Comfort In Chaos

I’m curious. How do these photos make you feel? Does the unstyled clutter and chaos make you uncomfortable or does it make you feel a teensy bit good? Are you itching to tidy these rooms or are you thinking about your own less than perfect homes (the stuff you don’t share on social media), and maybe you’re feeling a bit comforted? If you’ve followed this blog for long enough you’ll know how I feel about showing the more natural and real side of our homes. When I started this blog in 2010 I didn’t call it Life Unstyled for nothing. I’m a big fan of a spice rack that isn’t alphabetised and a bookshelf where the books can easily be picked up and read, rather than styled to death and totally untouchable.
Antwerp home via Life Unstyled

I think that finally the world might be catching up. Finally there might be a backlash to the over-styled, unattainably perfect images we are constantly bombarded with on Instagram and in interiors magazines (and yeah ok, blogs as well). But let’s be completely honest about this. We still want to see stylish homes, interiors that are creative and inspiring and that give us ideas for our own homes. I’m still an interiors fanatic so I’m not interested in seeing pictures of dishevelled and tasteless homes. And it’s not about seeing someone’s dirty laundry spilling from their bedroom hamper either, but I do want to feel better about myself when I look at interiors blogs and magazines. (Kind of like when you see a photo of a celebrity without makeup or with a hint of – shock horror – cellulite. It’s not about shaming them, it’s more of a revelation, like “Huh, they’re human after all”).

And I guess that’s why images of homes like these appeal to me. The homes themselves are still great – stylish with personality and interesting features – but they happen to have been photographed in a more natural state, showing things the way they really are rather than the way we often (me especially, as a stylist by profession) fake them for a photo. Bookshelves with all life’s clutter scattered on them; kitchens with open shelving where everything doesn’t match and things are a bit haphazard; sitting rooms with toys and kids’ art thrown in the mix. In my eternal quest for a Life Unstyled, homes like these inspire and comfort me. How about you?

Ilse Crawford bookshelves via Life Unstyled

Image sources: one, two, three.

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  • Reply Emma Nunn 6 February 2016 at 7:31 PM

    I love them! I am so over over styled perfect homes. With these you see personality and individualism. I love ‘The Selby in your home ‘ because of this. It’s far more interesting!!! Great stuff Emily x

    • Reply Emily Henson 9 February 2016 at 9:24 AM

      So great to hear that Emma! More to come…

    • Reply Andrea Meyer 13 November 2021 at 8:03 PM

      I am SOOO GLAD I am not the only one overfed with these “perfect homes” which make me feel uneasy and guilty…
      I love these REAL homes with lots of everyday lifeclutter and a dying plant between

      • Reply Emily Henson 24 November 2021 at 2:46 PM

        I’m so glad you’ve found us then because that is what Life Unstyled is all about! I even wrote a book on it 🙂

  • Reply Margaret Hunt 16 May 2017 at 12:40 PM

    These photos make me feel comfortable. Rather than perfect little vignettes you are afraid to touch, these look like a place where you can pick up things, wonder at pictures and books, and play with your child on the floor. It’s imperfectly perfect.

    • Reply Emily Henson 21 May 2017 at 9:55 AM

      Exactly! That’s how a home should be in my opinion. x

  • Reply emily jane 24 July 2017 at 6:34 PM

    I loooove this -exactly the balance I am going for in my home!!! you inspired a new Pinterest page “unstyled -yet still visually pleasing ; )”. Thanks for articulating my aesthetic so clearly (I actually feel more grounded/centered/at ease -even more appreciative of my own in-home design accomplishments!- than I did before finding this post.?!). Looking forward to exploring your blog further : )

    • Reply Emily Henson 31 July 2017 at 12:14 PM

      So very glad to hear that Emily!! That’s why I do what I do. I’m not doing the hard sell here, I promise, but I do have a book called Life Unstyled as well. More homes like these – beautiful, creative, inspiring, but a bit imperfect. Enjoy!

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