I’m back from a fantastic trip to the Haven Conference. It was a fun time with good friends, late nights/early mornings and lots and lots of dancing.
At the conference, Mandi (Vintage Revivals), Ashley (The Handmade Home) and I taught two classes on the topic of Designing Outside of the Box. The three of us are known for our over-the-top decorating styles, so you know our class was going to be the same. We laughed a lot, forced the attendees to dance and even bawled on the second day (we were moved when talking about how women feel so empowered when they learn to trust themselves). It was, quite frankly, the greatest presentation in the history of blogging conferences.
Although we presented the material in a funny way, we were really serious about our main tenets – mainly that we wanted everyone to embrace the power in being comfortable in their design decisions and to keep reaching past that comfort zone. Because 99% of you weren’t able to be there, I thought I’d touch on our main points so that you could benefit from them as well.
Your Relationship With Comfort
Finding your own decorating voice requires your ability to accept two things: the comfort in your own ideas and the comfort in what other people think about your ideas. As you create your own style and move past recreating favorite rooms from magazines and following trends, you’ll find that you have to trust in yourself and find comfort in your ability to pull off the creative room you see in your mind. And the more often you push yourself, the easier and quicker it will be to find comfort in your own crazy ideas.
Beyond finding comfort in your own ideas, you also need to be comfortable with other people’s opinions of your work. The more you push the limits in your decorating style, the more naysayers you will likely hear. As bloggers who put their crazy ideas out there for the world to see, Mandi, Ashley and I have had our fair share of negative comments about our designs. But because we are so comfortable in our own ideas, we are comfortable enough to hear all sorts of opinions and just let the negative ones roll off our backs. It may take a while to get to this point, but you will get there as long as you trust in yourself.
Take a Chance
In order to develop that balance in the two types of relationships with comfort, you have to keep pushing yourself outside of your current comfort zone. If you normally paint your furniture pieces white, go for a bright color. If you generally only use patterns in textiles, try putting them on your walls.
Mandi has told me a few times that there are occasional posts that she’s just afraid to hit “publish” on. She knows that she loves the post and that her designs are amazing, but she never knows what the reaction online is gong to be. I’m right there with her.
Do you know how scared I was to show you my herringbone wood wall? I mean, I think it’s the most amazing wall on Earth. But, I didn’t know if you guys would think I had lost my flippin’ mind. It’s true, some of you DID think that, but most of you saw the awesome in its design.
I think that there must be (at least) one element in every room design that scares me. For a truly interesting room, I know that I need to push the boundaries somewhere. Whether it be a wall treatment, a crazy light fixture or a turquoise sofa (it’s going to happen, people), I know that I need to keep pushing when I feel a bit scared.
And you know what? You do, too.
What do you think? Do you think that there’s more to decorating outside of the box than these three basic steps?