See the house with a visitor’s eye

How often do you think about how you live? What do you surround yourself with, what style is your interior? Today I would like to suggest you take a look at your home with a visitor’s eye. It is a very interesting exercise that can lead you to amazing discoveries.

Let me start by confessing something to you

In my distant childhood, I went on a visit to Holland. While in England, windows were lined with lace curtains and thick drapes, hiding all the details of our interiors, I saw quite the opposite. Huge windows, completely uncovered, also after dark, made the view of the flat available to every passer-by.
I watched these interiors with delight and almost maniacal adoration, walking around the housing estate every evening, amazed that people so freely make their lives available for public inspection. Of course, nobody did it. Only I, like a dog, let off the chain, ran around the neighbourhood with my eyes wide open (and probably my mouth too), trying to code as many details of these beautiful arrangements as possible. And I had a few years on my hands.

To this day, that curiosity about interiors has stayed with me. Fortunately, I don’t have to look in people’s windows or through the keyhole, because I am a frequent visitor to various homes and my needs are met on a regular basis 🙂

Now you, deep down inside admit how many times you’ve looked into someone’s windows to see how they live? And do not pretend that this does not concern you. This “peeping in the windows” also takes place through reading blogs about home decoration, observing how celebrities live, browsing interior design magazines, and the most fun is exploring all the nooks and crannies in the flat of friends to whom we came for the first time for a visit. In each of these cases, we are driven by the same curiosity. We register details, we pick up nuances, we scan ideas, we have a sharpened sense of observation, in other words, we NOTICE.

And how do we see our own interiors? What do you notice about yourself? What do you look at, what do you register? I guarantee you that this is not the same as what your guest sees!

So I propose you an experiment, not at all easy or obvious.

Try looking at your flat with a guest’s eye.

This exercise can bring surprising results! The truth is that we don’t treat our everyday life with care, attention to detail or curiosity. Rather, we tend to take it for granted. And I am not talking strictly about cleaning.

Let me give you an example.

My house is open to guests. People often visit us, but because I like to be prepared, I make sure it’s always by appointment. I like to tidy up, cook something, bring everything into order and tidiness, which please do not confuse with pedantry. I need to feel that it’s nice, pleasant, clean and the house is waiting for guests to feel comfortable.

And so, once upon a time, we were hosting new friends, who first (classically) inspected our entire house. The conversation went on for a long time about the secrets of interior design. Standard. The conversation continued in a lovely atmosphere. At the next meeting, however, this friend shot me with a question: “Why don’t you have a wardrobe door in the hall? Is that some kind of artistic idea?”.

The gold dust settled and I was knocked to the ground. My guest had noticed something I hadn’t paid attention to for years!!! We haven’t had a wardrobe door since we moved here because first we were held back by lack of finances, then blocked by a million ideas among which we couldn’t find the best one (a shoeless cobbler…), and finally we just stopped circling our thoughts around the matter.

We forgot about it. It hid under the pile of everyday life. Besides, the convenience of reaching for a jacket without opening the door doesn’t particularly mobilise either.

When I got home, I looked at the wretched wardrobe with a visitor’s eye and discovered a row of jackets, shelves full of shoes, a hoover in the corner, and a stack of suitcases and bags on top. But the view, damn it! It’s no artistic intention, just the mundane of life.

But the fact is that for us householders, such a wardrobe has become a common component of our landscape. But for my guest… It was a cold shower for me. And not because she embarrassed me with the question, but because I realised what I don’t see in my own home. What I don’t notice, although in any one else’s house I would certainly pay attention to it.

I started to take this insight to other parts of the house. And I discovered further shortcomings, in terms of unfinished ideas, inconsistencies of style, lack of concept.  A beloved, colourful home, my home groomed and cared for, and yet there is still work to be done.

That is why I encourage you to look at your interior with a guest’s eye. When you return home after work or a walk, enter the house as if someone had just invited you here and look around in all the corners with curiosity, as if you were seeing the interior for the first time. What you will see – I do not know. But did you know all that will now appear before your eyes? Write, share.

You can discover how nice and stylish you live. How you like that colour on the wall, how you warmly perceive the familiar disorder among the books or love that lamp in the corner of the room. But you may also notice that the curtains don’t match the colour of the sofa, the flower pots should stand in a different place, and the painting on that wall doesn’t look the best.

Try looking “through the window” with the curiosity of a guest who doesn’t know the interior. Will you discover that it is cold and empty, or perhaps cosy but with a lot of disorder? Every scenario is possible and every glance can prove to be a valuable lesson for you. A small discovery can have a big effect. Or a big discovery will mobilise some action, put off for years.

Since my friend’s valuable question, I try to notice my house with a visitor’s eye from time to time. I really like this exercise, because it changes the perspective of seeing one’s familiar angles. Thanks to it, I started to look for my style again, I set off on a journey for what I like, what I identify with, what is “mine”. I started to work on my interior, which has undergone quite a metamorphosis. And all thanks to my guest’s curiosity:)

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