Our lives perpetually evolve and so do our homes. At least that the excuse I have been making for not finishing the living room and this blog sooner…
4 minute read
I have been seriously procrastinating getting started on this blog about my living room. I had imagined I would make it all perfect and then be able to write a similarly beautifully constructed single blog post containing nice, neat nuggets of wisdom for you all, alongside gorgeous Instagram-able pictures of the final product.
Turns out life is messy though (much like my house most of the time) and that was never going to work. And there isn’t really an end point either.
Duh, I hear you all cry! Of course! A home is never really finished – it just keeps evolving as we do. In fact, the idea of a room being ‘done’ is slightly strange now I think about it. A bit sad even. The idea that you might decorate a room and then decide: “that’s it, it’s completely perfect, it reflects me and nurtures me completely, I will never touch it again” would prevent natural and enjoyable growth. It would be like Miss Havisham’s house.
Life doesn’t stop like that, so neither do our homes.
Life changes can be big for sure – having kids, or a sudden change in health for example – but more often than not it is incremental and ongoing. And this natural evolution of our lives is reflected in the evolution of our homes: what we choose or need to surround ourselves with to support how we live day-to-day.
I am sure loads of you are way ahead of me on this one – but this is the first home where I’ve had any real control over furniture choices and positioning (still not fixtures and fittings, but hey it’s a big step), so I’m pretty new to all this and it has been an interesting learning curve.
However, unless you stop and take stock of all these little incremental changes over time, it generally happens without us ever really noticing it. So in the spirit of experiment, here are just a few examples of how our home has already had to adjust to better accommodate our lives in just the few short months we have lived here. Unsurprisingly, the living room – being a room where we do a lot of our ‘living’ – has probably taken the brunt of this change too.
- Our belongings changed. We found ourselves with all sorts of new things (hello piles of new books and a ‘build your own castle’ courtesy of Christmas!)
- My tastes changed. I was going to paint a piece of furniture dark blue, but it’s taken so long to get round to it, now the room looks totally different and I think grey would be better.
- Our bodies changed. We twisted ankles and broke fingers and found ourselves disabled by various things in our own home. We had to hack things like the kettle to make them more useable and next time it’s upgrade o’clock I will definitely be replacing with more accessible options.
- The seasons changed. We discovered the house is pretty chilly and I had to buy more blankets, duvets and throws to keep us warm.
- Interests change. I have become obsessed with houseplants and my husband has bought a weights bench and a full suit of Medieval armour – true story..
- My job changed. I now get up earlier than my husband and have to get ready in the hallway rather than the bedroom so I can see what clothes I am wearing and so as not to wake him. I have had to move things around so that I have everything where I need it.
- Other people’s lives changed. We hosted Christmas so needed a whole bunch of stuff from glasses to extra seats. Our friends just keep spawning too and so now I am having to think about making the house kid-friendly as well.
Now, of course none of these are particularly big changes in themselves that have required us to carry out drastic modifications to our home, but life sure did move. In fact, I heard someone say something the other day that really struck me about cumulative effect of little changes: this perpetual movement and renewal of our lives means that recognising the person we might be in 15 years time can be just as difficult and alien as recognising the person that we were 15 years ago. We never know exactly what change will happen, but we do know that change will happen.
Our homes should, and can be, be our supportive lifelong partners in this.
Incorporating a few principles of inclusive design and adaptability into any home improvement we do as we go through life right from our first home is the key. This means building in the maximum amount of flexibility to change things up as we ourselves inevitably change (in terms of layout, fixtures, fittings and accessibility), with the minimum amount of hassle (without having to knock down walls or rip out baths for example). There is no one magic layout, just the ability for your home to adapt.
Excitingly for a home lover like me, just as there are hundreds of little changes in our lives, there are similarly hundreds of little opportunities throughout our lives to try and make our homes a little more inclusive and adaptable as part of our routine home improvements. We’re doing it already every time we are dreaming about or shopping for our homes, we just need a bit more information to help us consider it when we choose this bit of furniture, fixture or fitting over that one (enter our handy guides! More coming soon).
So hop to Part 2 for the nitty gritty of what I’ve been up to in the living room to incorporate in these inclusive design principles and adaptability. Apologies if most of the things are works in progress, but turns out, that’s life. And another plus side of nothing ever really being finished, I guess I have enough blog content for a lifetime, you lucky bunch…
PS. I have an update on the bathroom too coming soon. Turns out that wasn’t ‘done’ either…
Thanks for reading. I hope I’ve inspired you to think about all the little changes that have happened to you and your home. I would love to hear some of them!