Letting Go of Perfectionism

Often, when I am called in to help my clients create beautiful home interiors, the motivation for change is coming from a desire to have a home that is suitable for guests: an environment that is both visually attractive and possessing a magnetic quality—to draw the people and the lifestyle that we want to us.

When our homes reflect who we really are, we create a path to the social and emotional connections we all long for.

For most of us that means designing interiors with a combination of several key qualities in mind—warm, inviting, relaxed, classic, and elegant. The exact feeling and tone is unique to each individual, but in general, at the core of each of us is a kind and loving heart, which we intuitively seek to have reflected in the spaces we inhabit.

A “perfectly” designed home is one that allows our guests—and us—to feel “at home;” to be who we truly are. However, sometimes people are so committed to the idea of creating the perfect home that they wait until it is “finished” before they are willing to invite people in.

I’ll tell you the truth: This was my story.

Before I became a professional interior designer, my house was always the place to be on the weekends or for an impromptu mid-week gathering, especially over a meal. I love community, fun, and cooking with family and friends. I especially enjoy the kind of connection that can only happen in a home, away from the distractions of public life.

Suddenly, when designing interiors became my profession, I found myself not inviting friends into my home as much, or at all. Now, I needed it to be perfect. This choice stifled my spirit beyond measure. My inner chef and social girl missed the fun of cooking and playing with friends in the atmosphere of my home, all because I chose to let my inner critic run the show.

The truth is our home interiors—like our spirits—are always evolving. As we grow and change, our expectations and tastes do as well, which means our homes may never be perfect. We’ll always be evolving ahead of what is around us, developing new desires, and seeking to fulfill our visions. So, if we wait for perfection, we’ll never feel satisfied or happy. It’s actually impossible.

My invitation to you is this: If you don’t have the resources or time to do everything right this red hot minute, just do what you can—and I can help. We can set up a design consult and develop a plan of action with incremental, do-able action steps.

And consider this possibility: No one is looking as closely or judgmentally at the details as you think—and if they are, that says more about their fears of their own imperfections. Having compassion towards others and ourselves for perfectionist fears is the best prescription I know of; showing up, being vulnerable and authentic, gives others permission to do the same.

Last year, at the holidays, I finally decided to hang up my perfection hat and throw a small party. It was liberating. Our home was energized by the company of friends, old and new.

Busting my inner perfectionist has been one of the more inspiring transitions I have made in my life. My landscaping still screams 70s stark and our windows still need replacing, but there is plenty of beauty to be enjoyed. At the heart of our home is a sincere commitment to be the hub of social connection and joyful experience.

I invite you to practice acceptance of your home right now: Fluff the sofa pillows (if they are poly-filled, let me help you replace them some down-feathered ones for comfort) and put out some flowers; ask people over and make a pot of soup!

And here’s the real secret: Letting go of perfectionism will enable your home to come together more easily and without as much effort. An appreciation for authenticity gives us the motivation and energy to pursue creating environments that are welcoming and orderly, at every stage in their—and our—evolution.

November 10th, 2011|Heart Talk|

4 Comments

  1. Tamar November 11, 2011 at 4:49 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the inspiring blog. I was touched by your honesty.

  2. Rachel February 21, 2012 at 11:47 am - Reply

    Love this post Laura. Your warmth and authenticity is what transforms your amazing aesthetic sensibilities and design talent into a true gift. Cheers!

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