It’s Not What You Think

 Mr. Yen

After five years of running Nesting Place and years before that helping friends, neighbors, family and strangers with their home, and listening to my own back talk in my head for 38 years I’m pretty sure I’ve figured out the single most thing that holds us back from creating a beautiful, meaningful home on purpose.

Nope, it’s not money.

It’s not lack of creativity.

It’s not that we don’t have the time.

It’s not that someone else is holding us back.

They all come into play.  But the one thing that is the biggest hurdle?



It’s fear.





We put off making decisions, hesitate to commit to a paint color, dream about trying that DIY project but worry we’d mess it all up.  We forget that the goal is not perfection when it comes to creating a home. We assume that it doesn’t feel like a risk when others chose that bold color or buy that vintage sofa and since it feels scary we stop.  Or we take it to the other extreme and put off buying that sofa that we’ve needed for three years and instead spend a small fortune at Kirlkand’s  or thrift stores buying too many tchotchkes because those are easy decisions that we can handle.

What if we looked at our home as not only a training ground for our children to learn how to be responsible adults but also as a training ground of sorts for ourselves?  What if we decided there was a safe place in this world to make mistakes, play, take a risk and be who it is we want to be?  Wouldn’t the natural place for that to start be in the comfort of home?

Because if we cannot dare to be our true selves and make mistakes in our home, how can we ever expect anyone else to let their guard down while they are there?  And isn’t that the true purpose of a home?  It’s there to serve us and others, it’s a place of connection, a place of rest.  But we don’t always take full advantage of its true purpose and instead we become a slave to our home.

If you lower your expectations and decide that perfection isn’t the goal in creating your home, you might be amazed at what you’ll let yourself try.



  1. Nester, Thank you for the beautiful encouragement. Last November we finally moved into our own home after spending the summer living with family and all of our belongings in storage. I was excited to embark on yet another (7th move) new adventure of updating and putting our stamp on our 1980 home. I had a vision where everything I owned would be placed and how I could just bake cookies and be “normal” again. On move in day we discovered nearly everything we owned was destroyed what wasn’t moldy was corroded or rusted. We were able to get some essentials replaced but I am far from what one was. Due to my imperfect situation I have not invited people into our home or been as hospitable as I once was. I honestly feel like a fish out of water. Yes, this is a sign. Thank-you for encouragement “It doesn’t have to be perfect” I plan to move forward making the best out of my situation. Not striving for perfection, not being afraid of making mistakes, But, using all I have been bless with to bless others though a true gift the art of hospitality.

  2. You are absoutely right! Fear of not being good enough is always what paralyzes us. I am fearless when it comes to consulting my clients because I am going with my creative force. I think we all need to practice that a bit more. We need to practice more in making a home than just a pretty house. I am a retired designer and I use to say I have gone into many houses but very few HOMES!!! Start making a home a respite for your family and you will be on the right track,

  3. So true! We just had a carpenter out to see what we can do. I gave him a huge list and we are finally taking the plunge with getting our house to be a true reflection of ourselves. Looking forward to making some choices, seeing if they work and then taking the next step.

  4. I agree with the fear part. I think that is the one thing that keeps us from doing just about anything we should be doing. For me its not the fear of trying a new color. (I like almost all of them, anyway) Its the fear of leaving my philandering h– of breaking up my home, of loneliness… But how much more lonely could it be than living the life I’ve been living? Maybe I needed to have my guard up more. Onward. Thank you for the inspiration. I very much like “signs.” best ~ Laurel

  5. Thanks for this series! It has been so refreshing and insightful. Today, I took a risk I had been wanting to try, thanks to you! I cast aside…
    What if I don’t like it?
    What will others think?
    I painted the top of my well loved white pedestal table with chalk paint.
    I think I am going to love it, but if not I am not afraid to try something else.
    Thanks again!

  6. Have been following on your 31 Days Home posts. They are GREAT and INSPIRING! I am not afraid to take risks. I love this statement : taking a full advantage of its true purpose! I enjoy creating a beautiful , meaningful home on purpose ( that is a true reflection of who you are ).

  7. Nester, this is ME to a tee. Keep preaching to me, sister, and maybe one of these days I will lose the fear and just take a risk, already!

  8. You are so right on this…fear. I will never forget the first time I went to Africa and visited hut to hut in the villages and how wonderfully warm and welcoming everyone was to us then. Same thing with the second visit and again in Ukraine and what I learned about how reluctant I am to invite people into my home because in America–it’s not “nice enough”…and how that is just my PRIDE. Fear and Pride. I’ve come further and now am quite over it–although I do want the cat fur vacuumed up before folks come over!

    Lorretta @ Dancing on the Dash

  9. Our homes could so be the place to push back against fear, to take risks. Because that fear seeps into every area of our lives. And who knows, if we practice courage here, it just might spill out everywhere else.

  10. I came across this link today — someone who seems to be fearless in her decor. Her courage is inspiring, even if you don’t like her style.

  11. Thank you for spelling it out for me. Fear is definitely what has held me back from making our house a home. I often get inspired by others, but stop short of finishing projects I start because I’m afraid I’ll make a mistake. I may just work up some courage now:).

  12. My next biggest step in remodeling my home is probably/hopefully/maybe quitting my job to be a full-time blogger/stay-at-home-wife. Currently, I feel pulled in so many different directions and by the time I get to the weekend, my spirit is too diluted to create. This step will most likely mean less money to play with or even afford those big improvements but I think (I think, I think, I think) I might just go ahead and take the plunge come January. Your thoughts?

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