Taking The Slow Approach To Designing Your Home

Slow home design is the principle of moving slowly to design homes and spaces that are sustainable, practical and functional. The slow home movement was founded in Calgary as a response to the poor design practices that have pervaded the mass housing industry over the past few decades. It encompasses many ideas on how to live more sustainably—from LEED certification to the simple positioning of windows. For those of us who aren’t able to build new or renovate from the ground up, it’s a concept we can embrace by simply looking for ways to make our homes more efficient, better for our overall wellbeing and easier to maintain.

Erin Barrett’s home tour

But you can take this approach whether you’re renting or you own, whether your space is old or new. While you might not be in a position to remodel your house slowly, you can still take the slow approach when it comes to designing and decorating. 

Sophie Carpenter’s home tour

Avoid instant gratification

We live in a world where you can have a new sofa in your living room with a couple clicks and 48 hours. It’s easy to give into this instant gratification when you’re looking for an easy change. But this quick reaction often leads to buyer’s remorse. When it comes to your home, it’s always best to take your time and fully flesh out all of your decisions and purchases. Trust me, I know it’s tempting to rush into big projects, particularly if your décor style has evolved or you’ve moved into a new space with designs that you really don’t like from previous occupants. But if you act on impulse, you’ll risk spending time and money on something that you’ll come to regret and soon want to change. It’s a mistake I’ve made myself; I decorated our tiny rental within days of moving into our current house and ended up redoing both of them within a couple of years. 

Allie Mood’s home tour

Focus on sustainability

When taking the slow approach to designing your home, just remember that less is more. Instead of six cheaper throw pillows that you’ll just get rid of in a year, try finding a couple high-quality pillows from sustainable materials that will last for years. When you focus on sustainability, you also avoid trends. Because who knows what will be in style a few years from now? It’s best to stick with what’s your personal taste rather than what you think will look best in your IG photos. When you opt for sustainable home décor, you also reduce your carbon footprint because your purchases won’t end up in a landfill six to 12 months from now.

Amelia Canham Eaton’s home tour

Make mood boards

This is something I’ve learned over the years before making purchases. Even if you’re just looking for a new piece of artwork, it’s important to see it in your space before you purchase. I like to use Canva to compile a board with all the current pieces in the room, and then the options I’m considering adding in. For example, when I was working on my outdoor space, I put together this board with all the items I had liked and sat with it for a few days.

It’s important to step away from it and look at it with fresh eyes after a few days. If you’re still in love with it, great! But you’d be surprised how often you can feel underwhelmed or change your mind.

Go beyond aesthetics

Sometimes, function truly is more important than curb appeal. That super cool-looking couch may be #goals, but if you don’t actually want to sit on it, it’s a waste of money. First and foremost, your home should be designed to be somewhere you want to be. Think about your wellness and your lifestyle as you design your home. What do you want each room to feel like? What is your purpose in each space? What could you incorporate into the rooms to help you feel your best every time you’re in it. Before you make a purchase, make a list of what you want that entire room to embody. What do you want to feel when you walk into it? Jot down the vibes, feelings, comfort factors, etc. And then make sure the items you’re adding to your cart check every box before you complete your purchase.

Shaylyn Gammon’s home tour


For more decorating tips, check out these posts: How To Give Your Kitchen A Parisian Cafe Makeover, Samantha’s Super Satisfying Fridge + Pantry Makeover and 10 Small But Mighty Half Baths We Love

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Author: Samantha Welker

Samantha Welker is the business manager at Glitter Guide. She has an Master's in Corporate Finance & Sustainability from Harvard Business School but prefers working in the creative industry. She also hosts a weekly business podcast for creative women called Pretty Okay Podcast. She loves spending time with her husband and her son, Rocky, in sunny San Diego. Follow along on Instagram