Most of the time, I love my space because it's filled with things I love, and it's a place where I can live by my own rules. But then there are other times, especially after scouting some place that's taken my breath away (particularly if it's one with features that are on my wish list, like lots of light or a pool or a washer and dryer in the house or a bright kitchen), where I come home with a bad case of house envy. But, since I see a lot of amazing homes for a living, I had to find a way to put it in perspective. Here's how I keep the green monster at bay:
Learn from it: Like most homes outside of a photo spread in a magazine (or even a house tour here on Apartment Therapy), my home has its good points and bad. There are things I love, like its architectural details and the colorful tiles in the bathroom, and things that drive me crazy, like my kitchen cabinetry, the lack of direct sunlight, and the fact that I don't have a parking spot. There are things I'd love to change if I could — a marble countertop in the kitchen and reupholstering my couch into a sectional are two things on my list — and things I haven't gotten around to fixing or completing (a pile of photographs waiting to be scanned and art that needs hanging are two).
What is it that you love about the places you envy? Is it the home or room itself or is it the feeling you get — glamorousness, openness, coziness — that you're pining after? Or maybe it's the furniture arrangement or the mix of patterns? Try to break down the components. It was after looking at a lot of lofts that I started to get really crazy. That's when I realized that my Hollywood Regency-esque decor was no longer reflective of who I was. A friend walked in the other day who hadn't seen my space in years and said "Oh, it's a loft in an apartment." No wonder I'm much happier here now!
Dig below the surface: Every home has its drawbacks. Learning more, you may discover that, after all, the water pressure in your shower beats theirs hands down. For me, it's usually when I discover how much the mortgage or rent is that I realize how grateful I am for my apartment and the life that my still reasonable rental affords me.
List your home's charms: Just as every home has its drawbacks, it also has its charms — it's in walking distance of the park, it's flooded with sunlight, the layout is perfect. Make a list.
Call in a friend: Get them to tell you what they love about your home. Getting a glimpse of your space through someone else's eyes can often be a reminder of what's great about it. Oh, yeah, that's right, I have French windows and hardwood floors. If you trust or admire their taste, ask them if they have any suggestions that would give your home the feeling of the home you're gnashing your teeth over.
Do one thing for your home: Whether it's buying fresh flowers, a new pillow, moving the furniture around, or getting one of these grout pens to spiff up the bathroom, do one thing on your list of home decor things to do to remind yourself that just because you don't live in a million dollar mansion, it doesn't mean that you can't have a beautiful life.
Throw a party: Sometimes, all it takes is lighting some candles, pulling out a bottle of red wine, whipping up some pasta, and inviting friends over to remind yourself that what's really important about your home is the people in it.