Saturday, October 5, 2013

Perfectly Imperfect: Removing Obstacles From Getting Your “House” in Order

I decided today is a great day to post about perfectionism.  It has everything to do with interior design but not in the way you might think.

We read/hear these descriptive phrases in: print, on social media sites, on design shows and I’m terribly guilty using them, too . . .

  • “Oh, that’s soooo perfect.”
  • “That’s the perfect solution.”
  • “I’ve worked and planned on this for so long, I just know it will be perfect.”
  • “If I can just get _______ done, then my house will be perfect.”
  • “My goal is to provide the perfect service for you.”  Ouch!

Sometimes these perfectionistic thoughts aren’t verbally expressed but the underlying expectation is there.  You know the one - “I think if we gave it one more little ‘tweak’” comment.


There are many reasons perfectionistic tendencies are developed.  It could have been because of a parent, a teacher, a peer, a boss, a spouse or even a friend.  It could have resulted from a life-altering circumstance.  In my case, I had some challenges in teen years that made me feel that if my room was in “perfect” order, my life would also follow in line.  It was my place to escape or my little sanctuary.  Perhaps not an all bad thing but moderation means much more, today.


No matter the source, it’s usually a protective shield that’s put up to prevent others from thinking or knowing how we may not “measure-up” in some way.  It’s often about fear of judgment . . . And, more important than that, it doesn’t equate to achieving excellence!



As an interior designer, I have tended to wear the badge of “perfectionist” with honor.  Thinking it made clients happy that I tried to think of every little detail in order to prevent mistakes from happening.  Of course, it’s added much more of a burden to my creative nature in trying to circumvent every project obstacle.  It’s impossible to have that much ESP and the best, creative outcomes have been when the client allowed me the time to work through the process as it unfolded.  A plan within a plan to accept “light bulb” moments.


I’m not throwing out the baby with the bath water, here.  It is important that I use both sides of the cerebral hemispheres, keeping in mind it’s definitely about balance.  And when I’ve got a project that tilts me totally towards the pursuit of excellence, I have to be certain that all parties understand when it’s time to pull the plug if perfectionism is getting in the way.  Not to totally dismiss the project but the part of it that keeps progress from happening – aka - To figure out why the obstacle is there.  What keeps the ship from leaving port.


You see, for the sake of perfectionists, I’m committed to monitoring the projects in which there are the perfect expectations because I’m so driven to “fix” things.  And if it goes awry,  it’s ultimately a lose-lose situation for everyone.  The perfectionist can’t be satisfied and the one who strives to create the perfect solution is exhausted.



So, before beginning an interior design project, think of all of the obstacles you’ve experienced, in the past, so that you can think of a better way to move forward.  Make a list and determine a solution:

Not a big enough budget?  Commit to putting aside a little bit more before starting something that can’t be finished.  Look at your expectations.  Do you think there might be another product or service - in a more obtainable range - which will allow you to enjoy the space in total, rather than have that one item drive the proverbial car?  (Take away the pursuit that someone will provide it for much less and at a higher degree of excellence, just so you can get your wish.  You may be looking forever.  Keeping expectations real, here.)

Can’t make a decision on like vs. dislike?  Step back to see if you’re fighting your own desires vs. what you think your “supposed” to like according to Pinterest, Houzz and all of the blogs.  Remember, this is YOUR home.  You’ll find the right person who feels the same way to help you create it.

Waiting for someone else to give you “permission” to start the project?  While it’s important to have members of the household weigh in on communal spaces, sometimes things can’t move forward based on a committee and it might be easier if some areas have a committee “head” who gets to make the main decisions, with the idea another space can be decided by a different party, later.  Just be sure to honor that commitment.

The point is – Life is perfectly imperfect.  And that’s okay by me.


Via Daily Basics/Pinterest

All my best! ~ Wanda

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