FAVOURITE HOME STYLING MOMENTS + WHY I STOPPED STYLING PEOPLE’S HOMES
About 3 months ago, in April, I decided I didn’t want to style people’s homes anymore. It was a hard decision to make, and one I had been sitting on for at least a year by the time I made up my mind.
By then I had been doing it for fun for about 2 years, and what started out as a little hobby became something a bit bigger than I thought it would be. I couldn’t believe that people actually wanted to pay me to style their spaces. I wasn’t even actively looking for clients, I was just having fun posting things I liked and bits from our home, and people would come to me and let me spend their money and live vicariously through their wallets, inspired by Pinterest and numerous home decor Instagram accounts, blogs and videos. It sounds crazy, but that’s how I got into interior styling. At some point I even thought I could turn it into a proper business and maybe even slowly transition into doing it full time once it was able to take care of my bills.
Then one day, while stressing over a budget (I do not enjoy Excel sheets and numbers in general) and trying to get a client to understand why I was asking for more money to buy the stuff they needed in their house to achieve the aesthetic they wanted, I realised that it was sucking all the joy out of me. And then there was the one time a client told me she wanted a “transparent wood frame”. I was like: ma’am, have you ever seen a see-through tree? It. Just. Wasn’t. Making. Sense.
I had slowly grown to hate the late nights spent balancing spreadsheets, the haggling, the relentless updating and asking for permission to buy stuff I knew would work, the micromanaging, the phone calls and small talk, and the near constant state of anxiety I was in. At some point I wasn’t sleeping well because my brain wouldn’t shut down – I was constantly worrying about projects and imagining everything that could go wrong.
What once gave me deep joy and satisfaction (I love seeing the transformation of rooms and entire houses) was now a source of resentment and paralysing fear. I would have literal nightmares, dreaming about losing money, walls falling, paint colours going wrong, people getting electrocuted on site, being accused of being a fraud: all that horrible, horrible stuff.
So I quit. I decided I wouldn’t do it anymore. I was miserable. I handed over projects to other stylists who I believed could do a good job and declined new ones while trying to finish what I had already committed to and began. I started saying no to the little favours clients would ask me to do, because I just wanted to wrap up and be done with it. I had checked out.
It’s been about 5 weeks now since I completed my last project. I do not miss it. At all. I love having free time to myself, not spending nearly every waking moment not spent on my main job (I do have one of those) doing something that was no longer serving me. I love consuming interior styling content purely for learning and entertainment, not like I’m prepping for an exam.
I’m in a much better head space now, and it’s because I chose to walk away from what was no longer making me happy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m truly grateful to those who entrusted me with their spaces, who by having faith in me allowed me to have faith in myself, and who let me, someone who did not study interiors and had zero professional experience with it, play with their money – that is a MASSIVE show of trust.
Freeing myself from that allowed me to get back to this – writing. I don’t know whether this is a forever goodbye to styling gigs, but in the meantime, I’ll be sharing interior styling content from past projects and from our home, which is where I’m concentrating my energy. In case you’re wondering, yes, we moved house. No, I will not be giving a house tour like I did with our old apartment, but I’ll share snippets and styling tips I’ve picked up over the years, starting with this: a little showcase of seven of my current favourite styling moments in our home.
Scroll down for details!
Framed polaroids / Pic Yako
Runner / Africa Traders
Pendant light / Noor Lighting, Sarit Centre
Custom console, dining table, bone garlands / Santana Africa
Mirror, dining table chairs / Odds & Ends
Pillar candle holders, textured vases, decorative boxes / Décor Gallery
Hexagon candle holder / old, Target
Wooden bowl / Maasai Market, Prestige Plaza
Brass leopard / Mr. Price
Framed Nairobi print / Prints KE
Sisal carpet / Tile & Carpet Centre
Chandelier, wall brackets / Meydan Lightings
Wooden tray on dining table / Tira Studio
Custom bookshelf / Muundo
Bath & Bodyworks candle / Treasured Scents
Candle care set / Eclectic Décor
Flowers / The Fresh Blooms Kenya
Leather accent chair / Ashley Furniture
Custom wool carpet / Marathon Weavers (Miriam +254 720 380165)
Black stool / Afrodutch Collections
Pillows, leather pillow cover, black & white pillow covers / Smartlady Home
White throw blankets / Smartlady Home
Green velvet pillow & pillow cover / Luxe Feather Cushions
Coffee table & TV stand / Kashmir Arts, Sarit Centre
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And remember, you owe it to yourself to walk away from anything that does not serve you or help you become who you should be. What’s right for you will feel right – even when it doesn’t make sense to others.
The Cultured Cow