thought and gusto.