We all have 'house dysmorphia' – says interior designer Breegan Jane

The HGTV designer on the aspirational phenomenon that's making us feel bad

Modern white kitchen with kitchen island decorated with twigs in a vase
(Image credit: Julie Soefer)

Interior designer and HGTV star Breegan Jane says that when organizing our homes, we need to cut ourselves some slack. Because otherwise, we could fall into the trap of 'house dysmorphia'.

When we spoke to the LA-based TV host and entrepreneur, she described a 'second wave' of unrealistic comparison – one that applies to our homes as opposed to our bodies.

Breegan recently posted a home organizing Instagram reel that contained the very same message. This clip was about giving yourself 'garage grace' – forgiving ourselves for our cluttered garages when staging a house to sell, given that most people expect a garage to be used for storage.

Breegan Jane on 'house dysmorphia'

So, what is 'house dysmorphia' and how can we avoid falling into its trap?

Black dining chairs and light, marble top table

(Image credit: Melanie Hay Design)

In light of her comments about embracing garage clutter, we asked Breegan if she thinks we're too hard on ourselves when it comes to decluttering and organization.

'I think we're extremely hard on ourselves,' she responds. 'What did somebody call it... Let me think of this phrase because I loved it so much – "house dysmorphia," much like body dysmorphia.'

And, you guessed it, she says it's coming off Instagram. 'Much like we used to compare ourselves, or we still do, but we've gotten a little better at knowing the supermodel on the cover of the magazine isn't a realistic projection of what you should be aiming for with your body,' she says.

'We're doing this with our houses. And as a designer, all of my colleagues, we're posting our work, but what you don't see is the pile of mess in the other corner.' For example, she and other designers she knows all unplug all of their phone chargers before taking a photo.

breegan jane
Breegan Jane

Breegan Jane is a TV host, designer, entrepreneur & philanthropist in Los Angeles. Breegan’s signature style meshes the artistic and elegant with livable comfort. She achieves a stunning, modern aesthetic with decor that maximizes elegance and fosters simplicity, serenity, and supreme comfort.

beige dining table and chairs

(Image credit: Future PLC)

'You never see on Instagram an interior designer's public work with the phone charger in the corner, but who lives without a phone charger?' she asks. She has a point, as even those of us who have found smart ways to organize cables have chargers lurking on our nightstands and kitchen counters. And this is totally fine. And if your laptop or phone charger cables are taking over, Command hook strips (featured in Breegan's personal Amazon store can help hold them in place.

Homes & Garden's Deputy Editor (digital) Jennifer Ebert agrees that we can be too hard on ourselves when it comes to how our homes look. 'Anyone who loves interiors will be used to seeing immaculate kitchens and beautifully styled dining areas on their Instagram feeds,' says Jen. 

'I love to see the work of some of my favorite designers and the new ways in which people are decorating their homes, it's just important to bear in mind that these are not a representation of the average household,' Jen adds. Whether you have a busy family home or a studio, these stunning spaces are a minority.'

Jennifer Ebert
Jennifer Ebert

Jennifer Ebert is the Deputy Editor (Digital) of Homes & Gardens online. Before starting this position, she had completed various interior design courses at KLC Design School, as well as working across Ideal Home, LivingEtc, 25 Beautiful Homes and Country Homes & Interiors as an interiors writer. Jen oversees and produces interior design content every day, from the latest decor trends to pieces that answer our readers' design dilemmas.

During our conversation, Breegan also highlights just how important it is to be realistic and practical when it comes to our homes. Be it organizing a closet or a bathroom cabinet, she says that storing our belongings in a way that suits us and how we live is far more important than aesthetics.

For instance, she says there's absolutely no point folding all of your scarves perfectly, because when you're rushing to put an outfit together, those three scarves you pull out of the drawer when you're trying to find the right one aren't going to get folded back again. A wicker basket, at Walmart is ideal for storing scarves, as it keeps them together and looks neat, even if inside they're all jumbled up.

navy blue kitchen with island and bar stools

(Image credit: Future PLC)

As mentioned above, Breegan is convinced that we are entering a 'second wave of unrealistic goals,' putting ourselves under unnecessary pressure to achieve a home that looks a certain way and is unattainable. 

'If you're trying to organize, you need to have to have an accurate goal set forward that isn't the cover of a magazine,' she asserts.

And how do we avoid falling into the trap of unrealistic comparison? Breegan says that where we go wrong is focusing on the end result while organizing when really, all the work is in the process. 

Think about how you use the space you're organizing, which elements work, and which could be improved. And, ultimately, worry less about things being perfect, because the chances are they are flaws that nobody else notices.

Millie Hurst
Section Editor

Millie Hurst is a freelance lifestyle writer with over six years of experience in digital journalism. Having previously worked as Solved Section Editor at Homes & Gardens and Senior SEO Editor at News UK in London and New York, Millie has written for an array of homes brands including Livingetc and Real Homes and was formerly Senior Content Editor at Ideal Home. She has written and edited countless features on home organization, decluttering and interior design and always hopes to inspire readers with new ways to enjoy their homes. She lives in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, and loves to weave nature-inspired decor and nods to time spent in Italy into her own home.