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Is My House Ugly? Stop Feeling Ashamed Now.

After watching a popular home renovation show and seeing the final “reveal,” do you silently wonder, “Is my house ugly?”

I do. Or, let’s say, I used to.

I’m going to take us all for a ride in the “way-back machine.” This was in the days before HGTV or Instagram, before renovations became more or less what seems like America’s new favorite pastime.

Do any of my readers remember when most kitchens looked a lot like this? At least, the majority of them?

Photo of 1970s style kitchen. Many houses today are considered to be ugly if the interior decor seems dated.
Photo credit: A-photographyy on Shutterstock

The home I grew up in did, as did a lot of homes in my neighborhood. A lot of homes around my neck of the woods stayed this way well past the 1980s, some even through the 1990s.

We didn’t know what we didn’t know.

We didn’t know that laminate was “out,” or open plans were “in,” or why on earth anyone would want a stainless steel appliance (Eek! All those fingerprints!).

I don’t recall the sort of obsession then with having a magazine-worthy home that seems to permeate our entire culture today. It hasn’t just infected the wealthy. It’s darn near everyone now questioning on a continuous loop, “Is my house ugly?,” or “Is our kitchen dated now??” And, “Will I be able to sell if I don’t renovate?”

If you find that this is you, as it has been many of us from time to time, being constantly nagged by a little voice that wonders if your house is actually, well, ugly, keep reading. Here’s how to love your home once and for all, without resorting to drastic measures that involve sledgehammers.

Some Facts: It Didn’t Used to Be This Way

When I referred to a simpler time above, I promise you, I was not making this up.

America has seemingly gone bananas recently over home remodeling and repairs, and we may be hitting a peak, but the number is still big. In the second half of 2022, the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University projects we are looking at $430 billion in spend on home remodels and repairs. That’s just one estimate I could find out of what may be many other data points on the web.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing in the Harvard report that helps me segment out the data here. Repairs are not necessarily segmented out from remodels in those totals, but I can’t help but think $430 billion is still a hefty number.

Is this a moment of collective home improvement consciousness right now?

There are some more obvious, valid reasons for the home renovation craze, one of those being the limited amount of housing stock forcing many home owners to stay put. But when you consider the scale at which this is happening, and the constant barrage of “new” design trends everywhere we look, it’s no surprise that a lot of us are constantly re-evaluating whether our homes measure up.

1. Consider Who Your Home Is For

So now that we know from the spend numbers where the country is headed, how do we get past feelings of pressure around a home remodel?

The first is just a simple step back with the focus on a singular question: Who is my home actually for?

That’s a question that can stop you dead in your tracks when you start poring over the price of a kitchen renovation. Ask, am I dropping my hard-earned cash and sweat into this because I actually want it, or is this because I just don’t want to feel out-of-place? Is this something my family and I will enjoy, day in and day out, or is it just in preparation for rarely seen visitors that show up a few times a year?

If the answer is that the changes you make to your home are for you and your family and that they truly add to your quality of life, then I say go for it (within reason).

But don’t go and drop 50K to impress strangers.

2. Find Small Things to Appreciate About Your Home

Next is just the simple act of examining your life through a more positive lens.

Before I was a home owner with my spouse, I lived in some crummy apartments. We’re talking a kitchen smaller than most closets, gross insect invasions year round, and plumbing situations from hell. But all that cheap rent was helping me build a foundation of financial security.

See what I did there? I found a positive. I promise, you can find at least one, too!

So maybe your place has old finishes or lighting, but you have a fantastic view. Maybe your carpeting needed replacing yesterday, but you have some kind neighbors.

When you find yourself scrolling and having the greenest kind of house envy, it’s this way of thinking that is going to save you from making some impulsive, probably very expensive decisions.

3. Tune Out the Noise Whenever Possible

This next word of advice is the most difficult to follow of all.

Social media apps and the click-bait content of today pull your attention away from what really matters. Cable TV has entire channels dedicated to making you want to consume endlessly.

They want you to buy buy buy, until you ultimately drown in lots and lots of “pretty” stuff.

Pull out your phone. If you have Instagram of any of those apps on it, I’m not asking you to go cold turkey and delete them. But what I am recommending is this: As you open them up, maybe say aloud to yourself, “This app wants me to buy stuff.”

I know, I know, that’s a bit weird. Probably don’t go and shout that out on the subway.

The point is, these apps can be a lot of fun (I use them myself), but willfully ignoring the true intent of them can send you down a path of “endless want,” which can lead to a lot of impulse purchasing.

So use wisely, but with the truth in the back of your mind.

4. Know That Those Who Truly Love You Don’t Care

Here’s the proof that no one actually cares what your home looks like.

Recall the last time you visited someone that you really love or care for at their home. Were you silently judging them? Did you see a pile of laundry or kids’ toys and turn around and leave? Were you so disgusted by their old tile or stained carpeting or crayon marks on the wall that you decided to never come back?

Of course not.

And that is probably not going to happen to you, either, my friend.

Have you ever felt that your house was “ugly?” How did you get over that feeling? Leave me a comment below!

Worried about having an “ugly” yard? Do you find doing your own yard work overwhelming? You might also like this post where I talk about the physical and mental health benefits of doing it yourself, plus some tips to save you time!

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