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The Case for Imperfect Home Styling

I’ve always loved older homes, antique stores, and asymmetry. In reverse, waiting rooms and hotels often make me anxious. Why? There’s something inherently soothing about things being not so, well, perfect.  When decor and design are too flawless, our brains recognize that something is engineered or staged.  As humans, we’re drawn to authenticity and connection – so it makes sense we’d bring this into our homes. That’s why I’m making the case for imperfect home styling. 

boho living room styling

I mean, this is not a new concept. The Japanese concept of wabi sabi has long celebrated imperfections. And native americans intentionally include a “flaw” in their graphic designs. This reflects flaws we would find in nature. 

You might’ve heard me bleat on about how it’s time to let go of matchy matchy anything. Or how hardware does not, in fact, need to match exactly. 

But beyond that, I suggest we take it one step further and intentionally bring in the imperfections into our home. 

Why? Well, imperfections make things feel authentic, comfortable, and connected to something bigger. 

kitchen shelves with minimal decor

Ok, so how do we go about achieving imperfect home styling?  Here are 4 ways I keep things authentic: 

1. Something Old 

Years ago, I remember hearing design advice that every room needs something old. (kind of like that bygone wedding advice of something borrowed, something blue…) By nature, something old adds a subtle, lovely imperfection.

I’ve stuck to that and make sure every space includes a treasure from the past. Maybe it’s an antique metal paperweight, reclaimed barn wood shelf, or a family heirloom.

2. Natural Elements

Ok, we are looking for the raw, beautiful, and unpolished look of natural elements. I find that including this creates a connection that many spaces need.

This can be achieved in so many ways! Big picture, you might go for natural wood shelves, ceramic tile, or stone floors. Or, on a smaller scale try terra cotta planters and . I love using items I find outside – a large stick and dried tumbleweed we found on a family vacation are two of my favorite pieces in my living room.

More: Guide to Woven Wood Shades

3. Textures

Speaking of texture, this is one of the key design elements often overlooked. Too often we end up with cold spaces with new cabinets, polished stone, engineered floors, and brand new furniture – no texture or flaw in sight.

Textures like woven materials and rough surfaces make a space feel dynamic and alive. To incorporate imperfect home styling, I often use woven shades, baskets, live edge wood pieces, and wool blankets for more texture.

More: 7 Woven Baskets to Organize Your Home

entryway shelf and bench with plants and pillows
Entryway Shelf

4. Plants

We all have an inner plant lady I think.

Plants are one of my favorite ways of adding that touch of “imperfection.”  From asymmetry to uneven growth and varied colors, plants definitely make things feel real. 

So yes, ditch the faux plants, and go for the live ones. And if that feels too daunting try dried botanicals. 

More: 9 Easy Houseplants You Can Find on Amazon

Ok, so who’s on board with me? Ready to ditch matchy matchy staged homes and embrace perfectly imperfect home styling? 

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