How I Finally Learned To Be OK with a “Good Enough” Home

published Aug 25, 2022
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

Contrary to what some believe, your home isn’t unlivable and you’re not failing at adulting if your dining room lacks a perfectly styled bar cart, your bedroom doesn’t align with a neutral color palette, and your kitchen cabinets are filled with mismatched, unlabeled storage containers. But that’s exactly what some people think after spending much of their free time scrolling social media and being bombarded with perfectly styled homes. Though your home may not look like an Instagram-worthy “oasis,” you don’t need a large kitchen island, a curated bookshelf, or all the other social media-dictated “home must-haves” for it to feel like one.

If you’re having trouble believing that, you’re not alone. According to a survey conducted by Moneywise, one in four people think a friend’s home is better than theirs with embarrassment being a powerful motivator for that belief, and four in five people say social media has dictated what they consider to be their “dream” home. 

It’s not hard for that embarrassment and social media influence to prevent people from inviting others over to their home because “it’s not good enough.” In case that’s you, here are six ways you can learn to be ok with a “good enough” home.

Think of social media as the highlight reel. 

The good thing about social media is that you continuously see all the best things in relation to home decor and organization. The bad thing about social media is that’s all you see. While it’s a useful tool for inspiration, it’s important to remember that what you see from influencers is their highlight reel. 

It’s rare that you’ll find anyone, influencer or not, sharing photos with their dining room-turned-home office in the background with all the papers piled on top of the table. Regardless of how authentic they are, they’ll likely never share photos of their newly remodeled bathroom with an unscrubbed tub. Knowing that helped me realize that no matter how “perfect” a home appears on social media, nothing is truly 100 percent perfect. 

Journalist and influencer Danae Mercer even shared a reel in January 2022 highlighting popular TikTok videos showcasing all that’s “staged” and the power of cropping home interior photos to make them look perfect. 

The realization that no one’s home is perfect all the time can do wonders for making you feel better about your own. 

Consider that no home is ever truly “complete.”

It’s hard to make peace with the state of your own home if you’re constantly comparing it to someone else’s. It takes a lot of home makeovers, experimenting with furniture placement, and visits to HomeGoods to nail down a space you’re happy with. There’s lots of trial and error, and even when it seems “done,” you’re likely to make changes at some point. 

If your home is never complete or consistently in transformation, lean into what is working for your home and allow yourself to have fun and find joy in the process of “fixing” what doesn’t. 

Understand that people appreciate cozy homes. 

When going to someone’s house, more than anything, I want to feel warm and welcomed. A Martha Stewart-like home, with lots of wicker baskets and an open concept floor plan isn’t the only way to do that. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t “ooh and ahh” at seemingly perfect homes with beautiful photo backdrops at every corner — but perfection isn’t essential to creating a cozy environment. 

Last summer, I went to a cookout at a smaller, older home. There was no high top bar in the kitchen or an expansive backyard. The couches were old and mismatched and their pantry staples were stacked high on kitchen counters… and it was absolutely beautiful. 

Not only was it a breath of fresh air to see a house I wouldn’t typically see on Instagram, but it felt so cozy and the owners made me feel loved. They offered me something to drink, showed me where the food was, made sure my kids were comfortable, and filled the space with smiles and laughter. 

Credit: Southworks/

Make a list of what made you choose your home. 

Maybe where you ended up wasn’t your first choice of home, but you considered it for a reason. Whether it’s cabinet hardware, the proximity to your job, or the natural sunlight that comes in, there are features that made you choose your home over other places. Lean into those things and all that gives your home charm when you feel it isn’t adequate. 

Recognize you likely do live in a curated home. 

If you’re filling your home with photos that make your heart smile regardless of how askew that gallery wall looks or the best books on your shelf have spines that don’t coordinate… you do live in a perfectly curated home — it’s curated for your taste and what excites you. If you happen to open up your kitchen cabinet and have trouble picking a mug to enjoy your morning tea in because they’re all favorites, your home is designed perfectly for you. 

The best takeaways are the memories. 

When thinking back to the best time you had at a friend’s house, you’ll most likely recall that game night or how you talked for hours, and not so much about the interior design. At a time when people are making up for the missed opportunities to see loved ones and visit friends, many are now leaning into every chance to spend time together and create meaningful memories. 

While you may be worried that your home is untidy or the throw pillows don’t match, your loved ones will simply take away the good times.