Monday, October 6

The Business of Design & Finding A Balance

I am but an infant blogger having only done this for a short time, but one thing I've learned quickly is that I am not alone in this space. A quick check of the website BlogTopSites and I found more blogs in the Home and Garden category than I could count. Literally, I got to number 718 and stopped out of sheer exhaustion. Some are more successful than others such as Thrifty Decor Chick with her 2.5 million monthly page views or  Centsational Girl with her only slightly less impressive 1.5 million. Hometalk, the popular platform for people to share their decor and DIY projects boasts more than 715,000 Facebook followers and there's even a national conference called Haven which "allows people to learn from and gather with some of the most notable DIY/Home bloggers in blog land." A whole conference on blogging about home decor. This isn't a cottage industry folks, this is big business! 

Of course, blogs are just one part of the home decor cosmos. HGTV is seen in more than 99 million households with an annual revenue figure of $176 million. According to Target's 2012 annual report, close to $13 billion in sales came from their home furnishings and decor department. That's almost equal to the GDP of Iceland people!!!

So why the national obsession? I suppose I am in a good position to answer that given I am one of the masses. For me, it is my creative outlet. Starting with a blank slate and creating a beautiful space gives me pure joy. There's no drama. There are no deadlines. No one is yelling at me or counting on me. It's just me and a giant puzzle that I am obsessed with putting together. The minute I have a scheme in mind, I literally can't wait to implement it. And once it's done, I keep going back into that room to look at what I've done. I know how that sounds and let's be honest, being an amateur designer and beginner blogger hardly makes me Mother Teresa.

So how do I balance my obsession with pretty things and my inner desire to give back? I got a small glimpse at how I might be able to do both this summer when I was contacted by BJs Wholesale Club who asked me to help them redesign a teacher's lounge at an elementary school in central Virginia. On a hot August day, I took my 10 year old daughter with me and we took shots of the lounge and then using all BJs products and a very limited budget, I came up with a concept to transform the space. Here was how the room looked when I visited:

And here is the inspiration board I created using all products from BJs. I provided them with a detailed and numbered guide on how to implement the design and which products to chose from their website. Unfortunately, scheduling and budget constraints kept this project from being implemented in this way, but I was happy to do the work and it inspired me to do more.

Now that I have reduced my work schedule and am close to finishing my own house, I am going to start looking for more projects where I can give my time to helping the designer challenged. And I think you know who you are. JUST KIDDING! What I mean is finding deserving people/places that could use a little pick me up to make daily life that much more enjoyable. A balanced life awaits!