Have you ever been in a creative rut or completely afraid to take creative risks when decorating your home?
When I was in fourth grade, (in 1980-something) we didn’t have a consistent art teacher. Our regular fourth-grade teacher would let us free paint with our own art materials at our desks.
I used to love these moments!
My girlfriends and I would paint flowers, houses with curtains, and little stick figure people. We would compare to see whose stick figure looked the most realistic. Because that’s what really mattered in fourth grade.
One day, something different happened. The teacher told us to paint. But, I didn’t paint the typical house and stick figure family.
Instead, I painted a free-form rose that looked like a blob. It didn’t look like a perfect rose. What would everyone think?
In fact, I was so embarrassed by my rose, I quietly folded it up and threw it in the garbage.
Five minutes later, I heard the teacher ruffle through the garbage can and he discovered my crumpled artwork. In a stern voice, he said, “Whose work is this?”
Immediately, my face felt hot and I started sweating. I had two choices to make.
- Raise my hand and own my work, but then everyone would laugh at me because it was a rose blob and not a perfect house with flowers and stick people.
- Stay quiet and ignore the teacher.
I chose to stay quiet and ignore the teacher.
The teacher shrugged his shoulders while all the students stared at him. I thought he was going to rip up the horrible painting in front of the whole class and tell us that it was horrible. What he did next surprised me!
He stated, “Well, this is the most beautiful painting, and I’m going to hang it up on the bulletin board!”
That rose blob stayed on the bulletin board the whole school year. I never ever said that I painted it. It was my little secret. Moreover, it was a secret that gave me the confidence to explore my creativity.
Today, people tell me all the time, “You are so creative, you are so artsy, your house is amazing!” I always say “Thank you,” but in my heart, I go back to that embarrassed little girl who won’t take ownership for her work. It takes courage and creative risk to put myself out there.
Yet, for many, these creative risks don’t come easily.
As women, it’s difficult to honor the full range of our creative experience. Creativity is more than just making art. It’s about experiencing visual harmony and feeling at peace in our space.
So whether you are painting on a piece of paper, painting your front door, or arranging photos on your mantel, it all requires the same amount of creative risk.
Lately, I love the idea of creating harmonious spaces in my home. The idea of hygge or creating a sense of belonging and connection. It’s more the ability to create a cozy mood. As fall approaches, I think about rearranging photos, adding a textured blanket on my couch, or setting my kitchen table.
While creativity is second nature to me, for many it’s not intuitive. That’s why, in my free Design Family group on Facebook, I recently asked, “what stops you from feeling creative when decorating your home?”
Some said they are strapped for time, exhausted, overwhelmed, stuck in a rut, or wrapped up in their kids’ schedules.
But what if creating a harmonious home could be easy? What would that mean to you?
Taking creative risks are super scary and hard. Especially if you haven’t grown up with the language to express yourself. Maybe you feel embarrassed, unsure, fearful of criticism if you add those bright loud pillows to your couch instead of the neutral ones you know are more popular.
Taking creative risks takes practice and having a growth mindset is key.
What are some easy ways to take creative risks?
Go out on an artist’s date with yourself
- Go read a decor magazine with a cup of coffee
- Check out a local shop like Home Goods, Target, or IKEA.
- Even if it’s 10 minutes as you drink your coffee. Turn off electronics and brainstorm creative things that make you happy.
- Here’s a really cool list of creative prompts.
Play and doodle
- Keep a journal and sketch out ideas.
- Cut out inspiration photos from your favorite decor magazines.
Identify your creative myths
- Who has stopped you from feeling creative?
- What would you tell that person today?
Identify your creative strengths
- If you could give your creativity a voice, what would it say?
- Make a list of 5 creative things you like to do.
Some myths about creativity are that you need time, money, and energy to execute. In reality, creativity is a state of being. It can be going outside for a walk and admiring a shape of a tree branch, or the vibrant color of a flower, or how the deep orange color of the sunset. It’s about noticing.
Creativity can mean hanging out with a friend and looking at magazines and talking about what color you should paint your front door.
It can mean creating a space that feels cozy, happy, and relaxing in your home.
In the end, creativity is a language that everyone needs! What stops you from feeling creative?