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We need a 'house confident' movement

Updated: May 3, 2023

I’ve been thinking recently about parallels between the beauty and interiors industry. Much like the idea that if we looked a certain way we believe we would be happier - and are sold that by the beauty industry - so too we think that if we only had *that* house or interior then life would be better. We are told what is on trend and what is now out of fashion, what interiors we should be lusting over and what 'design crimes' we've committed. To live the ideal at any given moment in time would involve an eye watering drain on your bank account and a lot of energy. I mean who has an open plan house and is now reading that open plan is dead? How bloody stressful is that!


All too often I see people saying things about their homes that are really quite heart breaking. Friends of mine who know I care about interiors seem to feel like they need to apologise to me when I go to their houses that they don't think are 'perfect'. And I know there are many people with interiors accounts on social media who would say the number of ‘likes’ their house gets impacts their well-being. Then of course there is seeing other people’s beautiful homes that make you feel bad about your own because they seem better than yours. I couldn't find stats about interiors, but if 88% of women compare themselves to images on social media, I am certain the statistic in relation to our houses won't be dissimilar.


Here is a photo of my hand painted bloomsbury style fireplace in all its glory last Christmas. I remember being so anxious about how people on instagram would react, I sent it to some people who have interiors accounts for an honest opinion before I bit the bullet.


But in the same way as the majority of the population can’t and won’t attain airbrushed bodily perfection, nor will we attain that perfectly curated home. Striving for it leaves you exhausted and dissatisfied at best, and at worst feeling a failure.


I have concluded that what we really need is a body confident movement equivalent for our homes. Body shaming and house shaming have the same awful impact of making you feel like you aren't ok to just be you. I don’t want to hear that my house isn’t to someone else's liking any more than I want to hear whether my figure or dress sense pleases them; not their home, not their life. And I never ever want you to feel like I think your home should be any different to the way it is when it’s an expression of you and is working for what you need. I want you to see my creativity and passion even when I do something you wouldn't, and I want to see you through a lens that seeks out the beauty in your life too.


Here's a top tip; when you feel the urge to change something or buy another item for your home, ask yourself, 'why do I think this will make me happier'? If the answer lies in what other people will think about you or your home, or trying to emulate someone else's life then don't do it. This will almost certainly be subconscious so really probe yourself on it! You should aspire to nothing more than your home meeting your needs, which for most of us will generally boil down to safety, comfort and a sense of well-being. And what delivers that is quite personal to each of us.


We have to elevate each other and celebrate diversity. Just as we shouldn’t all want to look the same because beauty lies in allowing your soul to shine, we should want our homes to be part of that too. Your value sits so much deeper than the surface. Come into my house (either on Instagram or in real life!), meet part of me, and accept me just as I am. If someone is here to pass judgment or assess if I’m worthy of their seal of approval, they aren't welcome. What a toxic place our homes become when we let people like that in.


Related to this, I heard Kate Watson-Smyth relaying on the great indoors podcast a while back that she was told the upper classes traditionally never bother tidying up for guests they liked. And that if you went to someone’s house where they had indeed tidied up, then it was a sure sign they weren’t keen on you. It felt like a bit of a revelation when I heard it. The idea that rather than hitting panic stations in a tidying frenzy whenever you have someone over, a true friend is one we can be totally and unapologetically ourselves around.


I’m all for championing advice that helps people create a home that will make them happier, and encouraging people to shop and source in ways that are kind to people, animals and the planet. But maybe we need a bit of a pact that that’s as far as giving a view on a house should ever go, and even then make sure the person actually wants your opinion!


I would love to see us liberate ourselves from worrying about what other people think so we can create homes that bring nothing but joy, and help one another get there by celebrating each other’s homes and seeing the best of them in all their different shapes and sizes.

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Lovely blog post! People are often so embarrassed when I come to do a first site visit. The only time I ever want to make a negative comment on Instagram, is when I see someone remove an original feature or slap chalk paint on a lovely piece of antique furniture. I keep my mouth shut but it really pains me!


Keep up the post! xxx


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Anna Hope
Anna Hope
05 may 2023
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Ah thank you Maureen! I imagine it's really intimidating letting an interior designer into your home. And I hear you, there are some things that feel like they are beyond just having different taste and are actually destroying a bit of history, which can go against your values and is a whole other ball game isn't it. I feel like this when people buy products that I know will have caused harm to workers and the environment too. Hopefully I can keep writing about these things to help people make more ethical decisions!

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Such a brilliant blog, Anna. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, and I found the detail on how the upper classes would present their homes fascinating and revealing. It's funny how attitudes change and evolve through the ages.


Xxx Sam @glenrosslifestyle

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Anna Hope
Anna Hope
05 may 2023
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Aw thank you Sam! It really is, and cultures too. When I lived in Palestine there was always one really fancy room that guests would be hosted in and then the rest of the house was off limits and much more 'normal'. My mum tells me her welsh grandparents did this too so I think it used to be in our culture to do this many moons ago as well!

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