The Nester
About the Author

Myquillyn Smith, The Nester, is a home stager, redesigner and design school drop-out. Her last home (a rental) was featured in Better Homes & Gardens, Cottages & Bungalows, Ladies' Home Journal and in her upcoming design philosphy book, The Nesting Place: It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful....

(in)side DaySpring: things we love
& you will too!
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(in)side DaySpring:
things we love
& you will too!
Find more at
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Reader Interactions


  1. As a military wife, I love the list! We could easily interchange “Sulk because you’re a renter” with “Sulk because you’re moving again”, and “Complain because your husband won’t do anything” to “Complain because your husband is gone again.”
    My contribution to the discussion would be to not save your pretties for so-called special occasion. Bring them out every so often to make a special occasion out of an otherwise ordinary, boring day. Better yet, use them every day. Let your children learn to appreciate (and respect) the finer things.
    I have a feeling that in one way or the other, I’m probably guilty of breaking every one of those rules at least once. I am, as I always like to say, a work in progress. Be patient; God’s not finished with me yet! 🙂

  2. Worry more about the house and how it looks than you do about your family. We must shower our family with more love than we do our house. This includes the spiritual well being and growth of our family. People matter more than things!!!

  3. Be concerned about outward appearances – how is this going to look to others? – rather than what works and feels best for you and your family.

  4. Don’t be creative in using what you already have in your home in new ways. I love redecorating our home with furniture and accessories from other rooms- or making new things out of unused things I have sitting around.

  5. Don’t start because you are afraid that you don’t have the time to do it, or to do it right. Thank you Nester for your wonderful site, I get so much inspiration from you!!! Please continue to blog for all of us out here looking for inspiration. God bless.

  6. this is a cute post.
    cant wait to someday live in my own home where i can let my creativity show!!

  7. Mine is definitely being afraid…of what? Letting my creative self come through only to have someone else not like it. Sad I know.
    my contribution to the list… having that one friend who is insanely creative and makes you feel a little frumpy. Not on purpose of course, just in your minds eye. But it is intimidating to “measure up”.

  8. This list describes me. And I keep saying that I will have a beautiful home once I have a house of my own… what will be my excuse when I get to that point?!

  9. For me, the way to avoid having a home I love is to put off having people over because the house isn’t “finished” or perfect yet. So sad…but I’m guilty of it!!

  10. Always compare your home to the other people you visit who always seem to have enough money and really tidy kids!
    (Inspired Nester!!!)

  11. Refuse to paint a color you actually like because 1) it might break color rules 2) it might not look good 3) it will just get chipped anyway or 4) you’ll just have to paint over it later when you move

  12. Guilty as charged. I also tend to put off having people over (or at least, certain people) until the projects are done and it looks “perfect.”

  13. Well after being a military wife several years I fell into all those categories, my issue now is I think I don’t have a clue as to what I am doing no formal education in decorating and just keep comparing myself to others houses. Although since I found the NEster’s blog, it has slowly changed me, we just moved into a beautiful house earlier this year and I am slowly falling in love with it (and it is a beautiful home, our forever home) I was also so inspired by the Nester hosting a BU gathering, I decided to become a consultant! Have been doing wonderful and realizing it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful and really falling in love with my home! thank you so much for all the great tips and inspiration!!

  14. Love these and always read the Nester and her ideas! I also have to say not inviting people because the house isn’t “company” clean. Or “as good” as others. My house is a home. I’ve poored love into it and have found guests FEEL that more than SEE it.

  15. How about: “Don’t use what you already own.”
    I’ve learned that just moving the furniture and accent pieces around can make a room feel brand new. Of course I take inspiration from magazines, bloggers, and designers, but then I make do with what I have and…make the most of it 🙂 Things don’t make a house a home.

  16. I think telling yourself you don’t have the time, talent or vision to have a home you’ll love should be number 10 on your list. With women working full time, caring for children, serving in the community, serving in the church, caring for aging parents – it feels like there is little time to care for our homes let alone ourselves. It’s easy to find our flaws and what we aren’t good at but it’s difficult to accept who we are and be ourselves (even through the expression of that in our homes).

  17. You’ll never be happy if you are waiting for that “one look” that will bring your home all together as a piece. Learning to love the ecclectic look can make all the difference in loving your home.

  18. Do nothing because you can’t do everything!! I am a big picture kind of girl, so if I can’t do the whole house over in one morning, so that it is all perfect….than I don’t do any of it!!!!!

  19. always judge your home based on how it compares to your friends’.
    Keep putting off entertaining until you…get a new couch, finish the paint job, have the carpets cleaned…etc.

  20. “Pick at the good things God has given.”
    “Be ungrateful.”
    “Just exist. Don’t thrive.”
    May God touch our hearts with what we need to do to make our home a happy place.

  21. Great list! I get obsessed with “staging” things when people come over…which is funny because I really don’t care when it’s just my husband and me. But I’ve learned that I really care about what others think, when the truth is they probably wouldn’t care!

  22. …think that the Home Interiors people are the final word. I had a consultant that said each room should have its own theme. I have 4 themes in each room, one on each wall and it’s home!!

  23. Forget to pray and ask God to give you a vision for your home and each room! It’s amazing what come to mind when you do and how He can show you what works best in that particular space…. I mean He’s the greatest designer there is! 🙂

  24. 10. Don’t repaint the inside in a color you love because you can’t get it all done in one day. So you don’t paint.
    Love the Nester – I’ve been reading her blog for a couple of years now!

  25. and don’t forget to keep your house soooo clean that the kids can’t really enjoy their own home.
    and be so busy cleaning it that you don’t enjoy those precious moments with your kids.

  26. I live in the house where I grew up- my dad built it. And I decorate like my mom- if something looks good in the spot it’s in, there is no need to move it for at least 25 years. Whereas some women love to “play” with what they’ve got, I hate rearranging, decorating and restyling because I’m always afraid I’ll end up not liking it as much as the first set-up I had, and then not be able to get it back to where it was! So I am afraid, very afraid.

  27. “…always think bigger is better”. It’s a trap we fall into as Americans, but a trip to a third world country makes me grateful for every square inch I have!

  28. My two additions would be:
    “Not dare to be creative yourself with unusual objects–repainting, repurposing, and reusing–because it doesn’t look as good as TV.”
    “Try to match your ‘look’ with some prescribed decor that someone else has decided matches or goes together.”

  29. Put off any projects to beautify your home because you think you don’t have the time to paint, craft, hang a picture…

  30. I second everything Candy said!
    When you move frequently (which I know you know as much if not more about that me) it is easy to get frustrated when your new housing plan doesn’t fit everything as well as your old one. So it feels like you just can’t get the perfect set up. But, as a wise gal once told me, “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.” So true, so true!
    Love, love, love you Nester!

  31. No matter how I decorate my home it never seems good enough!!
    But the beauty of our home should not come from outward adornment,instead it should be viewed as your inner self. The unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit in the Lord.
    “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved,you and your household” Acts 16:31.
    To God be the Glory in all households!! God’s Blessings to all with Love,
    Jan Belzer Schaumburg,Illinois

  32. you could add… make sure everything matches and was picked out by someone else.
    I think the most beautiful homes are the ones built over time with mismatched pieces and lots of love!

  33. Allow someone else to tell you what “your style” should be, based upon what their style is, the training they’ve had, or simply just their opinion. I’ve so often been guilty of not celebrating and being proud of my style, just because I think I need the approval of others to feel good about what I’ve done. If I have the approval of my Lord and my family, THAT’S all that matters!! 🙂

  34. Take things personally when people critique your style and then try to keep up with the “fashion” of the neighborhood.

  35. ….thinking that you have a no style or talent!
    I love the list! I’ve said some of those things to myself before.
    I have always tried to be a hospitable person. I love having friends over and have had to block out any of satan’s attempts at criticizing my house.
    God wants us to be welcoming when it comes to our homes.
    I’m glad.
    Perfect isn’t necessary. Warm & loving is!

  36. 11. Think that you have to have it all at once.
    12. Spend what little money you do have on travel, instead of your home :))
    I love your ideas and your blog – thanks for inspiring me!

  37. Hold off on little changes just because you can’t afford the “BIG” change you have your heart set on. Sometimes you have to make the most of what you have and look for things you can tweak.

  38. Feeling like things have to be all cleaned up before having people over. I’ve been learning to let this go. People love me, and have actually shared it’s nice to see things not all picked up.

  39. think your decorating style and ideas aren’t good enough because our mother never compliments the changes you make;
    always be annoyed by the lack of closet and storage space;
    hold off on changing your bathroom decor because it is so small and really ugly you are hoping it will get remodeled if you ignore it long enough
    thank you Nester – love your blog and insight to creating a home!

  40. For me an easy way to avoid having a home I love is believing it doesn’t matter because we won’t be in it long. We move so often with the military that it’s easy to not feel like you never will have a real home and not want to put the effort into making it the home of our dreams because we know we’ll be leaving and starting all over again soon.

  41. A sure way to avoid having a home you love is to make hasty purchases just to fill space instead of having the patience to wait until you find the items you love.

  42. Hello,
    I love the list…I had to chuckle at the “sulk because you’re a renter” phrase. I am a renter after losing a house through foreclosure and divorce. My ex-husband and I had built the house from scratch and had many details we had worked hard to in corporate in our home. So, two and a half yrs. later, I am renting a government subsidized, one bedroom apartment.I’ve lost most everything, but God’s love, care, and faithfulness…I’ve come to deeply know God’s providence throughout this situation.

  43. Great list and so true. I devour shows like Divine Design, House Hunters and Sabrina Soto’s staging ideas, thinking I can do that, too, but don’t know where to begin. It’s all overwhelming so I don’t do anything. I think another thing to add to your list is: You don’t have to do all or nothing… baby steps are OK, too.

  44. Think you don’t have enough money to decorate. A garage sale find and a little bit of paint works wonders.

  45. compare your home to others ( friends, family, etc….) and say you just don’t have any talent.

  46. Our homes our an extension of ourselves, whatever we feel insecure about ourselves, we are also going to feel insecure about our home.
    When we see our home as an extension of our earthly ministry, none of the other things matter.

  47. Not starting a project because you want it to be perfect! I get caught up on that one all of the time, so if it’s not perfect then I’ll just not do it and have nothing done. Hmmm, not a very productive way to get things done is it?!

  48. I would add not knowing exactly where to start. Letting yourself be overwhelmed by the idea of where to begin any project, this has kept me from starting at all.
    PS. I love, love, love thenester blog. I read it daily and over and over again.

  49. Not doing anything because you have no money to buy new things, even inexpensive things, remember to “shop the house” as the nester says. By doing that your spending nothing and may rediscover things you once loved, but forgot you had hidden away.

  50. Always worry about what others will think or say about your home — being afraid your home won’t measure up to others’ expectations. We should think on God’s expectations for our home and family, not others.

  51. Never remember the joy of a moment, only the spill you have to clean, or the scratches in the floor, or the tear in the curtains…
    Thank you, Nester, as always. I leave inspired…

  52. Not really make yourself at home because you’re not sure how long you will be staying in a place.

  53. I have to admit to falling into many of the traps above. It’s so easy to look at other people’s homes and think about how our’s falls up short.
    I would add: “Forget to be thankful about everything God has given you.”

  54. 10. Don’t look in any magazines for cheap ideas, because SO many other people read the same magazine, and you’ll have a house just like everyone else! (which is SO not true, because I’ve been copying magazine ideas for years & I’ve never seen any of them in anyone else’s house)

  55. Sulk because you don’t have money to buy what you think you need to have a “cute” house. Use what you have, you’ve probably been collecting a few things that would work together for a while now.
    thanks for the push to decorate my soon-to-be apartment! 🙂

  56. I use to worry about what everyone thought if I was caught by surprise by a visit and the house was not perfect. I cleaned every other day and everything was in its rightful place.
    Oh no..not any more!!!
    I stopped being a Martha, I wanted to be Mary!!!
    That is exactly what I did…I make it a point to be at peace about my home, because I am blessed daily to wake up and enjoy another day and to enjoy what the LORD has blessed my husband and I with.
    Having a Mary the best to have,,,all of this is temporal, the greatest treasure is sitting at Jesus feet!!!
    My home is a home and it is a place of peace where all can come and take their shoes off and be at home them selves!!
    Be at peace ladies…and know that your home is where your heart is, full of love, joy, peace, and happiness!!!
    Many Blessings,

  57. Try to make your home look like someone else’s. To me, my home is a representation of who i am. So if I like something, I try not to worry about it. It’s me, and if people don’t think it’s good enough, then they don’t have to come over. I’m proud of my home and everything in it, even if it will never be in a popular home magazine.

  58. Letting a sink full of dishes guilt you into not starting to finally paint your room..and really, the rest of the house should be clean and orderly before you can indulge in letting the creative juices flow…right?!!
    P.S. Thanks so much for your blog…it’s how I found In Courage and I’m loving my mistreatments!

  59. I think you covered most of it.
    I am now decorating my rented home in shabby chic romantic style…
    Just found this site, I am so glad I did.

  60. always stare at what everyone else has done online but never do it yourself because there are too many choices, or who should you most be like or my space isn’t exactly like so-and-so’s, so what do I do…or just be a procrastinator 🙂

  61. Here’s one: Blow your hours and days with skewed priorities by giving your attentions over to the endlessly draining Concerns of the World, so that you never seem to have the time or energy to actually BE a “Keeper of the Home”….making the house an attractive, clean, uplifting place to be.

  62. 10. Thinking that your current house could never be(come) your dream home even though every home, like every person, has endless potential.

  63. Don’t appreciate your own talents that Christ gave to you – anything goes, just be excited about yourself and I think we’d be surprised how many people would get excited right along with us. Your post is so uplifting! Thanks! You always hit the nail on the head.

  64. Your list covers it quite well.
    Perhaps another way of saying it: Allow your latent perfectionist mildly OCD tendencies to paralyze you.

  65. I can so relate to Candy as I’m also a military spouse that is constantly in base housing with white walls that you can’t paint unless you want to paint it back, tan carpet that you don’t want to mess up or have to pay, and poorly insulated. I could complain, but I am blessed with having a husband that fights for our freedom and I love to open my home to others, when I can. 🙂