How To Love Your Imperfect Home

Use these 4 practical tips to help you love and accept your imperfect home. Includes ways to combat comparison and be happy with what you’ve got.

This is a post I have wanted to write for a long time, but for whatever reason, it never happened. I recently gathered my thoughts, and decided to just go for it. Loving your imperfect home may seem impossible at times, but I want to assure you, it’s not. Read on for some tips to make it easier.

image for how to love your imperfect home with chairs shelves

Stop Drowning in the Sea of Comparison

Believe me, I’ve been treading water in the Sea of Comparison my whole life. So far, I’ve been able to avoid actually drowning! Nothing can mess with your mental health or self-esteem more than comparing what you have to what others have. Here is a quote by Angel Chernoff that puts it all in perspective:

“If the grass looks greener on the other side…stop staring. Stop comparing. Stop complaining. Start watering the grass you’re standing on.”

Social media doesn’t help with this issue. All you have to do is scroll through Instagram and you will find the most incredible homes, and they all appear to be perfect. I’m here to tell you that they’re not! Nothing is perfect, and when social media leads us astray, we have to pull back and think logically. Just close those apps and move on.

ivory tufted chair with blue pillow dresser background

The Bottom Line

It all boils down to this…someone is ALWAYS going to have a better home than you. There is always going to be someone with a bigger garage, or newer windows, or that awesome kitchen island you’ve always wanted. Put what everyone else has out of your mind…and concentrate on your own home. I think of it as putting on blinders. I’m not always successful, but when I am, I feel more at peace and much happier.

pitcher of hydrangeas in dough bowl

Don’t Dwell on What’s Wrong

In other words, consider the glass half full, instead of half empty.

Sometimes I look around our house and all I see is everything that’s old, or all the things that need fixed. (These are the things I never show on the blog!) It’s utterly overwhelming and can definitely be depressing. At these times I remind myself (or try to) that our home is filled with things I love…things that have special meaning to my family. It doesn’t matter that the caulk is peeling off the stairway, or the porch railing needs painted.

What matters is the memories that have been made in these rooms. We’ve lived here for almost 30 years, so a lot has happened. But even if you’ve moved around, and lived in several different homes, it’s the memories that count, not where they were made. It doesn’t matter if you live in a mansion, a modest fixer-upper, or a tiny apartment. Memories are made by people, not places. So focus on everything that’s good, because all that other stuff just doesn’t matter.

vintage dresser with accessories

Make a Practical List

Letting go of the imperfection will help immensely, but that doesn’t mean that improvements can’t be made. I encourage you to make a list of things about your house that bother you…but remember to be practical and sensible. Think about what you can actually accomplish, and take into consideration the time involved and the budget. Don’t make a “wish list.” The sky is definitely not the limit, so make sure your list is attainable. The last thing you want to do is set yourself up for failure…no one needs that!

Also, remember that this isn’t a race, and that there’s no finish line. Do what you can, and be happy with what you’ve accomplished…because every accomplishment deserves to be celebrated.

small pitcher of purple coneflowers

Do One Good Thing

This is where the challenge begins. Take that practical list, and cross off one thing. Don’t look at the big picture, but take things one step at a time. Sometimes, the first step is the hardest, and if you get it over with, the rest becomes much easier.

I hope this helps you look at your home with fresh eyes, and love what you see. If there are things you want to change, I encourage you approach them clearly and sensibly. Until next time…

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69 Comments

  1. These are great words to remember when thinking about ones’s home. I have made a list of my home’s most important needs right now and am about to tackle two of them.

  2. Ellen J Sorce says:

    This could not have been published at a more perfect time. I have lived in my 1948 Cape Cod since 1979. Nothing is plum, nothing is even and I have been envious of my friend’s larger homes, or their newly built condos. This weekend I began working on my living room. The color was one I put in about 15 years ago. New furniture meant new paint colors and a new area rug. It may not be perfect, but it’s mine and if it makes me smile, then it’s perfect for me.

    Thank you, Ann.

  3. All the houses I’ve loved most have imperfections, some quite noticeable. Thank you for writing about the trap known as the quest for perfection!

  4. I appreciated this article. The saying “Start watering the grass you’re standing on” is so true. A dream will always be a dream unless you “do, do, do”! A house is only a house, but a home is where happiness and love reside.
    When young, my parents could only afford a four family flat. I didn’t realize we were poor because we were rich with family love and forever memories. I recall with fondness the knocking of the pipes from our radiators starting up in the early morning, but didn’t appreciate it then. Our neighbor would flee to the basement when a tornado was approaching only to emerge with a black face due to the coal bin!

  5. So true Ann! I have some family visiting soon and I catch myself wanting to do so much around the house to make it a “perfect” visit for them that really all that will matter is our memories we will make while they are here. As long as it’s clean and tidy I will do what I can and not stress the rest. Thanks for the perspective this morning:)

  6. Thank you for this post. Reminded me to be grateful for what I have. Did kick start me to write a Practical List and switched up a couple of things in our living room. Have a Happy 4th!

  7. Thank you, Ann. Wonderful and actionable words of encouragement.

  8. You know we all want and now what I do is say to myself “ will this end up in a garage sale “ next year & if I say yes I don’t get it.
    Just the other day I moved our TV room around & came in this morning and asked my husband to help me move the couch a little bit away from the window. What a difference and it cost me nothing.
    When I get boarded with a room I just change it and you get such a good feeling almost like you had it redone. Just a little help for someone who needs it.
    And by the way Ann your home is perfect.
    Much love
    Rose

  9. Thank you for the encouragement of this article! I have been trying to move in this direction for awhile now and it is good to see someone else describe my thoughts so well. I always enjoy your articles and everything you show us! Have a great day!

  10. Dear Ann,
    Thank you…!
    You couldn’t have said it better.

  11. Jeanie Nichols says:

    Just the words I needed to hear on this day. We all need to look around and count our blessings. Thank you for the words of encouragement . Love your blog.

  12. These are such wise words, Ann! I raised my children in a small, small house but we had what we needed and more and made lifelong memories that we still share from time to time – like this past weekend. Now, my husband and I live in the home his parents built that he had moved here over 20 years ago. It is far more space than we need and is rather dated in some ways but we’ve made loads of wonderful memories here as well. With my mother-in-law now living in our basement, there have been times when I have resented things like the color she painted a room or the flooring she chose for the den area down there but later I realized that these are things that make her happy during her 80s and all of them can be changed when she is no longer with us or needing the space. I remind myself that we are blessed to have our home and realize how thankful I am to be able to share it with her, our family, and friends. Would I change the kitchen or main bath if I had an unlimited budget? YES! However, it is serviceable and it holds a lot of love. Thanks for posting the reminder that we all need.

  13. Sage advice Ann………too many people get caught up living like the Joneses, when in fact, the blessings in life are family & true friends!
    A clean welcoming home is all that’s needed ! Afterall……you can’t take it with you !
    I would rather be remembered for the deeds I performed than what my house looks like !

  14. Anne, love this blog and love this article. So many friends have their vision boards and wish lists and places to go. I love being content in my own home and do not have a bucket list! Things to replace as you have said but we will get to them eventually! Thank you for all your blogs and posts! Truly enjoy them!

  15. 5 stars
    This has been one of your best blogs
    It’s wonderful to see more people get away from wanting,wanting. Be content is so important. We are all blessed
    It’s good n everyone likes different things. I’ve seen many people with old houses and putting their imagination ideas into their homes. Not everyone wants to live in a mansion. Be happy with what you have. Learn to make ‘a silk.purse from a sows ear’ That’s what my mother always said. Make the most of what you have and don’t compare or think the one with the mansion is happier than you are. Thank you Ann for this wonderful blog. Always learn from you and appreciate you.

  16. Terri Herman says:

    My contentment is not in my things. These, too, shall pass away! I find joy in the blessings of yard work, improvement projects that we can afford and hosting many family and friends! When we purchased this home we had moved 250 mikes away from the “dream home” my husband built for me to take care of our first granddaughter. Four years later we are so happy with our little brick ranch and excited to meet grand baby # 4 in November! Perspective is everything- thanks for giving us a good look!

    1. Gail Byreiter says:

      This was a great post, Ann. I was spoiled by always living in brand new homes. The last one, before my divorce was a new build with everything chosen be me and pretty much my dream home. Due to a divorce (I couldn’t afford to buy my ex out), I ended up going from a 2,400 sq. ft. (4 bedroom, 3 bathroom, 2 1/2 car garage, family room, living room, dining room, laundry, huge deck with a gazebo, big yard with woods behind, gorgeous woodwork, specialty windows, etc.) to a 750 sq. ft. apartment. I decorated my apartment so nicely that a repairman complimented me on how beautiful it was. After several years I purchased a duplex for myself and daughter and grandchildren. My side is about the same size as my 1,100 sq. ft. starter home. I bemoan the fact that I don’t have room for all of my beautiful things to be displayed and cooking a holiday dinner in my eat in kitchen with very little counter space is a nightmare. That being said; my daughter and grandchildren are right next door and in the summer we eat out on our deck and have movie nights in our gazebo. In the 13 years we have been here, there have been many birthday parties and holiday dinners and gatherings that are just as joyous as they would have been in my dream house. This house is 51 years old and little by little I’ve done the repairs and replacements as they’ve been needed. Right now I’m replacing a kitchen sink, faucet, and countertop that were beyond salvaging. I love my home and keep reminding myself, when I get frustrated with it’s size, that it’s mine and that’s all that matters in the long run.

  17. Very good message today, Ann. We recently returned from vacationing at a relatives home which is quite large. Just today, I told my husband I’m happy to be back in our small kitchen. So many fewer steps to get the tasks completed. Also, we have my grandparents’ dining furniture which is not what I would like but… when I think of the holidays spent around the table with those who have passed, I’m grateful to have it.

  18. Amen!!! If you ever don’t appreciate what you have, go visit some Sunday school kids that come on the bus. See what they live in. You’ll come home very grateful.

  19. Thank you for the wonderfully worded reminder!! Always enjoy your posts and seeing pics of your pretty home! ❤️

  20. Deb Christenson says:

    Happy Fourth of July to all!
    I agree with an earlier comment who grew up poor, as I did as well. I have lived in a house–my middle class days, I call them–and now live in an apartment. What I don’t have in this space would fill books, but what I DO have is peace of mind, which no one can take away from me.
    deb

  21. Theresa Stagni says:

    Thank you for reminding me that the things that HAPPEN in my house (precious memories) are more important that the THINGS in my house.

    I always enjoy your blog!

  22. Karen Mary says:

    So agree! Something else that helps me (and I’ve written about this on my blog at CaretoKeep.com) is to do everything you can do to improve a room without spending money. So — clean it, rearrange the furniture, use the paint you have in the basement to repaint the table, use your scrap fabrics to make a new pillowcase, etc. Then, if you like, allot yourself a budget to spend (however small — maybe enough for a new candle) once that process is complete. You wind up with a refreshed, happy room without comparisons.

  23. Absolutely loved this post!! On point, helpful, and kind… :-)

  24. Jane Bentrott says:

    Great article, Ann! Good reminder to all of us to be grateful for the homes we have!

    1. Eva Sharp says:

      We will always have something to repair …..but it better to think of memories Thank You for reminding that…..Happy 4th to you and your family enjoy!!!!!

  25. What a wonderful day for you to share this article. We all needed this shot in the arm. I have found that if I just clean a room really, really good, it feels like it is brand new.

    You are such a joy, Ann.

    Happy Freedom to you.

    w

  26. Sue Daugherty says:

    Wonderful post. Gratitude is key to contentment.

  27. Well said! Thank you for your post concerning this subject.

  28. Susan Barfield says:

    Well said and refreshing! Thank you!

  29. Lucia Donahower says:

    Great advice! Love your home!
    Thank you.
    Lucy

  30. Teddee Grace says:

    I grew up poor on a farm in the Midwest, but, as a result, we learned how to “make do” from the time we were children and I actually enjoy the challenge of doing that. My sister, brother and I were all very creative in our play when I look back on it because we didn’t have very many “store bought” toys and I think I’ve carried that over to decorating whatever place I’ve called home and I’ve lived in many different places in my 77 years. Right now I live in a one-bedroom apartment in a senior housing apartment building, but you would never know that if you could see my decor, almost all thrift store finds. I wish I could include photos. I change the decor in my apartment and out on my balcony for each season and it is such a joy…hard work, but always well worth it in the end.

    1. You are my Hero ! This is Living Your Best Life!

  31. What you have written are all truths.Love the quote.We all have things we want to change or update in our homes but can’t, nothing is perfect.I try to be grateful for what I have rather than what I don’t have.

  32. 5 stars
    Great post. Really speaks to me .. Thank you!

  33. Ellen J Sorce says:

    Thank you for this. I constantly compare, and apologize for my little house of family hand me downs. I need to stop. Thank you.

  34. Joni tyner says:

    Love this! It’s great to encourage people to be content and feel blessed in their every day life. in the comparison thing, the same is true with our family, it’s never a good idea to compare our husbands, kids, moms or other people to other peoples lives. People hide all sorts of things. The fastest way to be unhappy is to start comparing ourselves to other people.

    1. All you have written in this column about not always comparing is so on point. I constantly fight my inner demons of jealousy and comparing what others have ,that I do not. It is a prayer I say daily for God to help me with this and it has made my life so much happier when I count my many blessings and stop lusting after the things others have. Thankyou for reminding me. You are a very wise woman.

  35. Thank you Ann! What a wonderful post. Actually it can be applied to most things in our lives. Keep the great ideas coming and thank you for giving me permission to love my home as it is. Pat

  36. Wise commentary for sure. Do not let anyone – a blogger, influencer, neighbor, expensive home catalog, make you feel you aren’t quite up to their standards. Don’t let anyone pressure you to spend money you can’t afford to live up to expectations. In our neighborhood my husband calls it the WOW factor. I mean, 3 homes in a row installed in ground pools over a 3 year period – 5 car garages are the norm – really?? They are impressing no one but themselves. Live in your home, keep it neat and tidy, and perhaps develop a plan to redecorate a room when time and money allow. Enjoy your family, good meals taken at home together, build an emergency fund for a rainy day – that’s what is important.

  37. Stephanie says:

    So true! Almost a year after taking a direct hit from hurricane Laura and 6 weeks later hurricane Delta, we are still trying to put things back together. Sometimes it seems like it will never happen and it is so easy to get overwhelmed. I needed these words this morning. Thank you.

  38. Janine Halama says:

    Thank you so much for your article on not comparing your home to others. This is Just what I needed to see this morning. Sometimes things seem overwhelming and we need to be reminded it’s not a race and to do things one at a time. This way you can have a feeling of accomplishment instead of failure! Love you and your website!❤️

  39. Judy Rogers says:

    Great advise, thank you for the reminder!

  40. Ann,
    This is just perfect. I love the quote and will remind myself to read/remember it when I’m scrolling through IG. I am a ‘glass half full’ but the draw of a beautiful home can be irresistible. I so appreciate your taking the time to remind me that what really matters has nothing to do with perfection in decor.
    Have a wonderful 4th of July.
    xo,
    Karen

  41. Wonderful post! I think everyone struggles with those thoughts every once in a while! I love my home. Our deck is in horrible shape and bothers me immensely. However, lumber prices are terrible and my husband is trying to get his career established in real estate after being fired last year. So the deck has to wait for sure. Meanwhile I will plant the flowers and decorate it to make the best of it. I try to remember that when I feel I am lacking or my home isn’t good enough there could be someone that looks at what I have and wishes they had what I have. It is always a good feeling to be content with what the Lord has given to me. I do try to be grateful. Thank you for this post abd I hope you have a wonderful Independence Day!

  42. Thank you for the reminder that small changes to a room can lift sagging spirits. I needed your encouragement. Instead of fretting that we don’t have the time or money for full-scale makeovers, I’m focusing on what we can do with the time and money we have.

  43. Therese Wilmoth says:

    Thank you so much for sharing! I love social media but also hate it for the very reasons you spoke about! We have had four homes in the past twenty years and learning to make each one my own and love it has at times been a challenge. Thank you for the advice and ideas to make it mine and love it just the way it is!

  44. Charlene Brummitt says:

    This is perfect advice! Thanks again Ann.

  45. Brilliant, just what I needed, to perk me up after looking at my daughters brand new home. I loved the quote and your words of wisdom which were so true. Like you I’ve been in my home for 30 years and it’s seen 6 children and numerous dogs and cats grow up here, so it is well used, but I do love it and yes you do need to remember why you fell in love with it in the first place and how with little inexpensive changes you can breathe in a bit of newness to it. Thank you.

  46. Carol Vickery says:

    This has been my mantra for years and I am so happy to read this on your blog….but…..that being said,
    I cannot count the times these words have come out of my mouth: “I know material possessions aren’t supposed to make us happy but I really like this coffee cup, vase, blanket, _____ ”

    I love finding joy in the little things (perfect example: your blog)

    Happy Independence Day weekend, everyone.

  47. Jan Fusco says:

    Thanks! I needed this. Love the quote. I enjoy your site so much.

    1. Loved this! Angel Chernoff quote is the best.

      1. Thank you so much!!! Needed to hear ( read ) all of this! Love the quote! Love following you and all your posts and ideas! Learned a lot!!

  48. Claudia BLISS says:

    I look at it a little differently. My logical brain knows there will always be something in life to change and get done. When I see other places with crazy great things I want, I use it as inspiration. I put it on the back burner of my brain and know if I love it that much I will get it done sometime in the future. I love getting ideas from everywhere—-internet, you/Ann, magazines, other people’s places and TV. Sharing ideas of what other’s have done is always inspiration to me. Let it uplift you rather than bring you down.

  49. Thank you for such a gentle reminder and wonderful quote. That is perfect. Once again your common sense wisdom shines through. Happy July 4th.

  50. Ronda Thacker says:

    Thank you Ann! I need to read this everyday! Love the quote!! Do you have that one in your “Member library?”

  51. Thank you for the reminder! It is difficult when looking at all the beautiful home pics on Instagram. I need to remind myself why we bought the home in the first place. Have a happy and safe 4th!

  52. Gwen Britt says:

    I enjoy your blog so much ! I notice you have a blue and white pitcher that I love! I too have collected blue and white for years. Do you know where it’s from? I would love to have one! And what color white paint are your walls? I am working on painting my home and I never realized how many whites are out there! Take care and Thank you! Gwen

  53. 5 stars
    Love this post, especially that quote by Angel Chernoff. I’ve learned that making a gratitude list is like hitting a reset button for me. It will change my perspective just by simply focusing on the blessings I do have. Thanks for this post, Ann. I love your blog so much.

  54. Ann, this article is spot on! We recently had to sell our large
    home and move to a first floor condo because of my husbands health.
    It was the best decision we’ve ever made. Yes, I had to let go of a lot
    of “things” but now I can decorate with just me and my husband in mind.
    I find joy in the littlest things, a new pillow or vase can spruce up a room.
    Most of all we are content no matter the circumstances!
    Love your blog and wise words!
    Susan B.

    1. Carol Vickery says:

      Susan B – spot on! You and your words are inspiration.

    2. Kristi Flournoy says:

      I love that quote. Also, your home is beautiful- I love the timeless pieces of decor.

  55. Thanks, Ann – beautifully stated.

  56. Diania Abernathy says:

    5 stars
    Excellent! Very thoughtful and helpful words. We are newly retired and have just begun to slowly cross things off the list. And it’s been satisfying and even more functional, in places, but the happiness wears off. I’m surprised by that every time…..but as you say, it’s the people and the memories we have loved and served here that remain. Share your list! 😍

  57. Melody Walsh says:

    I’ve been home the most I’ve ever been last few years and have been so focused on what it lacks. You changed the way I see it. Thank you!