To follow up on my most recent “What’s the Tea” post, today I wanted to write a bit more about where my head has been lately in relation to design and home decor. I’m not sure how useful this post will be in terms of helping you design your own space. I’m writing this (draining my brain) in an effort to gain some clarity, feedback, and ultimately, confidence.

My love affair with home decorating and design began years ago. Sometime in my tweens, I sketched exactly what my future home would look like: white farmhouse style with green shutters and a big wraparound porch. I used to be a paperboy, and thoughts of this future house would occupy my mind as I delivered newspapers. Without fail, I noticed the details of existing houses in the neighborhood and new homes being built.

Later in my tweens, I took it upon myself to repaint my bedroom. This was when sponge painting was the thing (Remember that?) I went for dark green over white. It was hideous, but I was obsessed with it, and back then no one could convince me that it wasn’t beautiful. A few years later, the sponge painting had to go. My room got a fresh coat of a light green color. (Apparently, I was super into green) I ordered my own curtains online, made curtain rods from old staircase spindles, and turned a window I picked up on the side of the road into a mirror. Also, one summer I designed and planted the landscaping around my mom’s new deck. Needless to say, my love for designing and creating goes way back.

The State of My Design | Inspired by Charm

So where does this leave me today? Well, to be honest, (and you might already know this because sometimes I get way too personal), I’ve always struggled with self-confidence in most aspects of my life. Although this blog is my full-time career and I am pleased with much of my work, there are times I feel like I’m not very good at it, and that one of these days the jig will be up. (And yes, the numbers tell me that my fears are not well founded, but that doesn’t stop me from thinking it.)

I also realize that home design is highly subjective. No matter what I do or how I decorate, some people will love it, and others will hate it. That’s why one of my commandments for home decorating is: If you love it and it brings you joy, then go for it. At the end of the day, it truly doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.

The State of My Design | Inspired by Charm

However, after saying all that, I think my current struggle with decorating is that I feel my design choices do matter. Because this is my business, I recognize that people liking what I do is essential for me to survive (i.e., buy food, pay bills).

Social media also contributes to my concern. (I am aware that my own neuroses/self-confidence issues are really the culprit with this.) These days, there’s definitely a desire and need to “be perfect,” get it right EVERY time, and please everyone who comes in contact with my work via social media.

And the pressure is amplified in the blogging community. By and large, IBC is a one-man operation. There are bloggers who have teams (assistants, photographers, stylists, people who handle social media, managers, writers, etc.). Competing on that level is essentially impossible. (Though I certainly try my best.) These days, some blogs are design firms or corporations, and I’m just little ole me hanging on as the pressure to keep up rises. (High fives to all of the bloggers out there who are doing things on their own. You have my utmost respect.)

Does all of this make any sense? I probably could go on for days, but I suspect you get the picture. I also should say that I’m crazy in love with my job. I’m not asking for sympathy, praise, or admiration. I’m just attempting to explain.

The State of My Design | Inspired by Charm

Beyond all of that, my other design hurdle is the fact that I like so many styles. I read and follow a variety of blogs and designers, and there’s so much great work out there. Pinpointing one style to follow just isn’t going to happen for me. Farmhouse, mid-century modern, preppy, rustic, colorful, white walls, graphic rugs, neutral rugs … I want it all. And there’s nothing wrong with that. However, it does make designing a bit overwhelming for me.

In my home, I’ve attempted to blend styles. I think my dining room is the best example. I have a farmhouse table, modern and traditional chairs, a green primitive cabinet, and modern artwork. It’s surely a mismatch, but somehow it works. Right?

The State of My Design | Inspired by Charm

Again, as I’ve mentioned way too much lately, the past couple years have been challenging personally, so I think that has amplified my feeling of “not good enough,” which in turn, has impacted my design creativity and willingness to share. That’s why IBC has been brimming with recipes. It’s harder to criticize a beautiful and delicious cupcake. Right?

So now what? Where do I go from here? My current home needs a refresh, I’m about to move into a new space, and I want to do what I love so much.

Clearly, not designing and complaining about not designing isn’t getting me anywhere so I’m going to try acting “as if.” This concept was presented to me a few weeks ago when I spoke to my therapist about my brother’s confidence and ability to not worry about what other people think. She told me to try acting “as if.” Pretend you are confident. Pretend you don’t care what other people think.

It might seem or feel silly at first, but I really love this notion. Want to be happy? Start by acting as if you’re happy. Want to get motivated? Start by acting as if you’re motivated.

Act as if you are the person you want to be.

This may sound a bit far-fetched or wacky to some, but it’s very appealing to me. The idea is that after acting this way for so long, it starts to become your reality. Pretty soon you’re not acting as if anymore. You’re just happier, more confident. You’re a person who likes to go to the gym. You’re a person who doesn’t need a cupcake to feel happier.

Get it? It’s worth a shot, right?

There are so many aspects in my life where I could apply this principle. And since I’m moving to a new city soon, there are so many reasons that now is the time to do it.

The State of My Design | Inspired by Charm

So, I hope all of my rambling makes a little sense, provides some clarity, and maybe even inspires some of you. As always, I will report back on my progress. In case I forget, be sure to remind me.

Also, I had intentions of sharing some of my current favorite designers and sources of home decor inspiration in this post, but this got much longer than I expected so I’m going to cut if off here and save that information for another day.

Until next time, friends…

Inspired By Charm Paint Colors
Comments

  • Terry Anderson at

    As an artist and fan of yours I would like to recommend a book that might be helpful: The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron. I also follow Graham Cooke who has taught me all problems are possibilities, and how to adventure through life as a creative person. Your work/photography is captivating, whether a beautiful space or cupcake. I enjoy your posts in my feed.

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      Loving these recommendations. Thank you so much, Terry!

      xo Michael

  • Barb at

    Hello from Clarion County, PA! I found you on Instagram recently and just subscribed to your blog. I was excited to find such a successful lifestyle blogger practically in my back yard and look forward to following your move to the ‘Burg!

  • Rosanna at

    The other super fast and easy read you may find is speaking directly to what you wrote is Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic. Seriously. It’s almost as if you are losing the questions she is specifically answering. I love your blog and can’t help but offer that little bit of accessible wisdom.

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      I read this when it first came out. I should give it a read though again! Good idea.

      xo Michael

  • Barbara at

    You’ve got talent. Keep doing what you are doing.

  • Barbara Scott at

    I LOVE your style! The way you can combine different styles and end up with the amazing rooms/designs that you do is truly magic!

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      Well thank yo, Barbara. And I agree. I think my style will always have a touch of eclectic. Which I love. 🙂

      xo Michael

      Great name btw, that’s my mom’s name too!

  • Sarah at

    As a vote of confidence, your work always stops me mid-scroll through my IG feed! You are very talented!

  • KAREN IN SOUTH CAROLINA at

    I love that you’re so real and down to earth. I love your designing and recipes, great blogger! Keep up the great work and don’t be so hard on yourself. Just keep doing what you’re doing and be happy. We all love you.

  • Pamela at

    You do a great job! My style has always been eclectic although not photo worthy. 😉 You are making progress! Listen to your therapist! Everything is falling into place. Looking forward to the move and new design ideas!

  • Laurie at

    Thank you once again for your honesty. I’m in a totally different field from yours but I identify 100% with your feelings of burnout and insecurity. It can be a vicious cycle.

    It sounds like you’re in a bit of a personal rut, and that’s getting you mired in negative self-talk. I’m thrilled that you’re moving to Pittsburgh and getting out there more. While I’m sure it will be challenging (and you should totally give yourself permission to stay home alone with the kitties every other night), I think making new friends, doing new stuff, maybe falling in love(?) will help get your creative juices flowing again.

    And I’m excited to read about it!

  • Michelle at

    Hello Coffee Friend! What if you put together “what if” design boards similar to the ones they do from Pinterest? An example might be “what if” I have a new piece of art I want to showcase. It doesn’t cost anything, nothing has to be painted (or repainted) and your creative juices begin to flow.

    I am most creative when I limit my design reading to one or two blogs a day. Your brain is filled with wonderful ideas waiting to become reality! Your history is a true indicator of your love for design. So breathe in, close your eyes and relax in your abilities.

  • Arli at

    Just wanted to say that I’m really excited for your upcoming move. I think it will do you a world of good to shake things up a bit. It is a big step, which can be a little scary, but in the fun way. So many possibilities! A lot of people would be too complacent or afraid to make a big change like this. I hope it pushes your refresh button, and brings you joy and fulfillment.

  • Gasparics Mónika at

    💗

  • Diane at

    Wishing you all the best!

  • Gwen at

    Hi Michael,

    I’m leaving a comment today because your post totally resonated with me. I want you to know that you’re not alone. I have always struggled with feelings of insecurity and lack of self-confidence. I have found some techniques that have really helped me. The first is EFT, or tapping. It’s a combination of modern psychology and acupressure. Two resources are The Tapping Solution and PitBull Mindset. I’m not leaving links because I don’t want it to come across spammy, but let me know if you want them and I’ll email them to you.

    The second thing is that I listen to a podcast called The Mind Your Business Podcast. In episode 80, they interview a EMDR practitioner, Dr. Mcayla. After listening to that episode, I actually found a local practitioner and had my first session yesterday. It was just a get to know you kind of thing and the actual EMDR stuff starts next week.

    I have just gotten to the point where I’m sick of these feelings and want to release them so I can be the absolute best that I can be and have the self-confidence to get out and build a life and a business that fulfills my biggest dreams and desires. I’ve always tried to white knuckle it. I’ve done a lot of self-work over the past few years, but now I feel like I need outside help to really get where I want to go.

    If you want to chat or are interested in my experience with tapping and EMDR (once it starts), I’m so happy to share. You are so talented and deserve to have everything you want and feel like you are unstoppable!!!

    With great love and appreciation,

    Gwen

  • Colleen at

    As if. I’m going to remember that one, brilliant and simple. I hope you work through those nagging thoughts, you really are very talented and you do indeed inspire by charm. And I cannot imagine the blogging life in the levels it has soared to. Everything has to be unique, perfect and exquisitely beautiful. Sometimes I can’t look its so unattainable. I continually tell my 10 year old daughter that these are just spiffed up pictures and real life doesn’t look like that. Same line of thinking as looking at the models in the fashion magazines…block it out and be yourself. : )

  • Elle at

    I’m reminded of one of Gretchen Rubin’s commandments: “Be Gretchen.” Just “Be Michael.” We love YOU.

  • Heidi at

    You said it best yourself, you are competing with blogs that have a design staff and you are doing it yourself. I think that is what makes your blog so great. It is you. Just you. The real you. Honest and something we can all relate to. Keep up the good work. You are doing great.

  • Annie at

    Well I for one LOVE your decorating style. I check your blog for beauty every day and am never disappointed. I love the advice of ‘as if–‘ I guess I follow it in my own life as well. Whenever I feel down I go looking for things to make me smile-blogs, knitting, cross stitch, ducks. Smiling begets smiling i think. Good luck to you Michael-someone as talented as you are is deserving of self confidence.

  • SoCalLynn at

    I love your style, so much that I left you a comment when I first started reading your blog that your home is my favorite of all the decorating bloggers that I read. I find it stylish, yet very homey and relaxed and a place I would feel comfortable in. I’m also very interested in seeing the direction you take in your new place. As far as “acting as if” I know it works. I heard this suggestion from a talk radio host years ago, and it came during a very dark period in my marriage. Acting “as if” completely turned my thinking and feelings around. I hope you have the same results!

  • Heidi@TheMerryMagpieVintage at

    Michael, I wish I had the money to hire you to decorate my home! If I win the lottery, expect a call from me. 😉 I just wanted to say one thing about your feeling like everything has to be perfect the first time, every time–I think there are many of us out there who really appreciate seeing bloggers/instagrammers post about ‘real life’–meaning, when things DON’T go right the first time! It sure makes me feel better to realize that other people don’t always get it right, that they struggle and make mistakes too. I’m sure that’s a really hard and humbling thing to put out there to the world, but it makes you more accessible and inspires confidence in your readers–it’s easy to get frozen and afraid to make a mistake so then you just don’t ever start, for fear of failure. I’m rambling, I know, but please trust us to still love you even if you don’t get it perfect the first time!

  • Marybeth at

    This is so on point. I swear I have to put down the Instagram every few days because of the overwhelming perfection. The first thing you wrote about was the farm house you sketched and day dreamed about as a boy. I say go back to that place. Walk around a random neighborhood and get inspired by something new! Or, maybe, just maybe, bring back sponge painting. You know it’s going to happen at some point. Blaze that trail, Michael. Keep doing what you’re doing… OR do something totally different and we’ll still all come along for the ride. Because it will be awesome.
    PS you jumping out to scare me into signing up for your mailing list is the best thing I’ve seen in a long time.

  • Jenw at

    Fake it till you make it. It’s almost a joke statement today…but is the same concept as “as if”. In the same vein I have a quote (I have no idea where it came from) that I’ve put at my desk at work, back when I was working on a long term, often soul sucking project it says “I am in charge of how I feel. And today I *choose* HAPPINESS.” I can choose to linger on the bad things and wallow in the negative…OR I can acknowledge the negative and choose to focus on the happy.

    I’m looking forward to peeking in on your coming journey towards something better.

  • Betty at

    I just recently discovered your blog. I love your home and your style. All of us search for answers in this crazy world of ours. I for one will continue to follow you and I wish you only the best. Peace and warm wishes to you.

  • Ronda at

    I am picking up what you are laying down, Michael. I am a self-made and self-managed blogger except that it is not my sole source of income. I mostly look at my blog as an on-line diary (or journal) more than a money-making blog (for right now anyway). I have gotta say that I love your style, both in your design ideas and in your writing. You have a sincere and honest way of putting yourself out there that makes me want to give you a big hug! Rest assured that the “everything being perfect” obsession will most likely fade as you grow older. It finally dawned on me that I was my own worst critic and that few saw the mistakes that I continually beat myself up over. You have a talent that appears to come natural, so relax and fall in love with yourself!

  • Debra W at

    Oh Michael, I think you are simply wonderful. I like reading all of your blog. You are very talented in your designing, beautifully done and you have great taste. Cooking made simple. All so easy to copy 🙂 I love that you put yourself out there to us that read your blog. It makes me feel more like a close friend, someone that you can share with. That you consider me important enough to do this with. I don’t like perfection, because I’m not perfect. To me you are perfect in all that you share with us. I can tell that you are an incredible person. And would be a wonderful and amazing friend. Someone with a big heart. Please keep on with what you are doing. I look forward to reading your blog every day.

  • Brocanteuserose at

    I love your style and it’s inspiring me to open up to new design ideas that I didn’t think I would like just because I didn’t give it a chance! However everything I have branched out of my comfort zone or “rut” has worked and I love it.
    Also so that you know, “acting/pretending” confidence really works. I know from first hand experience. I was so shy in high school, I wouldn’t talk to people, my entire freshman year. I would go weeks without talking, when I did talk it was to the 3 people I knew, that’s how shy I was. I hated being so shy, but I didn’t know how to fix it. So I “acted confident” one day, I just pretended the world was my stage and I was acting out my life on it. It didn’t happen over night, but by Junior year I took a public speaking class, was actually in Drama and acting in real plays, not just my “life play”, had a large group of friends and people could barely get me to shut up. 🙂 I owned the me, I wanted to be, for lack of a better term. It was scary, and I’ve never been what I consider brave, but it does work. Heck tack on an accent if it helps, get into character, and have fun with it!

  • Mary Wilding at

    Great introspection! In a world of white on white I love warm tones with natural wood! I also do a little blog on my own- as well-and while seeing the gorgeous work of the popular media teams can feel intimidating, I figure if it’s joyful and tasteful and not “braggy” then it’s OK. Your insights were good to hear. Good luck on your move and fun upcoming projects! Mary Wilding

  • Bettina at

    Oh Michael. Your decorating style (I came across Home tour 2015) is what brought me to your blog today for the very first time. I fell instantly in LOVE with your vision and style…I want to learn how to decorate like you when I grow up. (At 56, fat chance!)

    Once I got to this post, your honest humanity is what touched me. In these crazy times we are all a bit discombobulated, confused and vulnerable. It’s in the air. Stay your course and I look forward to reading about your next chapter in your new abode!

    Thank you for your inspiration, Michael. Sending good vibes your way. <3

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      You are so kind Bettina. (I also LOVE your name.) Thanks so much for commenting. You made my week. This is why I blog.

      xo Michael

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