Relationship goals – My space & me

My name is Lauren (aka Lo), and I’m so excited for the chance to talk about my relationship with design and my space! Interior design has always been a big part of my life, but not just in a visual way, not even as a career I ever aspired to have, there has just always been something about how the way a space I love makes me feel. It feels like something that has always been a part of me, but in more recent years has become something I really connected with, and learned just how much your space can influence your state of mind. 

I’m from Ontario, but moved to Montreal a few years ago. I was starting a new chapter in my life, moved here on my own without knowing anyone so I arrived with a mattress and a bag full of fear! I was leaving behind my beautiful apartment with my mum, the space I called home. I started in a tiny 400 square foot apartment with zero closets, but I loved its charm and I knew that I could put it together nicely for myself. And brand new to Instagram, I decided to start sharing photos as I put together my first apartment, then later had the chance to move across the hall into a slightly bigger space, where I am now. I realized that creating a nice space for myself was going to be the one thing that really helped me feel secure while I adjusted to this big life change.

Moving to Montreal I remember thinking, if you can’t create a nice sanctuary for yourself you will regret this move and want to go back - Never mind the fears and insecurities around being alone in a new city! - So it quickly became apparent that I left that wonderful space I called home, and it’s now what I need to make for myself. Designing my space has always meant so much more than pretty objects and subjective design ‘trends’, it’s my dearest relationship that I always grow with and learn from. I started with a blank canvas which really let me develop a connection because every inch of my home became something I created. 

It took my first big move to truly realize the power and influence of my space, the journey from having left a space I loved, to then becoming the most important thing I was able to do for myself. I have been able to use my home as a way to reflect who I am, in a form I am comfortable sharing. I look inward and always tell myself, you are doing this for you. I have been fortunate to have a platform to share my visual story, and I can now look back and see that this journey of designing my space is exactly what got me through the toughest transition of my life. Design to me is a relationship, it’s where I place my love. It’s fickle and fluid which lets me always work on it and adapt with it, not at all in an unsettled way, but as an expression of the passion I feel. 

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‘Inspo’ Overload

With a world of inspiration at our fingertips, there can become a fine line between feeling inspired and comparing yourself, doubting yourself. There is a beautiful and positive side to immersing yourself in all of this inspiration, but sometimes without even knowing it, negative thoughts about ourselves can be forming. 

We live in a time where ask SO much of our self-esteem. How to stay strong, trust ourselves and our choices when every time you look at a screen you are basically put in a position to compare yourself. Its human nature, it’s in all of us to feel this way, so it’s a tough challenge to protect ourselves from the bad thoughts while still appreciating what the shared world of inspiration can bring us.

I have a platform where my home may act as a source of inspiration to others and I am forever grateful to offer that. The positive response I receive is so appreciated and inspires me as well. But I also love the chance to encourage people to look inward for inspiration when creating their space. Because I build more from a feeling than a visual, I see it as such a special part of your space. That’s something that comes from within. If you had an idea, saw a piece of furniture, art, etc. that immediately gave you that excited feeling then that’s the feeling you want to bring into your home. It can be too easy for us to then jump onto design platforms, see something different and think what you loved maybe isn’t ‘trending’ and then talk yourself out of it. There is no point in falling in love with a space that will never be yours. 

I find that I go into ‘protection mode’ to help me battle the self-doubt that comes along with the world of inspiration. I am human, I have not mastered a strong enough self-esteem to “not care”, so I like to surround myself with sources that I can draw inspiration from that isn’t a direct comparable to my situation. I love flowers and fashion. I can feel so inspired by textures, colour palettes and juxtapositions that come from these sources that it usually contributes to many of my interior choices. And in the process, I’ve appreciated it as true inspiration because it inspired me to recognize what I love in it, and still execute it into a form that I created for myself. 

Sometimes maybe you just see a sofa and it’s exactly what you were looking for, perfect. But sometimes you are seeing more than an individual item and when trying to recreate it, the same loving feeling isn’t there. Recognize how much “you” infused into your space is really what gives you that wonderful feeling of home. Limit your world of inspiration to what makes you feel good, and pay attention to what it is that you are looking at that gives you the good feeling. And then anything you see that makes you frustrated that you don’t have it, cut it out of your visual world. It’s no longer inspiration. Let your home be you and own it because it’s a really special thing to give yourself.   

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Visual Prep

Interior decor talk: But how will it look in my space? - It’s very easy to fall in love with things that you see in a store, online, or in someone else’s space, but how it feels when you bring it into your home can be very different. Of course marketing tactics will show pieces in the most flattering way. You will see staged settings, colour selections grouped together like a lovely rainbow, online editing and lighting will be set just right, and so on. These are all powerful tricks on the eyes which doesn’t just sell an object, its selling a vision. The hard part is focusing on the piece you like, cutting out the surrounding visuals, and thinking about it in your space. 

Everyone has a different mind when it comes to visualizing. Not everyone can just look at a piece, take it out of context and have a good sense of how it will fit into your own space. Just like the attractive marketing tricks might sell us on it, I use tricks inside my own home to help me feel more confident of how it will look and feel if it were in my space. For bigger changes I find it very helpful to start with a clear area. So whether new furniture, art, or decor, if you clear the space in your home just enough to take any other major objects out of your line of sight, it will let you help visualize a new piece much easier. Because now your eyes aren’t focused on what’s already there which can distort your image. 

When you add or change design in your home, it has a big impact on how the entire space then feels. You won’t be looking at just the individual item, you will be looking at it amongst everything that surrounds it. So thinking about your line of sight is so important.  It means thinking about the surrounding colours, scale and lighting. To prep for this I like to create a comparable, ‘mock’ setup and live with it before I bring in a new piece. For scale it can be as simple as tracing out the dimensions of a piece and finding something in the home that can be shaped to a similar size, this way your eyes can get used to the presence of the piece and the room it will take up when you add it. Its less about checking the dimensions and making sure something will “fit”, but feeling it in your space and how it impacts the room an scale of its surrounding area. Changing colour palettes is a huge impact on your space. New colours for fabric furniture, bed linens, it changes the whole feel of the room and can be the hardest to anticipate. For this, I almost always have something in the house that can help me visualize a new colour palette before I commit. I have laid out clothing on the floor to create a fake bed set which lets me see different colours together and also how it will look in my room, I have taped sweaters on my wall that may be a similar colour or shade to new art I am considering. And even when you don’t have anything exact, the biggest impact comes from changing dark to light, light to dark. So maybe you have a dark sofa today, considering a lighter colour then throw a white sheet or light towels over it to let your mind absorb the change. 

Visual prep can be simple tricks, but it plays a huge part in avoiding the dreaded disappointment of falling in love with something, but being underwhelmed when it’s brought into your space. When shopping around you can’t buy the feeling that comes with design in your home, so with some prep you can help translate the image into how it will feel bringing you one step closer to confidently choosing what’s right for your home.   

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