Yes, Make Your Space Pretty (And No, Don’t Feel Guilty About It)

You can’t change the world unless you find your people. This is a story of shared transformation, and I invite you to come along. Through a contact at Impact Hub Minneapolis-St. Paul, I met wholistic consultant Julie Delene of Move as One this spring. Within minutes, we both knew we had work to do, together.

We’ve teamed up to create this blog series, The Soulful Sidebiz. I’m following my call to help people find my voice, and Julie’s providing me tools for creating systemic change. Our hope is to inspire you on your own journey of transformation, whatever it may be. Here’s to aligning passions with goals!

“I’d love to hang the pictures in my home office,” I responded with a sigh, “but I’ve been avoiding the task for months. I want to be surrounded by art. Instead, the room has frames stashed on the floor and clutter in every corner.” Even as I spoke these words, I perceived the slightest question on Julie’s face. I could tell this wasn’t what she’d thought I’d say, and–quite frankly–it wasn’t what I’d have predicted, either.


I Visualize a Goal

I was in the middle of a leadership consultation, you see, and I’d just answered a question from a board game. Created by Julie, the game helps players gain clarity. Called 5 Mindful Moves, it prompts players to have conversations around enhancing their work, life, and relationships. In my case, the plan is to build a side business that “does good” in the world and generates income. (Deep down, I fear this isn’t possible. Help me, Julie!)

Today’s game had begun in the same way it always does: I named the objective I wanted to explore. This time I’d told Julie I wanted to think through a decision I was mulling at my full-time job. I’d already completed my first two moves and had just pulled a card from a stack of prompts about visualizing my goals.

Look, it actually happened! These pictures adorn the wall, providing constant energy and inspiration. For months, they sat on the floor leaning against the wall. Thanks our recent conversation, I got the motivation to take on the task of hanging them. Now I see this was an important step in furthering my side-biz goals.

I Allow My Inner Voice to Speak (And You Should, Too)

All of a sudden, I came up with a response that had nothing, whatsoever, to do with my full-time job. Instead I began talking about hanging pictures in my home office. But even though my response surprised me, I didn’t push it away. For an over-functioner like me, this was a tiny victory. Moments of allowing can teach us so much, if we can resist the urge to bury them.

In this case, I was finally allowing myself to listen to an inner voice I’d been ignoring for months. I’d wanted to hang pictures in my office for nearly half a year. And yet. Over and over again, I’d come up with reasons not to. Raise your hand if any of these sound familiar:

  • Hanging pictures is frivolous. I have more practical things to do, like laundry.
  • Putting holes in the wall will mar the room for future residents. (Never mind the fact that we have no plans to sell the house.)
  • I don’t have the proper nails. What exactly are the proper nails, anyway?
  • Hanging pictures requires making decisions. Which pictures should go where, and what if I change my mind later?
  • I’m tired. The Gilmore Girls are calling my name.
Thanks to a prompt similar to this, I was spurred into action. The card sparked a conversation in which Julie underscored the importance of personalizing my home office. Three days after my coaching session–that very weekend–I busted out the hammer and nails. My wall now surrounds me with art. Finally!

I Take Action and Hang The Freaking Pictures

What Julie helped me realize is that decorating the office wasn’t just a fanciful whim. Having a well-designed office is critical to productivity, and–for an artist like me–inspiration. Don’t just take my word for it. As Entrepreneur magazine puts it, “Ensure that your office reflects you and that it contains a favorite object or photo that will give you the break you need when you pause in your work . . . Your office should be a connection to yourself, your spirit and your productivity.”

Photo a frame I decorated with the words, "Make, Mend, Change."
I bought these letters at a local thrift shop, then glued them to this simple frame. Rather than adding photos, I warmed the frame with scraps of fabric. What do you want to make, mend, or change in your life?

I Surround Myself With Art

My office is no longer a reminder of things I intend to do. Instead it gives me energy by surrounding me with art.

  • A pencil drawing by my grandfather, who was an architect.
  • A block print by a friend to commemorate his wedding. (The couple distributed handmade gifts to guests during the ceremony, encouraging us not to be shy about accepting them.)
  • A picture frame I transformed myself, using letters I bought during this amazing trip to one of my fave local thrift stores.
  • Items picked up at art festivals, independent bookstores, and fabric remnant bins.
I adore this piece. My grandfather was an architect who loved sketching buildings. Though I only knew him through the eyes of a child, my adult perception appreciates the careful precision he put into every scene. This one depicts the courtyard of a California home he and my grandmother Dosie lived in for years.

Your Turn. Go Out and Pretty Up Your Space.

If you’ve been hesitating to prettify a space of your own, I hereby give you permission to go for it. After hanging my pictures, I immediately starting using the space. Indeed, as I type this post, I’m looking at my wall, which still makes me smile every time glance up. If you have a project in mind, let me know how it goes. I’d love to hear!








15 thoughts on “Yes, Make Your Space Pretty (And No, Don’t Feel Guilty About It)

  1. I love this! I procrastinate doing so many things…I’m tired, I have to do this, I have to do that…but I need to stop making excuses. I love the art you hung on your walls!


    1. I’m so with you on this, Shann. I’m finding that the better I take care of myself, the less power I give to my excuses. If your inner voice is telling you that doing something will bring energy or joy, give yourself permission to go for it!


  2. Very thoughtful post Suzi! Yesterday I was just looking around my bedroom at the pictures leaning on dressers and thought “we’ve lived here 14 years and we’ve never fully moved in” and now we’re moving in the direction of selling our house and moving. Weird. Anyway, I love the images you have of your artwork on the walls. I create art for myself and loved ones and most pieces I don’t hang. In fact, once I finish a piece I rarely frame it. My sister swoops them up and frames them before I get careless with them. Another weird thing. Oh well, it takes a lot of quirky people to make the world go round! I’ll be stopping back here!



    1. Indeed, Julia, it does take a lot of quirky people to make the world go round. What a great sentiment to start my day! I wonder if you’d enjoy hanging some of that art you make for yourself. I really can’t get over how energizing it’s been for me to have my happiness wall replace a blank space that only reminded me of unrealized intentions. Anyway, keep on making art, wearing leopard shoes, and taking classy photos at art galleries!


  3. I work with my husband and we often talk about how bad our workspace is! We so need to do something with it. You are right, you need to just do it. It is so important to have a good workspace. I have some inspiring things in my kitchen for when I start my day, but you are right, I need to do and not just think about it!


    1. I can’t get over how much my energy grew once I fixed the space. The time it took to actually DO it was nothing, compared to what I’ve gained. Now I truly use and enjoy the room, every day! Thanks for taking the time to comment. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I have my own little “gallery” on my cubicle walls at work – doodles and little paintings that I’ve done myself, plus random things people have given me or that I’ve found here or there. Nothing fancy, half the stuff is on post-its and everything’s up with scotch tape and thumbtacks, and people probably think it’s a little weird that my cubicle looks like an art-type worker’s when I’m in the finance department, but it makes me happy to look at it all.


    1. This story makes me smile, Bonnie! Bringing ourselves our job makes us better at it, and not having to hold back will makes us happier at home, too. Bring the art to the cube; I love it! And thanks for taking the time to comment.


  5. Way to go Suzi! Nice piece. Thanks for including GranDad’s picture of 241 24th St. It indeed provides a connection.



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