Home » Home design » real estate staging » A home that reflects you, not a magazine

A home that reflects you, not a magazine

Sometimes I get tired of all of the rules, schmules with decorating, do you? I sometimes wonder if people make up these things just to sound impressive. I understand some of them, and how they don’t always fit into high-end show-house homes, but not for the rest of us that actually have to live. You should be in a home that reflects you and your lifestyle.

Build a home that relects you and not a magazine

I read an article by a very well-known designer that said rugs around the toilet were the worst offense ever. I do have counter-point for that.  I grew up in a home with brothers. You know what’s grosser? Pee-stained grout that never comes clean, because anyone who has grown up with brothers (or sons) knows that they seldom worry themselves about direct aim. I say if you have little boys, and a rug around the toilet has to take the brunt of the punishment to save your grout. Go for it. Because that’s real life right? Or, having every home in your house look like it came from a magazine. I love these people who show their teenagers room looking like they just came out of a Restoration Hardware catalog, and it’s filled with art and fancy bedding. Do you know what my teenagers room is filled with? Old food bowls, ripped paper, and unwashed laundry. No RH here, just real life. When I complained about it,My mother-in-law once told me, “Sweetheart, that’s why God made doors.”

Empty bedroom

It’s these kinds of rules, and ideas that make people feel bad about themselves, and decorating  and your home should never make you feel bad about yourself. It should make you happy. Your home should be a place when you look around, you love what you see. Every day. It’s hard with social media to not feel less-than, but please keep in mind, people who are in magazines and bloggers try very, very hard. It’s how they make money, it’s how they promote their business. It’s their job to not show you dirty underwear on the floor and socks under the couch.

Everyone can’t afford to put high end items in their homes, and you should also never feel less-than because you can’t afford a $600 coffee table, or if everything doesn’t match.  I stage homes all of the time that don’t have expensive items, or things that seem to go together, but once you move things a bit, it becomes a lovely space. It’s all about how it’s put together. We can’t live in perfect homes, but they can be perfect for us. I love how The Nester say it. “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.” And, she’s totally right (#myhero).

House staging, always try to set up zones in your home

Picture used with permission of Baird and Warner

 So, love what you see when you look around. Know that it’s OKAY if you don’t follow the decorating rules. It’s a part of being in a home that reflects you and your families lifestyle. And for heaven’s sake, just stop complaining and shut the door.

Are there decorating rules you’ve found that you think are just ridiculous? Share them in the comments!

Build a home that reflects you and not a magazine. It's very hard with social media to not compare.


  1. I’m probably a weird mom/decorator because I believe kids rooms should be decorated by/for them. I see so many especially on blogs that look like the rest of the grown up house – not a kid’s special place; makes me sad. And I too have spent YEARS with all the bedroom doors closed!

  2. Bingo! I love this post!

    I learned awhile back that I LOVE so many styles, but it’s what I want to LIVE WITH that matters. When the all white walls + farmhouse + vintage saturation began, I oooed and awwed so much that when we built our house, all the walls were painted white. Well, for me – it makes for a beautiful magazine spread, but I HATED living with them, so we are painting.

    I have always fought my eclectic style, but now realize that is where I am comfortable in decor – and when we are comfortable in our own homes, others will be too.

    Design Rules / thoughts that should retire? The omg-I-can’t-believe-this-house-has-carpet-rip-it-up-immediately rule. I love me some beautiful hardwoods and stone floors, but for us, carpet in the bedrooms (even in the den) is cozy and helps it to not sound like an echo chamber. There is a reason that in the early 80’s builders bragged about the “room-to-room carpet” – because people enjoyed the feel and look of carpet and were tired of seeing the layer of dust over hardwood everyday 🙂

  3. Thanks for your post. We just moved into a house and I’m slowly decorating and adding our style. And by slowly, I’m mean super slow. I think the rules I don’t understand are having lots of new and super nice stuff when you have young kids. We have 4 kids, so having all new furniture, rugs, etc, doesn’t make sense to me. I’d rather make do with what we have and add personality with family photos or things from vacations. I agree about decorating boys bedrooms. I go through spurts where I want a theme for their shared room (three boys in one room), but I’ve realized if they want a theme, they can help me suggest it and we’ll go from there. I don’t want to go to Hobby lobby to buy stuff so it’s matchy matchy and than ends up on the floor. Love your blog and art. So much inspiration with how you add color. Thanks.

  4. I don’t like the rule that I can’t have faux plants. Sure, I’d like to have fresh flowers and luscious plants all over the house, but I don’t have the time, budget, or skill to deal with that on a weekly basis. I have a few faux plants around. There are no dusty old flower arrangements, but there are a few touches of fake greenery around. I ignore the no faux plant rule.

  5. I totally agree. I’ve always managed to be organized with the profound advice from a blogger in my early days: Baskets, baskets, baskets. I believe we shouldn’t strive to be perfect but we can be organized. If not, why do we try to have warm and happy homes? For us…not magazines. I absolutely know that there is a large group of bloggers that create homes in attempts at being chosen for publications. That’s great. In real life—no, it doesn’t look that way unless there are no kids or visitors. Ha!

    Be true to yourself, find bargains if you can’t afford higher priced furniture and put your personal touch on your rooms. Perfect!

    Jane x

  6. How does the dirt stay in the olive bucket and not seep out the holes when you water it?

    1. Hi Pam, I have in in a planter, and then a plastic plant liner inside under that from the home improvement store.

  7. Of course I feel this way – I’m just a regular Jo (seriously, that’s my name!). I read a lot of blogs that have a lot to say about decorating, because that’s something I’ve loved since I was a kid. Speaking only for myself (but I bet a lot of women out here can relate), your homes are what I want mine to look like. I see those beautiful wood floors without a speck of dust. I have wood floors and there’s dust, tons of dog and cat hair, little pieces of dry mud that had been clinging to one of their feet, thread, and oh I could go on and on. I see bookshelves, beautifully arranged in color coordinated books, vases, bowls etc. Mine are full of multi-colored books, because that’s where my books actually live. I could go on, but you get the point. While I love seeing your beautiful houses, perfectly arranged without a speck of dust, I do love it when someone occasionally posts a picture of what the room is like just outside of camera range. Now THAT looks like my house!!! Thanks for this post, though. It reminds us that we are probably doing ok.

  8. “I say if you have little boys, and a rug around the toilet has to take the brunt of the punishment to save your grout. ”

    🙂 Here’s a suggestion for the little marksmen in your life. I taught my little sniper to clean the bathroom and I checked to see how he did around the toilet particular. Let’s just say that he didn’t like the scent and made a point of aiming for the center of the bowl. If he’s too small to do it alone, have him work with you each time so that he learns how it’s done properly. The bathrooms were my son’s chore. Problem solved! Believe me, his future wife will thank you.

Comments are closed.