After 10 years, 6 redesigns and nearly 16,000 posts, I thought it was time to sit down and define what we stand for here at Design*Sponge. This site began as a small personal hobby during my lunch break and has grown and changed in ways I could never possibly imagine. I’ve gone from blogging alone in my room to managing over 20 people to narrowing down to a small, nimble and devoted team of colleagues that I wouldn’t change for the world. When I first started, there were less than a handful of us talking about design online. We didn’t need to stand out because there wasn’t a crowd to differentiate ourselves from. But 10 years later this incredible design community has grown to such great heights that I think it’s important to talk about the things we do (and don’t) believe in here. I’ve spent months thinking about why we write this blog, what matters most to us and what informs every single thing we post. And what I ended up with was a manifesto of sorts, a list of 10 statements that lay our hearts, minds and beliefs on the table and hopefully will help you get to know us better as we are today. One of the greatest joys of my life so far has been getting to learn and grow alongside all of you and I hope that sharing our goals with Design*Sponge can enable us to connect even more as we move forward. xo, grace
We believe that great homes are real, lived-in spaces. One of the first things that led me to start a blog was a desire to see homes that I could relate to. Homes that were still finding their way, figuring things out and that weren't perfectly symmetrical and color-coordinated. I will always have a soft spot for well-matched patterns, but our goal is to celebrate spaces that represent a wide range of people, places, styles and moments in life.
We believe that great homes take time: My favorite homes belong to people who have lived a long and interesting life. That's because they've had time to experience things, collect objects that mean something to them and put them together in a way that is unique to them. For me, the lesson to learn from those great spaces is that design will evolve and change as you do. We want to accept homes for where they are right now and celebrate them for what they represent at every stage of your - and our - lives.
We believe in guidelines, not rules: I'm tired of being told that there is a right and wrong way to make a home. Most of my favorite spaces are the ones that break those "rules" and turn them on their head. They use furniture that doesn't match, embrace patterns that often clash and accept clutter if it means giving their favorite objects the attention they deserve. So instead of rules, we believe in guidelines that are helpful. There's more than one way to arrange a living room and we'll always be here to share creative inspiration for that process, but we don't believe in telling anyone that there's only one "right" way to build your home.
We believe in the power of color and pattern: Color and pattern can completely change a room and, a lot of the time, your outlook on your entire space and how you'll start (and end) each day. They don't have to be bold (some of our favorite colors are neutrals), but when used wisely at home, they can turn an empty space into a home that reflects who you are and what you enjoy.
We believe that anyone can create a home that makes them happy: No one at Design*Sponge is a professional decorator or interior designer. We have the utmost respect for them and the deep range of skills and vision they bring to the table, but we also feel strongly that anyone can make their home beautiful with the right tools, information and guidance. Whether we're working together to find an affordable striped fabric for a DIY shower curtain or suggesting ways to make a room feel bigger with mirrors, we have the power to help each other make homes that work.
We believe that making mistakes is part of building a home: Doing something the wrong way is sometimes the best and most effective way to learn something. It's true for life and business and also for your home. We're not afraid to make mistakes, change our minds or embrace that our styles and interests will change over time. Your home is a living, breathing space and it's okay to repaint, rearrange and admit that that spray painted couch didn't quite work out.
We believe great homes are both functional and beautiful: A home that doesn't work for the people who live there will never be quite right. We love an ombre fade on a bookshelf as much as the next Pinner, but for a home to truly be beautiful, it needs to be practical for the people who live inside. That's why we are devoted to finding better ways to work more storage into your home and organize things so you can focus on displaying and celebrating the objects that mean most to you, whether they're books and artwork or family collections and wall hangings.
We believe high quality work takes time and is worth investing in: Design*Sponge began with a simple goal - to build a platform for handmade design. Now that "handmade," "DIY" and "indie" are words we see in mainstream catalogs, our goal has shifted toward helping all of us understand, or at least respect, the prices makers have to charge for their time and materials. Does that mean that everyone has to shop this way? Absolutely not. But we believe that, in the long run, investing in pieces that are made well and have a personal connection to you and your community will lead to a longer life for the objects in your home and a more meaningful relationship with them.
We believe that beauty doesn't have to cost a fortune: Handmade or store-bought work isn't in everyone's budget - and that's totally fine. There is no end to what you can build and up-cycle with your own two hands to make your home a beautiful space that you love. We vow to always dedicate a weekly section of our site to projects that are affordable, easy and fun - that way you always have a choice when it comes to decorating. You can buy, share, swap or make it yourself.
We believe that the creative community online has the power to transform not just spaces, but lives: Design blogs aren't just about decorating. We're helping each other start businesses, find collaborators and friends, and more importantly, share ideas and tips that help us all build happier homes. When people have a place where they feel happy, safe and comfortable, good things can happen.