The Beauty That Is


It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.

It’s been the tagline here for almost five years.   And I believe it’s true.


Does that mean I think a messy house can be beautiful?  Sometimes. But an overly messy house doesn’t usually meet my goals & purpose for my home so unfortunately, most of the time, that means I need to keep it on the tidy side.  Of course, you and I and your mother-in-law all have different definitions of what ‘messy’ means, but that’s another post.

Most of us are here at Nesting Place because we want to have a pretty house.  We enjoy beauty, we are on a quest for it, we seek it out, we LOVE being surrounded with the lovely.  There is nothing wrong with seeking out beauty.

But sometimes we take that to one of two extremes.

1. We over-buy, over-spend, over-decorate, over-worry and over-fret.  We have a cute, somewhat organized hoard tightly packed away calling our name. We are constantly trying the next DIY craze in our homes only to find that we still feel discontent when we look around.


2. We are paralyzed, afraid of making a wrong decision and afraid of changing anything in our homes, even something as simple as changing a paint color that we hate.  We go out to buy one picture frame and come home empty-handed because deciding is impossible.  We have paint swatches taped to the wall (for months, even years) and stacks of framed photos behind the sofa for fear of making an extra nail hole. And then we still over-worry and over-fret.

Both of those tendencies seem to stem from one main issue.


We have been duped into believing that perfection is the ultimate goal for our homes.

There’s no such thing as a perfect house, at least not if you want to actually live there.  Clearly the magazines have run out of perfect homes to photograph, because they came here, to this house.  Where we live.   Maybe the perfect home is a myth.  Instead of striving for some kind of perfection, why not strive for those purposes we talked about here.

Because chasing perfection for our home is like chasing an empty promise that doesn’t even exist.  We get so caught up in trying to measure up to some pretend ideal that we don’t even realize that it isn’t even true.

if you are reading this via email, click here to come over to Nesting Place to watch the video it’s worth the click

Our perception of beauty is distorted. I know, it’s a Dove commercial but it captures what we are talking about.  Our search for real beauty in our lives, in our homes. We’ve raised our expectations so high for our home  that we’ve overlooked what Home was truly meant to be.  And oftentimes, we overlook the beauty that is.

 Still wondering what this is all about?

Related posts:

A Revolution

Power of the Imperfect

The Purpose of a Workspace


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  1. Your series has completely inspired me!
    Tonight I had my girlfriends over (despite my dirty carpet and my mismatched furniture).
    It wasn’t p e r f e c t and it was a b e a u t i f u l time.

  2. Awww, the carved initials in the tree stump are the best detail! That reminds me of my third child’s name carved into our *piano* when he was 5. Sadly, he had to be scolded for it, but I secretly loved it right from the moment I found it. How perfect!

  3. I only started reading your site a few weeks ago, and your tagline has been ringing in my head since then .. It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.. ok, then.. ok, then.. I can accept what’s around me, I can accept the things that aren’t quite the way I think they should be.. I can do it because it’s ok for everything not to be perfectly put together.. and it’s ok to be in process. So a big thank you :).

  4. What a touching post and one that was so needed by me.

  5. Love this post. I am definitely the type to stand paralyzed in fear and thus make no decisions regarding my home, even when I REALLY want to change something up. Your posts are inspiring me.

  6. I love this! As a “former” perfectionist, island life has taught me to let go of that urge to control everything and have things just so – it’s impossible and angst-inducing! I visit your site because I simply love nesting – the feeling of making my home a refuge of comfort and joy. But that certainly doesn’t mean glamour or magazine-ready cleanliness! On this tiny island, I can’t get to a Target for home goods, much less home stores, boutiques, antique shops or the like. Instead, I make the most of what I have (think sea shells and emphasizing the ocean view). Thank you for the inspiration!

  7. watched the video. husband wants to know why i am crying. i want to know why i’m crying. struck a chord, i guess.

  8. You’re not just talking about home. “Purpose not perfection” is about our whole life.

  9. Since I first came to your blog I’ve been repeating your tagline like a prayer. I am the second type, the one who becomes paralyzed afraid of making the wrong decision. When I find myself becoming stuck I start whispering to myself, ‘It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful’ over and over until I could feel myself relax and able to accept the beauty that is. You’ve been a great blessing to me. I’m so glad I was led here.

    Cassandra from Renaissance Women

  10. It’s not the work of life that ills us, it’s our thoughts surrounding the work. Cleaning is not hard, it’s my thinking about it that makes it hard. I have to think about cleaning the kitchen after a meal as not something separate from making the meal; washing the dishes and clearing the counters is all part of the whole. I used to think I wasn’t a perfectionist because I was far from perfect. I’ve grown to know, through your blog and other readings, that I had all or nothing perfectionist thinking that was holding me back from living. Thank you for all this inspiration. I’ll stop now before I break into the Partridge Family’s “I Think I Love You.”

    • I’m the same! How can I be a perfectionist if my house is so messy? Because if I can’t do it perfectly, I don’t want to do it at all. I’m trying to reform…

  11. “What a shame we should pretend to be all the same.”

    Yep, that pretty much sums it up. We think we all want to be perfect (i.e. all the same), when actually we just all want to be beautiful (i.e. all different).

    Thank you for leading the way, my beautiful friend.

  12. L o v e. This.

    Thank you.

  13. I love this true tagline. It sticks in my otherwise cluttered head and heart. It works in just about every area of my life.

    Oh, not that is getting deep for a Friday morning!

  14. It’s amazing that the woman in the dove commercial was already beautiful…..before all the “beautifying”. Important that we look at people and see through the flaws to the true beauty.

    You’re inspiring to add a little “me” into my home. :)

  15. Robin EKBLAD says

    I just can’t really express how much I enjoy your blog and how inspiring it is to me. Your posts are alway great, but these last few have encouraged and inspired me at the same time. I have two beautiful daughters that are just starting setting up their own homes. I am sharing your posts with them to help get them started off on the right foot. Thank you for your wise insights! Your blog is my very favorite!

  16. I’ve learned a lot about embracing the beauty in my home, imperfect as it is. I’m realizing now how much I have to learn about embracing me, imperfect as I am. Thank you for sharing the commercial.

  17. love this. all of it. Thank you :)

  18. I have so many projects that I would like to do because I want to do them to better suit my style, but I just don’t make the time for them lately. You have inspired me to get to work and make my home the beautiful that I want it to be. :)

  19. This is so lovely, thank you. My blog ‘Our Perfekt Life’ is clearly about how not perfect we are. And yet by grace we abundantly blessed!


  20. that 1st paragraph made me LOL. that’s the dang truth.

  21. I really loved this posting….and although I’ve seen the video before, it’s such a good reminder, isn’t it? Thanks for sharing :)

  22. It’s so funny that you are writing this series because just a few weeks ago I decided to take a minimalist approach to my home. I have 4 small children, so my idea of minimalism will be a lot different than someone elses, but I am just so tired of STUFF. When we first moved into this home 1.5 years ago, I rushed around buying, buying, buying, trying to ‘decorate’ in an acceptable fashion. We have a lot of guests come stay at our home and I felt so pressured to have the house looking ‘just right’. Now, I hate almost everything. It doesn’t feel right or meaningful. It feels manufactured. And I don’t really like have a lot of things anyways. I like big open, empty spaces. I like walls with nothing on them but a fresh coat of paint. So, I am deciding to be true to myself and eliminate the STUFF.
    Anyways, this comment has become a post itself, but if you haven’t seen this video before, check it out: The Story of Stuff

  23. Nester, when you write posts about perfectionism in our homes, I feel like you have described every single thing I am shamefully thinking in my brain, and truly describing what I struggle with to a tee. I really cannot thank you enough for your time that are pouring into this series. I am excited about following and reading your encouraging words, and know that the Lord is using you in my life to get me and many others out of our battle with perfectionism in our homes. Thank you for being so brutally honest and not candy coating your words!

  24. Nester, I love you. Thanks for being real and inspiring us to realness in our homes. Balance, balance, balance.

    I hosted a swap party recently {thanks for the inspiration!!} that extended to all the ladies of my church. {We go to a smallish church – there were about 40 ladies that came.} So many people commented on how beautiful my home is. I have swaths of paint on the walls in two places in my living room because I’m trying to decide. I have chairs that are waiting to be made over. I HATE my kitchen and it needs a remodel. My home is definitely in process. Before, I would have let those things stop me from hosting. Instead, I chose to embrace the imperfections of the stage my home is in right now. Because…it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. And the women embraced the beauty that IS in my home instead of seeing the flaws {and I do think my home is lovely, it just has room for improvement}. And they embraced the feeling of my home. And embraced the beauty of being together. I’m not lying when I say that you and your home have taught me so much over the years. Thank you!

  25. Wonderful post!! I am of the same mind, and it’s great to find out we are not alone! Your blog is one of my main inspirations for my own house and blog! Thank you for all you do!!

  26. Oh Nester! Those words have alleviated so much angst in my life! I first wrote you LONG ago to ask about something in your home and did you think it would like “right” in mine. It’s been so long ago, I can’t remember the specifics. You answered my question and them followed up with, “Judy, remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.” Those words were instantly tattooed on my brain. I can now relax when we have company coming or guests for a carry-in supper. I’m no longer running myself ragged washing floors, cleaning carpets, scrubbing down bathroom walls (of all things) only to feel like I wish the whole visit or supper was done and over with. I keep a clean home, but people live here too, and we’re not perfect; but I’ve got faces living here that are very beautiful!

  27. Morning Nester. SO great to have seen you at the Becoming conference two weeks ago. As always, you inspired me. My favorite line, “decorate out of freedom, not fear”. Love it.
    Also, I showed this Dove video to the four young teens in my girl’s Bible study. They were amazed and mesmerized as was I. Thanks for the reminder that Photo Shop can do anything! Maybe I will see you at Westover tomorrow? Hugs to you dear one.

  28. I vacillate between the two options – paralyzed fear or frantic purchasing – all the time. It drives my husband crazy. It drives me crazy. When I’m in the midst of a project, I can never find exactly what I want and it frustrates me terribly – so I don’t do anything. But when I’m not doing a project, I find 27 things that would look amazing in our home and fit our style exactly. More than wanting our home to envision someone else’s view of perfection, I want reality to match what I have dreamed up in my mind. Am I the only one that this happens to?? Agh!

  29. I often help friends to cozy up their homes and see the fear in their eyes when faced with a decision. I know what is running through their heads, “What will my (mother-in-law, mother, sister, husband, friend, teenager, etc.) say about my choices?” “What will my choices tell everyone about me??”. Your home is YOUR home! Take one little chance: a dish, a picture, a Knicks knack that you love and live with it for a week. If someone makes a negative comment, say, “Really? I LOVE it.” and move on. This one little decision will lead to two, then three, then freedom. The opposite of fear os faith. Have faith in yourself and be free! Nester, thank you for inspiring me to be free in my own home. Your ministry changes lives! Mine included!

  30. Ive been a nester follower for 5 years now. Im also a complete risk-taker in my home, fully embracing daily “it doesnt have to be perfect to be beautiful”. We have nail holes a-plenty. My husband is totally down with this too. We have been in our current home which we plan to be our forever home for almost a year now. I had an empty wall space at the top of our stairs that I really didnt know what I wanted to do with. A few months ago, it hit me. I wanted to paint lyrics to a song, but which one? The next day, that hit me – “Forever Young” by Rod Stewart. My hubby said “we can always paint over it if we dont like it”. So I got some old paint out of the garage, a pencil and all four of us took turns writing out lines of the lyrics with a pencil, and I painted over it with the paint. Its unconventional, but its us. It brings me joy every time I see it.

    I have loved to see the blog and your vision evolve over the years. Im really enjoying this 31 day series!

  31. Hey there just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The
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    I’m not sure if this is a formatting issue or something to do with internet browser compatibility but I
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  32. Rachel Block says

    I just found you today and read alot of your articles. Thank you so much for explaining what I’m going through in decorating and minimizing my stuff! Overwhelmed. But I think I know what to do now. I will keep watching you. Thx.

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