bed with linen sheets, wood box nightstand

How to think outside the box for what you need. Even if what you need is a box.

authentic living design our journey May 19, 2022


Sometimes you need to think about something a little differently to find a better, more authentic solution. That’s where I live, my sweet spot, solutions that seem so simple and obvious.  But let me tell you, getting there is not always so simple and obvious.  You might have to think about it more than you thought.

I get a lot of heat because I make things look easy.  People, friends, family - they turn to me to do things for them because it seems easier for me.  Let me be clear, it is not.  I am simply willing to put the focus and effort in that it takes to complete the project.  I am not magical or superwoman, although it does feel like it sometimes.  You can be just as confident and capable, but it does take work.  It’s a different kind of magic.

MORAL OF THE STORY (I am not going to wait until the end, because it’s THAT important) - Just because something looks easy doesn’t mean it is. Do not think you can shortcut the amount of work it takes to create something just because it ‘should be easier’.  Or it didn’t seem like it took someone else that much time.  Creating anything worthwhile takes time.  And thought.

I am not suggesting you have to sit and agonize over this decision but you DO have to think about it.  I have decisions lingering in the back of my mind often.  Rolling around in there and then something will spark a thought or direction and I roll with it.  Down the rabbit hole I go until I either come to a conclusion, pause or go a new direction.  I spend a lot of time in pause mode.  With thoughts in my mind but not really thinking about anything - and then it comes to me.  

Here is an absolutely perfect example of my thought process and how I end up with solutions that creatively solve problems in an efficient and beautiful way.  I am going to walk you through something that seems like an obvious choice, now that I have the solution but as we all know, things are not always as they appear.

I needed a nightstand.  My mattress is currently on the floor and for a variety of reasons, I actually like it there best.  But what I don’t like is my stuff all piled on the floor next to my bed.  It feels messy and haphazard and I want it to feel calm and purposeful.  

I don’t have a lot - a couple of journals, tarot cards, some personal items I don’t need strewn about, a place to put a glass of water and charge my phone.  It needs to be low, since the bed is on the floor and I am open to something unusual.  

I should preface for anyone new to the blog, we recently moved and have very little furniture.  We are being intentionally minimal and I want to really consider what we have in our home.  I only want what we need and for the most part, we have all that we need.  

For example, the kids wanted a side table the other day, so Bjorn cut two holes in a cardboard box and we have been moving it everywhere as the best side table with cupholders the world has ever seen!  It’s been decorated, made into a fort, a (pretend) bunny house, used as one of many parts of a contraption, a race car ramp and so much more.  I like it so much I was thinking, ‘how can I upgrade the cardboard box into my nightstand?’ and I say ‘upgrade’ lightly because as I have said, that cardboard box with cupholders is literally the best thing since sliced bread around here lately :)

Here’s where my thought process comes in:

What do I like about it?

  • I like that it’s square with clean lines.  
  • It gives me the feeling of being enclosed and organized but I can see everything.  
  • I like the simplicity of it.  I have this ‘inside’ portion and I have the top to set things on.  
  • I like the cupholders so I don’t knock my drink over.

What do I not like about it? 

  • The cardboard is kind of flimsy (although it’s held up surprisingly well)
  • Cardboard soaks up moisture / starts feeling dirty after a while.

My first thought was, ‘I could build a wooden box!’  Well I don’t live on my farm anymore.  We sold all of our tools, I am really not set up to do that right now.  

So I paused.  When we buy our house in the near future, it will be easier to set up a project like that.  And who knows what our bedroom will look like, that’s kind of why I am not in a huge rush to get a nightstand or at least spend too much money on one.  

Then I learned about a local makerspace.  Well that would certainly be easy, they have the space and tools I need, you pay by the hour and it wouldn’t take that long.  So now plans are starting to roll around in the back of my mind.  How I want to build it, I can use a hole saw to cut in some cupholders, oh yeah, this will be great.  I am still a little paused on it because I actually have to go out and do it and I am just not feeling super motivated.  Life is busy right now and I don’t have a lot of brain space.

One day I was thinking out loud about this project with some friends and I realized ‘why would I make a wooden box?  I am sure there are some out there I can customize.’

Then I remembered I had bought a wooden box to organize my bookshelf last week!  I ran to a room IN MY OWN HOUSE, grabbed the wooden box and tried it by the bed.  Too small.

NBD (No big deal).  When I bought that box they had a bigger version right next to it.  Back to target I go and boom!  Amazing wood nightstand that I can still drill holes into for cupholders when I am ready.  I could seal it someday but I like the way wood patinas.  It functions exactly how I hoped it would and if I decide to do something different in our next bedroom I can always use a wooden box somewhere.  Although it’s going to have to be something pretty awesome to steer me away from my bed on the floor with a wooden box nightstand.  Hobo chic?  I am into it.  

All of this to say, it’s ok to spend time thinking about the things that impact your life on a daily basis.  In fact, YOU NEED TO!  If every time I see my nightstand, it feels messy and chaotic, I am going to feel that way.  Set your space up in a way that makes YOU feel good.  Especially your bedroom!  Who are you putting up a front for?  If they made it to your bedroom, they want to know you.  Express yourself!

This is your space, your home and your life.  Your home should look like you and it’s worth taking the time to figure out what that looks like.  You are worth the trouble.  

A successful project begins with you.  Getting clear on your goals and priorities, being honest with yourself about the way you like to live your life and being brave enough to go for it!  

If a member of your home design team makes you feel otherwise, they are not right for your team.  We all have different styles and priorities so find the team that understands your vision and can deliver your dream.  

B Design is here for you and I would be happy to be part of your team!  Offering 1:1 coaching by the hour, to get you started or work through a tricky situation as well as the online course Design Your Dream Home. It's the ultimate guide to the interior design and construction process of your new home and exactly what every homeowner needs to set themselves up for success on your next home building project.  It’s everything you need to know to enter into the home building process feeling confident and ready to build a home you actually love!

For more information, check out Design Your Dream Home, right here.

Don't miss a thing!

Discussions, deep dives and interior design advice delivered to your inbox. 

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.