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Tuesday, October 1, 2019

My love-hate relationship with Pinterest and why I'm avoiding it while I design my bathroom


inspiration photo


Hello friends.

Well.

I'm finally renovating my upstairs bathroom and I'm noticing that it's actually been a good distraction for me. Any activity or person or place that provides some temporary relief for the heaviness in my chest--is something I'm grateful for, and while I'm at it, I want to thank you too for being SO supportive after my last post. It's astonishing to me that so many of you have chosen to follow along with me as I move through this dark tunnel.

I really do feel blessed.

Ok. So how bout a purely light topic for today? I thought I'd tell you about my bathroom project and share some thoughts about Pinterest with you and I'd love to hear what you think too.

It's been a while since I've done any renovations around here and I've been pining all kinds of bathroom inspiration off Pinterest for awhile now, trying to make up my mind about the final look I want for this guest bathroom.

I typically begin each home project with some kind of inspiration piece that forms the basis of my design look. And this time it's an old corner cabinet that I found in an antique booth, hidden underneath piles of dusty blankets, wooden signs and dishes. It was dark and pretty gloomy looking but because it was a corner unit I thought it would fit (of course I didn't measure anything).




shown in two pieces; glass section on top.

Plus--- I couldn't resist the $80 price so I bought it with the hope that it would work in this bathroom someday. Personally I've always wanted to use a piece of furniture in the bathroom for storage, and so with this purchase I felt like this project was off and running. And as of today it's official. I found out this corner cabinet will fit (hooraaay) and I'll be sharing some pictures soon --because of course I ended up stripping it.

Fast forward a few months. Because once I got father along in the planning stages of this bathroom, I started to notice this weird love-hate-thing happening between Me and my Pinterest app; it mostly happened when the time came to make decisions about what tile and lighting and shower fixtures to buy. 

And I wonder if you can relate.

First of all. I have to say this upfront. I can't overstate the value of seeing home design ideas and products and trends with your own eyes, as presented  by so many talented designers and homeowners on Pinterest. And as a visual person I'm so grateful for the ability to see certain looks that I'm interested in, in real homes. Pinterest is an endless source of inspiration. And the best part is how easy it is to click on and have instant access to unique design details and beautifully coordinated rooms that most of us would never see otherwise.

So you see?
I love Pinterest.

However-- when it was time for me to start making decisions about my little ol' bathroom, I began to stay away from it.

And it's because I started to feel like it was messing with my mind. 

Do you remember a time when we weren't all so acutely aware of what styles and products were trending in the interior design world? A time when we didn't know what 'everyone' was loving except maybe our neighbor down the street who just re-did her bathroom according to her own taste.

For the first time I noticed that Pinterest actually made me second-guess my decision. And I didn't like it. 

I started to ask myself some creative questions like,

Is Pinterest turning us all into scared conformists when it comes to decorating our own homes?

Is Pinterest turning Diy-Home-Decorators into the equivalent of Stepford-Wife Design Clones?

Here's why I'm asking.

As a lifestyle blogger of ten years, I'm been noticing that so many Blogger Home Tours are starting to look a lot alike. And while I love aspects of the hip, mid-modern rooms and I love the farmhouse style that seems to be everywhere now--(gosh knows I put planks in my own beach home)--I do notice that I click over a lot more blogger homes on these tours than I visit now.  

Maybe it's just me. But I find myself searching for a home tour that has that 'something different' feel, a home that doesn't look so sleek and "designer" and rooms that aren't so perfectly staged. 

I realize that blogging has changed dramatically since I started, and it's a thriving business for some which might explain so much similarity out there. Also I feel uncomfortable when I see children stiffly posing in some of these blogger shots. So much time and energy and focus on showcasing "perfection"makes me uncomfortable. A perfect looking family in a perfect looking room just seems like a bit much.
But that's a whole other subject.

My simple point was that too much Pinterest-gazing through homes and rooms leaves me craving that warm-worn-enough- lived-in look. A house that doesn't look like everyone else's. 

Remember good old Kitty Bartholomew on HGTV in the pre-Magnolia Farm days? At least she had the nerve to wrap an entire dining room with plastic bubble wrap. I know, I know. But what a Anti-Pinterest thing to do right?



Decorator "group-think"

If you visit my Pinterest Bathroom board you can see my impulsive brain at work, pining random pictures of rooms I like. Reacting on pure creative instinct, which is good. But afterwards, I try to decide how much of what I'm pinning actually "feels" like Me. As opposed to creating a room that's just a safe copy of a popular design look.

Here's what I do when I'm working on a house project and I want to detach from the power of decorator "group-think."

I give myself the luxury of time. I'll take a break from Pinterest and allow my different choices to ruminate in my head, sometimes for days. I think it's important not to rush the thinking process that's involved when making your creative decisions. And when I pull away from all the visual stimulation on Pinterest or from my online research ideas I notice a creative quietness comes, and I'll begin to  tap into my gut feelings. 

Later I'll notice. I'll literally be walking down the stairs and I'll feel myself leaning toward a certain direction or choice that suddenly seems obvious and 'right' to me. And it's based on me getting in touch with ME--as opposed to feeling influenced by others.
 Next time I'll show you what I'm planning.

Those are a few of my random thoughts lately. I'd love to hear yours.

In the meantime I thought I would amuse myself by taking some pictures around my home and showing you my absurd sense of humor. It helps that my personal motto whenever I'm stressing about a decorating decision is, "it's only a house."

Here you go:




13 quirky signs that your home is probably NOT on a Pinterest board




you pin thrift store hats to the wall with cheap tacks that can be seen by other human beings




you have plants that remain mysteriously alive


your pillows always have that perfect 'someone just sat on me' look


you collect old things that you forget to use




you prefer instant floral arrangements

your vintage crystal sparkles with a magical layer of dust.

you avoid buying trendy things for your home

 You find the idea of covering your Winston Churchill books (p. 1949) because they don't 'match' your dรฉcor, sacrilegious 



you stopped caring if things go together and it feels good



your chandelier resembles an upside down laundry basket

You accept that your dog's black fur balls are always on the white stair treads



You painted your bathroom without first testing the color because you were in a hurry




You once asked a stranger standing next to you in the upholstery shop to help you pick our the nail heads on your chairs


Ok, enough already. I could keep adding to this but I better go get some things done. I'd love to hear if you can relate to this post.

xoxo
love-love-love to you,


Leslie



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36 comments:

Mimi92409@gmail.com said...

Oh this made me feel good!

Kim said...

Ha! I can relate to the last one. It seems I have to ask one or maybe several people their opinions when I'm making decorating decisions, but then I go with my gut regardless of what they say. Why do I do this? ...I love your home.

sandi s said...

I love your post today! All your comments and different pictures makes me think you’ve been to my house. LOL Hugs,

Lori said...

OMG - I can absolutely relate. I went thru the same thing when I was redoing the living room. You just have to follow your heart and pick what you like - not because everyone else is doing it. And those blog hop house tours, I don't even bother anymore. A few years back they made me feel terrible about my house, no make that my home. Comparison is the thief of joy so now I just skip them. xo

Unknown said...

Thank you! I keep reading about and noticing pins of bookcases that are beautifully "styled" and seeing the warnings that you shouldn't put too many books in them. Well, books are what my bookcases were built for and I like seeing books in them. I did follow Kitty Bartholomew's advice to throw away all my book covers and it didn't take me long to regret that. I like the covers that publishers put on our books so I started keeping them again. Pinterest is a wonderful resource and I love it but our home, while I want it to be wonderfully beautiful, will still be "us". I hope it is pretty but more than that, I hope it welcomes family and friends.

Karen said...

Leslie,
I agree, there's so much lovely out there, but I have to remind myself what style I truly believe to be mine. Otherwise, I find I'm flitting about with the beauty of other people's style...getting distracted.
I admire your style partly because it's original and fresh. I get the love/hate with Pinterest, but it sure is a great tool, right?
xo,
Karen

Wendy Johnson said...

Yes, I can relate . It made me feel good too..

Leslie Harris said...

Hi Mimi,
thank you for reading my post and letting me know you liked it!

Leslie Harris said...

Hi Kim,

I can relate to you. I think it's always interesting to hear what others might think, as long as it doesn't confuse us more. I'm glad you end up following your own instincts.

xo

Leslie Harris said...

Sandi,

Thank you for your comment, I'm so glad you liked this post.
(Sounds like we have similar tastes too)

xo
L

Leslie Harris said...


Lori,

I agree with you. I'm such a believer in that quote about comparisons. And I know exactly what you mean about following your heart. I do think it's a form of self care to recognize those triggers that can make us feel bad about who we are. Especially during periods when we're vulnerable. BTW- I always loved those times when you shared you home on your blog, it was so warm and lovely, very cozy.

Leslie Harris said...


Unknown,

What a wonderful attitude you have about your home. You're so right, it's nice to have a pretty home but the most important thing is the love and good times and memories that are created there. On the bookshelf issue I tend to agree with you. I love being surrounded by books and my shelves probably look a lot like yours. Interesting point you made about Kitty B. I didn't know she once told viewers to remove the book covers.

xo

Leslie Harris said...


Karen,

Yes, great point about being distracted by other people's beauty. And I agree with you about Pinterest, it's such an incredible source of inspiration. I do love all that eye candy!

Blondie's Journal said...

First, the random photos around your home are a perfect reflection of how imperfect you are and acceptance of that. I think every piece and pillow is beautiful!

Funny, I'm doing one of our bathrooms now as well. My inspiration was my infatuation with a retro sort of black and white penny tile. It was laid down a few days ago. Now I'm lost. Should I do a black and white theme? Would that be overkill? Do I stick with a vintage/retro/modern vibe? I did search Pinterest. Many of the bathrooms were much lager then mine (the same for porches and decks ๐Ÿ˜). I didn't find much inspiration. From experience, ๐Ÿ˜”I'll go with my gut and it won't be a quick process.

I do get the powerful ideology on Pinterest, IG, and blogging. I try to adhere to the good side, that people want to share their homes and ideas, creativity, etc. But when trends are used over and over, I know in an instant that someone is trying to be "in the know". It's useless to me and I hope many wisen up to this. Trends change so quickly; pick something in the photos you are drawn to...let the cards fall as they may when you follow your instincts.

Blah, blah, blah...keep us posted on this project. I will do the same. I'm off to see if I read your last post and please know I got off my ass and posted yesterday!

Jane ❤️

michele said...

Hi Leslie! So many thoughts about this topic that I'll probably need to post about it myself. Pinterest is a search engine like Google so i love it for finding a recipe or tutorial or tablescape inspiration. But I don't hang out on it like I do on FB so I can't say I get distracted. What shows up in your Pinterest feed is a result of who you follow so keep in mind there are worlds of inspiration from beautiful sources we may unfortunately never see thanks to how the algorithm works. The reason we see so much repetitive design is in part due to trends and a blog's popularity. I would guess that most folks who use Pinterest are interested in trends. I wonder if the root of your dissatisfaction is due to viewing Pinterest through the lens of a design/decor blogger when Pinterest is geared to non-bloggers. Lots of folks desire for decorating to be de-mystified and deconstructed and quick and easy. It's why I offer those 'get the look' posts. My blog has become geared toward the needs of readers, and most readers are NOT bloggers. As a seasoned decorator, you know that evolution takes time, but many home decorators want to check that room off the list and be done with decor or they are concerned about neutralizing for resale. So keep in mind Pinterest works well for those tasks. From my perspective, it is why decor blogs and decor inspiration blogs are still so relevant and attractive even with Pinterest getting all the attention. We need these little, more thoughtfully curated pockets of inspiration like Gwen Moss. Lastly, when approaching my own projects at home, I can't say Pinterest does any more harm than having all these design books and shelter magazines at my disposal. I learn and create from synthesis. Elements of my spiritual walk, of my lifestyle, of my favored color palettes, and of design styles I admire come together and influence my direction and selections - so it is synthesis and an intuitive approach. Maybe Pinterest doesn't become a thorn because I'm so dang cocky when it comes to trusting my intuition with decorating and creating my art pieces! Ha! I honestly don't care if someone thinks my style is too spare and boring. It is working well for my unique sensibilities. So while I'm an influencer (like anyone with or without a blog who posts images and opinions on social media), I always want to encourage readers to be influenced by what feeds their soul. :) Can't wait to watch your progress on the bathroom!

Joi said...

Oh my, I haven’t thought about Kitty Bartholomew in years! I miss those old HGTV shows from years past (definitely dating myself here!)-I don’t even watch that channel anymore with the excess real estate shows and endless House Hunters reruns. And as far as Pinterest is concerned, I wonder how I ever decorated my home without consulting it first. I definitely think my creativity has been squelched a bit with all the perfection out there, but think it has its place when researching paint colors and good recipes. Btw...I love your home, Lesli..a little dog hair and smushed pillows show the love within its walls.

La Contessa said...

GOOD IDEA as I have NEVER done DONE THAT PINTEREST .
I like MY OWN IDEAS!
I LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR FINISHED GUEST BATHROOM!
YOU GOT THIS!!!
XX

Patty said...

So true---things all seem to look the same. I started trying to follow more people on instagram that have eclectic decorating schemes. I went with the gray walls trend in my house, which I love, but I also want to see something of beauty wherever I look in my house---something that makes me feel happy. Our homes should have our individual stamp on them.

Melanie said...

I can relate to this entire post! You are in good company. I think Pinterest is great for design inspiration but in the end, it's really about YOU and what you like. Sometimes it's about trial and error, too.

I have stopped reading or even looking at most of the Big Blogs because like you said, they all pretty much look the same now. I feel like anyone with enough money (or sponsorship) can walk into any Big Box store and start plucking items off the shelves to decorate with. Ho hum! I don't want my home to look like anyone else's. I want to decorate mostly with things that I love or that mean something. Don't get me wrong - some decor items from HomeGoods and the like are simply lovely or cute and look good, too. But not when your entire house is filled with things like that.

You are super creative and your house so beautiful, I just know that whatever you decide for your bathroom will look amazing! Oh - and hello about not testing paint colors. We had our hallway bathroom painted this past spring and I really thought I wanted a darker shade of gray than what we currently had. I think all I did was hold the test strip up on the wall in various places and thought that was OK. Well, turns out I don't like the color at all. It's way too dark. But now I have to live with that for a long time unless I actually repaint the bathroom myself. Which isn't going to happen, lol.

xoxo
Melanie

Jeannine said...

I can so relate and thank you for posting this. I've gotten much inspiration in various ways on Pinterest. I've also felt bad about myself viewing some of the posts as many places appear to be absolute perfection. Many places also look like no one actually lives there. I do agree about the Stepford looks and I've often wondered when we will reach the time when these looks, too, look dated - because many, if not most, of them will.

Leslie Harris said...


Hi Jeannine,

Thanks for reading this post and sharing your own views. It's nice to know that you have a similar reaction to the "perfection" aspect of these shots. It is a double edge sword isn't it? We love looking at these beautiful, dreamy homes but the dreamy part is important to remember. I've had your same reaction, do people really live there? :) Also, good point about the 'dated' part of our design choices. Another reason to choose what We really love rather than following the trends.

Leslie Harris said...

Oh Melanie I have to chuckle at your paint story. I know that feeling of holding up the color swatches to the wall too. So glad the someone else does that (crazy) thing too. I wish I was closer I would go right over to your house and repaint your walls for you. That's the only thing that saves me is that I'm the one who paints around here. :)

Leslie Harris said...

Hi Patty!

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this topic. I love hearing what you think. I also like IG for the diverse artists and designers out there, and you're right, so many eclectic accounts to find and follow.

Leslie Harris said...

Michele.

What would I do without you? Seriously, I'm so grateful you took the time to explain the whole algorithm thing and how it affects what we see on our Pinterest accounts. I'm sad to admit I'm the world's least informed blogger when it comes to the back end of blogging which means I didn't have any idea that algorithms play a part in what I see on Pinterest or even blogs for that matter. Also I'm glad you reminded me that there's an entire audience of professionals and homeowners who might depend on knowing what's popular and what's trending in the design world in order to sell or stage that home. xoxoxo

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

I admit I love Pinterest, too...I get so much inspiration that helps me figure out how I want to do something. Instagram messes with my head a lot more. I've kind of decided to just do what I like and what makes our house feel like home. PS love that corner cupboard and can't wait to see what you do!

hollybholly said...

Hahaha! Those hats slay me! Too funny! thanks for the laugh!

Sophie said...

plants that remain mysteriously alive... lol! That made me laugh. I admire your home style. My fav is the painting, vintage glasses and the statue. Love. I find perfectly staged homes uninteresting even tacky. I prefer homes that look lived-in as well as inviting, like yours. Old & new, mix& match... bits of quirkiness sprinkled throughout the house ~ these homes are what I gravitate towards for inspiration. Thank you for sharing your home decor.

Debra@CommonGround said...

Pinterest is there to give me ideas and let me think about options. It really doesn't influence me much. Instagram on the other hand can turn me into a zombie within a few minutes. I'm attracted to white, vintage, painted furniture etc, but there are times my feed all looks the same. It's all about being a perfect 20/30 something with a farmhouse.(and a dog) Do you think they will someday wake up, look at their surroundings and wish they had just been "themselves"? I've been around long enough to realize that a trend, no matter how fabulous, will be over in at least 10 years. I don't want barn doors and other expensive designs to complain about when I'm super tired of them and so is everyone else. I'm so glad you're in a place now to be able to do this reno, and thanks for coming by to share at the linkup! xoxo

Leslie Harris said...

Holly--I left a comment on your blog.

xo

Leslie Harris said...



Thank you Debra. I appreciate your very wise perspective. I can tell you-know-what-I-mean.

:)

Carla from The River said...

Well said Leslie, this was fun. I like the dog hair on the steps. HOME = DOG HAIR
LOL .. well done Leslie, a fun post.
Carla

Unknown said...

This may be my favorite post. Ever. To not take our selves so seriously is a gift to those around us... Continued prayers for you, Dear One.

cindy hattersley design said...

Hi Leslie
Just catching up. Loved this post. I do still love Pinterest but due to the algorithm it is harder and harder to find the images that we want to see. Thanks for keeping it real. My office looks like the Goodwill at the moment. Never believe any of my photos! There is always a messy spot lurking somewhere!!

mollie's mom said...

Oh yeah!! I keep using the word "homogenous" I can scroll through tons of images in seconds because they all look the same. It worries me and I, like you, have so few bloggers that I visit and read anymore because so many look the same and they are buying the same things and all the house tours look the same. There are some gems out there that I continue to be inspired by - Jamie Meares at I Suwannee, Amanda Louise on IG and blog, M.O Endres on IG are fresh and unique among others. I have been dropping a lot of the "big" accounts because the term "influencer" makes me concerned. I feel like it's a form of peer pressure in a way. Like adult peer pressure. I'm not a shopper and I feel comfortable at this stage of my life with what I like and don't feel "influenced" to go buy a look or feel like I'm lacking because I don't change rooms in my house every three months or whatever it is that's going on. But I do worry about people who do become insecure or saddened about what they feel they can't achieve when it's all so edited! Don't get me wrong I'd love to stay home and do homeowner projects and blog about it for a living but unless thrift stores start sponsoring bloggers I'm out of luck :) Great post, I've been right there with you on Pinterest - I love it but sometimes you have to step away. Can't wait to see your progress - I know it will be fabulous. I'm minimally refreshing my kitchen right now and blogging about it but believe me - it's low low key!!

mollie's mom said...

Oh yeah!! I keep using the word "homogenous" I can scroll through tons of images in seconds because they all look the same. It worries me and I, like you, have so few bloggers that I visit and read anymore because so many look the same and they are buying the same things and all the house tours look the same. There are some gems out there that I continue to be inspired by - Jamie Meares at I Suwannee, Amanda Louise on IG and blog, M.O Endres on IG are fresh and unique among others. I have been dropping a lot of the "big" accounts because the term "influencer" makes me concerned. I feel like it's a form of peer pressure in a way. Like adult peer pressure. I'm not a shopper and I feel comfortable at this stage of my life with what I like and don't feel "influenced" to go buy a look or feel like I'm lacking because I don't change rooms in my house every three months or whatever it is that's going on. But I do worry about people who do become insecure or saddened about what they feel they can't achieve when it's all so edited! Don't get me wrong I'd love to stay home and do homeowner projects and blog about it for a living but unless thrift stores start sponsoring bloggers I'm out of luck :) Great post, I've been right there with you on Pinterest - I love it but sometimes you have to step away. Can't wait to see your progress - I know it will be fabulous. I'm minimally refreshing my kitchen right now and blogging about it but believe me - it's low low key!!

Blondie's Journal said...

I really love the tour of your home and the real deal photos that most of us can identify with. I could probably take 100+ photos!

I do love Pinterest although I keep most of my boards "private". It's a great way to save ideas and possibilities for decorating, keeping plans for projects, or decorating my home. Mosly I save recipes and lately I'm feeling bad that I refer to these Pins rather than my own plentiful collection of cookbooks. And to think my books are from absolutely the best cooks and chefs! I think its the ease of having everything categorically laid out on Pinterest.

In my eleven years of blogging, I go very much with the consensus that the 'big' bloggers are in the know but somewhat artificial. We also know without a doubt, they are doing paid sponsorships for companies who also provide their products. These homes change with the trends as a selling point. It's rampant on Instagram as the followers or influencers have thousands and thousands of followers and comments each day. Kind of sad to have these ladies try to pass off the many changes in theirs homes as their own taste when it really is a paid deal to add furniture, rugs, and such to plug the brand.

That said, it's refreshing to see people with their true style, choices and design. Real DIY's and renovations. Let's keep on keeping it real!

Jane ๐Ÿ˜˜

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