The Healing Powers of Decorating Post Break-up

The Healing Powers of Decorating Post Break-up

Grace Shu
Oct 14, 2008
"I guess it looks as if you're reorganizing your records. What is this though? Chronological?" "No...Autobiographical." - John Cusack, from High Fidelity based on the book by Nick Hornby
In the past, we've discussed the pros and cons of moving in together as well as the struggle of dividing furniture when a relationship goes bust. Recently, a good friend of ours broke up with her boyfriend and while they didn't live together per se, her apartment was certainly a reflection of their joint tastes. In many relationships, it becomes easy to lose a bit--or a lot--of yourself in the name of love; so what happens when it all falls apart and you have to redefine yourself? Well, one thing we've found to be therapeutic is to start with your home...

Here's a few tips that we've round up from family and friends:

• After you've wallowed in sweats, gotten a new haircut, and watched Pride & Prejudice enough times to quote most of the lines ("What are men compared to rocks and mountains?"), the first thing to do is clean. Some would say a deep clean. Either way, it certainly helps you get reacquainted with the little details of your home and feeling productive when you're done. Also helpful? Gutting the wardrobe and setting aside the cast-offs for Goodwill and/or selling.

• If you're a re-arranger, sometimes even the little things like moving a couch to the other wall or upgrading dingy wall plates can make a huge difference--and maybe open up possibilities of other layouts or styles that you may not have considered before.

• Make an effort to complete the small, nagging easy DIY fixes around your home (like sanding down a blob of dried paint on the cabinet face so it shuts properly, or spraying WD-40 on a creaky hinge).

Ultimately, redecorating or upgrading your home can be an exercise to help you rediscover yourself. The things you like and dislike may have changed, or the risks that you normally wouldn't take due to compromise (like reupholstering a sofa in pink or putting your entire Pez collection on display) can be reconsidered and reevaluated.

Got some tips to add or an post break-up decorating experience you'd like to share? Post it in the comments...

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