ELMS: What does your home say about you?

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I am obsessed with HGTV.

For those of you who are not in your 40s or one of my poor roommates who has to share a TV with me, HGTV stands for Home and Garden Television. The channel covers everything from interior design to house hunting to landscaping to home inspections, and I can’t get enough of it.

Although I enjoy the design tips, gardening demos and homeowner advice (I mean, I’ll own a home someday, right?), I’ve come to the realization that what I really tune in for is the opportunity to take a peek inside other people’s houses – and not in a creepy, snoopy sort of way.

I like HGTV because it gives me a glimpse into people’s lives.

A home says a lot about the person or people who live there. The flooring, furniture and paint colors say as much about someone as the personal items they choose to display and the ways in which they display them.

I am without a doubt a people person. When I meet someone, I want to know everything about them. I want to know what makes them tick, their likes, their dislikes and what’s important to them. For me, HGTV is as much about people watching as it is home design.

While I’m not particularly picky about my people watching, my favorite shows are the ones set in Milwaukee or the surrounding area. I connect to these episodes more because the homeowners live in the same city as I do. We likely eat at the same restaurants, walk through the same parks and shop at the same malls, and I think that connection is pretty neat.

So when I came across Home Again, a blog by Milwaukee-based marketing freelancer Ghazal Sheei, I was ecstatic. Sheei seems to share my interest in learning about people and families by how they choose to design their personal spaces, and she uses her blog as a platform to contribute her thoughts and findings. She photographs the homes of Milwaukee creatives — artists, musicians, designers and the like — and posts them with a brief write-up to bring in context and incorporate her interpretation of each space.

I am captivated by Home Again because the featured individuals are young, hip and live in neighboring areas like Bay View, Walker’s Point and Riverwest. That, and the décor of their homes make it clear they lead creative lives.

I imagine they embrace the kind of lifestyle I hope I will have in five years or so – living on a budget, giving back to the city and doing something I love for a living. Who knew you could infer so much just from the way a house is decorated?

After visiting the blog several times, I got to thinking that you don’t have to be an incredibly creative mind to make a statement with your living space. I am by no means an artist, and I think my room in my apartment says a lot about me. It is bright, clean and an organized mess, with artwork, trinkets and photos that I have collected over the years on display.

My room speaks to my person, my interests, values and passions, and I hope that translates to people when they visit.

So take a look at your home, your dorm, apartment, house or whatever space you live in, and figure out what you want it to say about you. If you feel like it’s missing something, then personalize it! Are you organized? Eclectic? Traditional? Let your space reflect who you are.

Your home doesn’t only have to be the place where you eat and sleep. It should be a place where you express yourself.

If you don’t know where to start, visit the Home Again blog or turn on HGTV to get those ideas rolling. But be warned, you might just get hooked.

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