How To Design for the Present (& Live More Mindfully, Too)

How To Design for the Present (& Live More Mindfully, Too)

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Adrienne Breaux
Dec 13, 2014

Despite knowing better, there are plenty of things that sometimes keep us from designing our current homes to the fullest. Like the fact that if you don't own your home you may have moved a lot in the past few years, knowing that if history repeats itself, you won't be in this rental for years and years. As much as we write about how important it is to not let the looming possibility of moving — of your current home just being a temporary home — be the thing that holds you back from putting time, effort and money into designing it to fit you, the lure of a temporary mindset is powerful.

Yes we should make our homes be the best they can be because we deserve it. But that's not the most important reason we should give ourselves permission to invest time, money and energy into making the home we have now be more like the home we want or need. Sticking to the idea that there's no point in decorating a temporary home mean you're worrying about the future and being influenced by the past. It's hard to live a more mindful existence in our daily lives if we're living in homes that were designed (or not designed) based on imagined, not-happened-yet futures.

We shouldn't completely ignore potential future realities. And yes, there are always things we can learn from the past. But when it comes to making final design decisions about the home you live in today, why not give a little more weight to the needs and wants of the present?

Chances are there might be something in your home acting as proof you're living in the future or past rather than the present. Some DIY project you've decided is too much of a waste of time. Holiday decorations not used because with all the travel you have planned you'll really only be in your home for a week or two of the holiday season and what's the point? Maybe it's holding off on buying or making a furniture piece you really love because it seems impractical for future dwellings. Maybe it's not painting that wall you really want to paint because you don't want the hassle of painting over it when you have to move out. Here's how to give yourself permission to design for the present instead:

(Image credit: Adrienne Breaux)

Remember that as much planning as you can do, you can't really know the future

So future plans should be weighted less than what would make your life better right now. Taken into consideration, yes, but not trump what you want or need now. Altered a bit so that the future is planned for — but not eliminated altogether if it's a design element important to you.

Remind yourself how much better your life will be

...If you make the changes you feel you need to your home — both functional and visual. Yes there is merit in living as minimally as possible when a clear, distinct goal lies ahead. But also there's merit in enjoying your life and home as it is now. And while the truly mindful could probably find joy in every aspect of life, you can make small, meaningful changes in your home while still remaining grateful for all that you do have.

Get creative to do it on a budget

If money stands in your way — due to limited funds or because you do have a goal you're saving up for — get creative and adjust your present to be a little of what you want now while you still save for what you really want later.

Make a calendar and timeline to fit into your schedule

Or if it's simply the fact that you never make time for it and let daily responsibilities get in the way, break down the thing or things you want to do around the house into tiny, bite-sized tasks and schedule them into your existing calendar, even if the tasks will stretch over months.

Start small

It's all about taking that first small step. If you have been dreaming about painting every wall and having a more organized closet, don't try to do it all at once. Just take that small step toward picking out a paint color or decluttering a few unneeded items.

How did you finally give yourself permission to design a home you truly love despite knowing you might move later (or whatever reason was standing in the way of you doing it)? Share in the comments below:

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