#DSCandid + Moments from Daily Life

by Grace Bonney


Here at Design*Sponge, one of the things we talk about the most is the concept of “real life.” You know, “What does that room look like in real life? Is it always that neat and tidy? Can you really get away with a white sofa and kids?”

For me, the word “real” is as problematic as the concept of “authentic”: what does it actually mean? And who am I to determine what is real and what isn’t? I’ve come to the conclusion that “real” means different things to different people, and what’s “real” for one person is totally unrealistic for another. And that’s totally okay.

Most people think very carefully about what they post online and they try their best to put their best foot (and pictures) forward. But I know that deep down, a lot of us wonder what things look like when they’re not being styled for that perfect Instagram shot. Statistically, we can tell you from 12 years of blogging that people prefer styled pictures and interiors, but when it comes to conversation, candid shots always generate more a meaningful discussion.

So for this month’s hashtag challenge, we’re embracing a life less styled. Not because it’s any better or worse than any other type of life, but because I think it’s important to show spaces and people and ideas that aren’t “perfect,” as much as it’s nice to see things that seem like they are.

Upload a candid moment from your creative life and share it with us at the hashtag #DSCandid, along with a story about what’s happening in the picture.  Hopefully these photos will inspire some moments of openness, understanding, empathy and humor. Because if you can’t look at my living room above and laugh, you’re clearly not imagining the amount of hours I spend on my knees picking up tiny tufts of shredded dog toys. xo, grace

Above: Candid moments from Kelli and Caitlin’s homes

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  • That top picture is cracking me up–and reminding me of my dogs. It’s amazing what two dogs can do. Love it!

  • Nice post Grace. I’ve been thinking about this also, I love seeing people’s perfect houses but there’s something rich and exciting about seeing the “real” rooms. We live in a tiny house so it’s literally tidy for a minute before it builds up again Konmari or not!

    • Cynthia

      I agree. I think we do a lot of sharing the “tidy state” already here on DS, so this challenge is more about sharing those “untidy” moments.


  • I love this idea and I’m so excited about taking part.

    As much as I love my design magazines and blogs, it sometimes (really) gets to me how each room is perfectly styled, each pillow is karate chopped just so, and each entrance has a pristine Hunter’s rain boot displayed proudly.

    It makes me wonder if I’m the only one who has mud with her rain, and consequently ‘un-display worthy’ Hunter boots.

  • Personally, I’m tired of the overuse of the words “real” and “authentic” on social media, and I completely agree that it means different things to different people. I think people putting their best foot forward in the form of well-composed, though-out photos is no less real/authentic than some of the more spontaneous/candid photos.

    • Eunice

      I agree. I’ve read some amazing articles by people who suffer from OCD (not to say that all neat people do by any means!) who feel judged and criticized for sharing their homes, which are often fastidiously clean because of cleaning and organizing behaviors associated with OCD. There are also just other people for whom cleaning is a meditative act or something that makes them feel GOOD. I think neither end of the spectrum should feel judged for living- and sharing- exactly who they are and what makes them happy. And by calling one thing more “real” than another, we’re doing that. That’s why I played around so much with the title of this challenge. Candid still isn’t 100% what I want it to be, but “casual” implied too much for me, too. Either way, the word “authentic” means so little to me any more.

      This is a great article that explains why:



  • Very excited about this! It can be disheartening sometimes, constantly seeing an internet full of perfectly-styled, perfectly-clean homes, in those moments when you forget it’s both likely they don’t live that wall all the time, and that it’s not good to compare yourself to standards set by the internets.

    Will be looking forward to seeing some variety in the way we present our homes. Thanks for this!

  • I loved seeing this series on your instagram!!! gives life humor and really makes social media real again. just like the muddy paw prints that are a staple in my home every day ever since we adopted our pup last year… and i wouldn’t change it for anything in the world!

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