Our Home: Before & After
Our home hasn't always looked as styled and decluttered as it does now. In fact, it used to be overflowing with stuff! Stuff that we loved mixed in with things that we no longer used or valued. Instead of leaving us feeling secure, the excess became overwhelming. It wasn’t until years about a year into our marriage though that we began the process of letting go.
With my husband was not initially on board with decluttering, I decided to first tackle my stuff. It's easy to get on a roll when decluttering and want to tackle the entire home. You start to see and experience the benefits of living with less and you want more. Before moving full-steam ahead though, it's important to sit down with your family and make sure that everyone is on board. While you may be excited to simplify your life, your partner may or may not be. Instead of going behind their back and throwing out items that belong to them, we need to be respectful of our loved ones and where they are at in the process. So rather than wasting energy and getting upset about what they aren't doing or how they are holding the process up, lets turn the focus on to you. What can you do? What can you get rid of that its yours? Let's start there. Chances are once your partner will see what peace, joy and freedom living with less brings, and will want to get on board as well.
This certainly was the case with us! After seeing the peace and freedom that I was experiencing from living with less, my husband began to open up to the process. Along with determining our family's core values, experimenting with letting pieces go was really helpful for us. We did this for our T.V., large furniture items, clothing, and even some kitchen gadgets. Before we knew it, months and years flew by and we now have a home that is a true reflection of our values, style, and lifestyle. It's been a journey and has certainly taken some time but let me tell you, the freedom and peace that we have is indescribable.
The Living Room "Before" and "After":
When I first moved in to our apartment I was so excited to have a place that was truly mine. Being my first time living away from home (minus my freshmen year of college) and having an entire home to decorate was an interior design student's dream! There were so many things that I wanted to try as can be clearly seen in the "before" photos... gallery walls, sculptural walls, geometric prints, colorful accessories... While I look back at these photos and cringe, I have to admit that I had a lot of fun. I learned a lot in the process of designing our home - determining my style, deciding what pieces I loved, and creating a space that was a true reflection of "us". I made a lot of mistakes but gained a lot of knowledge and experience in the process.
The Dining Room "Before" and "After":
As was the case with the living room, our dining room provided a fun opportunity to experiment upon first moving in. This room has taken on so many different looks and furniture placings over the years. At one point we had a "bar", created a sculptural wall, and removed some chairs to add in a upholstered bench. In the end, we landed on a design that blends well with the rest of the home in terms of style and function. We took away the bookcases in order to make the room appear more spacious, light and airy; and we swapped the sculptural wall for a giant bulletin board. This bulletin board really helps to ground the space, add in a splash of color, and helps make the space appear less formal.
The Kitchen "Before" and "After":
For years this was one of my least favorite rooms in our home until recently when we swapped out the skirted table and wall shelf for a large metal bookshelf. This was a game-changer! Not only did it provide more storage but it also helped tie in the room with the rest of the home. When styling the metal bookshelf my goal was for it to be functional but attractive. I did this by incorporating books, woven baskets, and wooden trays. You can read more about it here. Another game changer was cleaning up our cabinets, which you can read more about here and here.
The Office "Before" and "After":
Along with our kitchen, our office was another room in our home that I was never really a fan of... It was a great space with a big closet and window, but it was always more "function" than "style". This was until I started by business back in the summer of 2017 and it began to take on a new life. While before, it was really more of my husband's space, it was now a room for the two of us. When selecting the furniture and decor of the space I made sure to keep this in mind, selecting pieces that we both love and use.
The Bathroom "Before" and "After":
The "before" and "after" shots of our bathroom are the perfect example about the difference between "organized" vs. "decluttered". We used to have SO much stuff in here and yet I believed that it was okay because it was organized. As we mentioned in this post, it was during this time that I began to learn that organizing is more or less shifting items around in a space to: make the room more physically attractive; make room for more items and to categorize items. Decluttering on the other hand involves removing items out of a space that are no longer needed, loved, or valued. The focus isn't trying to make room for more but rather to make room to for what matters most.
As you can see in the "before" photos we had a whole lot of "extras" - extra towels, extra soap bars, tooth brushes, medicine, beauty products... the list could go on and on. Why did we have so many?? Well one: because I thought that excess equated to security. Two: I would buy things when I was out and about that I didn't need or end up using. It took the process of determining our values, experimenting, and getting rid of unsafe beauty products to have a bathroom as decluttered as this. While we do have a few extra towels and some medicine, for the most part we have only what we love, use and need.
The Bedroom "Before" and "After":
Our bedroom has more or less always had the same feel - light and airy, but the design didn't come together until the past couple of years when we got new bedding, got rid of some clothes, and shed some furniture that we no longer used or needed. This space is truly a sanctuary with sunlight pouring through the windows, cozy bedding, and touches of natural elements (i.e. wood and greenery). It is one of my favorite rooms in the house.