The Struggle Between Pretty vs. Real

We’ve been in our home for a little over a month now, and I’ve shown you guys bits and pieces of our new space. But in all honesty, I’m really struggling when it comes to sharing room shots that aren’t perfect or done. Yes, we’ve made some serious progress around here but I’m still months and months away from any room reveal or styled after shot, and because things aren’t perfect….I’m hesitant to share.

Right now there is nothing hung on the walls…because I’m afraid I’ll hang a frame and then hate its placement.

empty spot for dining tableRight now we have a huge space that is just begging for a dining room table…but I’m still waiting for inspiration for which dining table to purchase.

Painters Tape CurtainsRight now ย we have curtains taped to the windows with painter’s tape….because I haven’t chosen window treatments yet.

Yep…things are faaaar from perfect. In reality it’s still a big, chaotic, work-in-progress.

I’ve chatted with Bridget about how it’s so hard for me to want to take pictures of spaces that aren’t styled. What if someone pins an in-progress shot? What if someone judges my boxes on the floor or stack of frames taking over that corner?ย It can be scary sharing photos of rooms we absolutely adore and consider “finished,” so you can only imagine how incredibly nerve-racking it is to share photos of a space that is still in the beginning stages. No fresh flowers? No poufy pillows? No styled vignettes on every surface? The horror!

boxes on the floorBut in all seriousness this isn’t a magazine, this is a blog about our real lives and I have to keep reminding myself of that. Yes, I love gorgeous after shots and I’m eager to have every nook & cranny of our home looking amazing. But the best part of any home decorating process is the journey towards that end shot. The thrift store visits with your BFF. The time spent trolling Craigslist to find the perfect chair. The hours spent emailing back and forth with your mom asking her for her opinion on the new rug for the living room. That’s the fun part. That’s the part I love most about DIY and home decor. Sure I love enjoying the completed space, but what I love more is the story behind each piece in the room.

Plus, I haven’t exactly been taking my own design advice. I think it’s essential for anyone living in a new space to really live in the space for awhile to figure out exactly what they need. You might think you want a chair for that corner, but in reality a dresser would be so much more functional. Decorating is a process and it’s important to go slow so you don’t make any design decisions you’ll regret later on. <—easy to say…hard to practice.

curtain with tape on windows progressI’ve decided to change my attitude. Instead of moaning and groaning saying, “There’s so much to be done around here!”, I’m changing my tune to, “Look at all that we’ve accomplished in our new home!” And I really feel like this applies to everyone looking to make their house more of a home.

Master Bedroom PillowsWe all look around our homes, thinking we will love it even more once we replace the couch, or once we get around to adding that backsplash, or whatever is next on the long home to-do list. We think we’ll be happier, more content, once that item is checked off our list. But in reality, we should celebrate all of the hard work that got us to this point. It’s the small victories that lead to that big win.

Plant Basket RugSo that means that you’re gonna get a little more real life and a little less eye candy around here. And it all starts on Friday, when I show you the amazing new rug for our master bedroom. ย It’s the first step towards curating a master bedroom that my husband and I both adore. The rug is perfect, the rest of the room needs some TLC. But hey…that’s a-okay.




  • Summer Hogan

    I love real life! Can’t wait to see!

    • Thanks so much Summer! Love how you kept it real with some renovation shots in the distance of your fall photos. Real life always wins out and I love it!

  • Heather

    No one really has room to judge…..isnt everyone’s house a project in progress?! Ive been in my house for 2.5 years and we are STILL working on rooms. Can’t wait to see what you come up with

  • Lara Gephart

    I needed this so much today! I was just lamenting to a co-worker about how my house is a chaotic mess since we are in the middle of a major bathroom renovation (that is slowly turning into a two bathroom renovation…). We have a bathtub, vanity and toliet sitting in the middle of our living room, tools galore in the hallway leading to the bathroom and my make up table is basically a makeshift table by my bed. It makes everyday a little extra stressful, but I’m slowly realizing that I need to learn to love the process. All the hard work and stress will hopefully make me appreciate the finished product even more ๐Ÿ™‚

    P.S. I am DYING over those floors. GORGEOUS.

    • Lara….so happy to hear I’m not alone on this wanting-it-to-be-done-and-perfect-journey! Good luck with the renovation..what an exciting time! And the end product is just going to be that much sweeter.

      Thanks for the kind comment about the floors. We are loving them #gamechanger

  • Casey- I am soooo glad you are allowing us to see the WHOLE process and not just a “clean” before shot of the space. I love the behind the scenes look at your home!

    • Thanks for your support Elise. It can definitely be scary putting it all out there, but I’m gonna do my best ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I do exactly the same thing! I complain about our ugly fireplace, not realizing that the rest of the living room is coming along quite nicely. Or that our front porch needs some sprucing up, not focusing on the fact that the front yard isn’t a bunch of weeds anymore. We’ve only been in our house for a year, and we’ve done a LOT in that time. I just see the finished product in my head and want it NOW!

    • Vineta, I’m so glad to hear I’m not alone! It can be discouraging to think of all that’s left to be done…instead of focusing on all the great stuff we’ve accomplished! Now go enjoy that front yard and living room ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I understand the struggle and wanting everything to seem perfect BUT most of us don’t live like that and I know you girls probably don’t either. We want everything to look perfect, especially on the internet and with Pinterest and all that but it’s also nice to see rooms come together naturally, gradually. The in-progress shots can still be inspiring!

    • You are so right Diana! Thanks for the encouragement.

  • Thanks for the support, Allison! I too love seeing a “behind the scenes” glimpse!

  • Totally agree Annette! Thanks!

  • Ashley

    Great post! I love the beautiful after shots as much as the next girl, but its the progress and steps that are so much easier to relate to my life and home! I know that the internet is full of judgement and it can be scary, but as a blog reader I love that you are willing to share the steps along the way! Looking forward to more work-in-progress posts, because any real house is always a work-in-progress. Thanks Casey ๐Ÿ™‚

    • You’re the sweetest, Ashley! Thanks for the support!

  • Patricia Carlson

    This is perfect and something I know I really needed to see. I often get so hung up on how perfect everyone else’s life seems online. But in reality – the mess might be just out of the frame of the shot. We’re all human.

    • Right? Hit the nail on the head Patricia. I love ogling so many gorgeous images online…but that’s not reality! Gotta keep reminding myself that.

  • If you didn’t have boxes everywhere and places in progress then you wouldn’t be so great at this lovely blog! We still love you even if your house isn’t perfect ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Awwww you’re too sweet Sarah. Thanks for the love (& yes…boxes still happening around here. Ha!)

  • Colleen Bansley

    I could not agree with you more! I always tell my clients that are looking at homes and buying new homes “You can’t do everything you want all at once”. A. It’s expensive and B. I truly believe you have to live in your home for a while and settle in to decide what you really want to put on that empty wall, or finding the right piece of furniture to fit the space, or even the right color to paint or repaint a room. You never know where and when you will be inspired by style and design for your home.We had wood blinds installed on all our windows about 3 years after we moved in and I forgot 1 window, one of my favorite windows in our home- the one over the kitchen sink. I am glad I did forget because a few years later my friend who is an interior designer helped me pick out a fabulous fabric to make a roman shade, and I am obsessed and love it. It adds texture and some pattern to that space, but the colors fit in so well! It makes it more fun and exciting to take your time and go room by room or wall by wall.

    • Colleen, I love that story! How awesome that you were then able to do a window treatment that you absolutely adored! Makes me feel better about the fact that we have z.e.r.o. window treatments going on around here. Unless you count Finn’s makeshift painter’s tape job…then we got 1 window covered. hehe

  • I think the before and the progress shots will make the grand reveal all the more exciting. I mean, we don’t see enough online these days the hard work that goes into these beautiful shots. I’ve heard so many people complain about how unrealistic blogs have become and that all of the pictures are just set up to be pin-worthy and insta-glamorous. And that’s true – isn’t it?

    I’m really excited to see your progress – even if it means seeing some boxes and taped up curtains (btw that’s kind of genius).

    • hahaha not sure if genius is a good word. They’ve since fallen! We’re now using tacks tucked into the molding around the window to keep them secure. #fail

    • Aww darn ๐Ÿ˜€ Well, it sounded like a good idea anyways!

  • Erin Heckber

    So refreshing to see! It is such a slow moving process of getting my rooms complete and I have lived there for over a year. Only seeing the end sometimes makes it seem like it is a fast process, seeing and knowing that making a place a home is refreshing. Thank you!

  • Amy, I’m so happy I’m not alone! Isn’t it hard to figure out what to do next..when there’s so much to do? The indecisiveness is the hardest part. I don’t want to make a “mistake”! But taking it slow is the way to go…or at least I keep reminding myself of that ๐Ÿ™‚

    Good luck with your home!