I have a confession to make: I have a hat obsession. Hats bring me a lot of joy. I delight in my hats and I feel like such a delightful woman when I wear them. So, it’s no surprise that I have a lot of hats.
The first thing that I absolutely knew that I wanted in my Nashville cottage was a “hat wall” where I could hang up all my hats. Since I knew that I’d create it on a specific wall, I went out and bought the hooks for it right after I moved in.
But then I waited. At first, I put it off because I was worried that I wouldn’t get the hooks spaced out right. Then life got busy. I procrastinated for a hundred reasons, and procrastinating on doing something that would make my soul happy was a way of disregarding a need that I had. It was the same as ignoring a need for nutrition or exercise. There were always other things to do that were “more important”, so I put myself last.
After a few months, I began to look at this wall and resent it. I criticized myself for not putting up my hat wall. I stacked my hat boxes in a closet and stopped wearing my hats. I felt boring instead of delightful. I stopped feeling like myself and I shamed myself for not doing anything to change how I felt.
Shame is a totally ineffective motivator.
On a Saturday near the end of February, I was in a hopeful mood. I spontaneously decided to hang up all of my hats. It was time to just do it. I told shame to go outside and I shut the door behind it.
I stopped thinking about how my hat wall might end up looking and trusted my idea. My daughter, Emma, handed me the screws for the hooks while I balanced myself above the TV on our wooden entertainment center. Being my true self was delightful.
Delight is an effective motivator.
I finished putting hooks up on the wall. I hung the hats and stood back to look at it. Each hat was a different size and a different color. The vision was even better once it was actualized. Every time I look at my hat wall, it reminds me of the things I love, and it reminds me of who I am.
The delight I felt over my hat wall filled me up and spilled over. I was ready to invite someone into this space of delight.
How to Create a Hat Wall in Your Home
STEP 1. Arrange the hats. Place all of your hats on the floor in front of the wall where you want to hang them. Play around with the shapes, textures, and sizes of the hats. I chose my neutral colored hats and created a diagonal arrangement above my entertainment center in my living room. More common examples of hat walls are created as an arrangement to frame out a clothing rack, chair, or a full-length mirror in a bedroom.
STEP 2. Put the hooks on the wall. Once you know how you want to arrange your hats on the wall, place hooks on the location of the top center of each hat. If you want the distance to be exact, you can use a measuring tape to measure the distance from the ceiling and the width between hooks, making erasable marks on the wall with a pencil before you hang the hooks. Or you can trust your eyesight and just go for it like I did. Because hats are different sizes, your hat wall won’t be perfectly symmetrical, so it’s best to create an organic arrangement.
Some hooks come with special installation instructions, which can be found on the packaging. I used black metal coat/hat hooks that I bought at my local hardware store, but you could find more creative hook options at stores like Pottery Barn, Anthropologie, Ikea, or the cool, wooden wall pegs from Amazon. Command strip hooks are also a wonderful option if you aren’t allowed to put holes in the wall or just want an easier way to rearrange the design.
STEP 3. Hang your hats on the hooks! Enjoy your unique wall art that brings a fun sense of style to your space. You just made your own hat wall! It’s that easy!
Choose Delight over Perfection
When I bought my house, I imagined it full of friends. I thought of it as this space where people would walk in and make themselves at home. I wouldn’t need to ask them if they wanted a drink; they would just feel comfortable enough to open the fridge and grab one or open my cabinet and open a bottle of wine. I wouldn’t pry into how they were feeling, they would just plop down on my couch or lean up against the wall and start telling me how they feel and what they think about life. We would pick up wherever we left off and we would talk over each other at the same time and laugh until our sides hurt.
I decided that my house would be a shame-free zone. No one would be shamed for talking too much or for being too quiet, for thinking too much or not thinking enough, for doing too much or too little, for crying too much or laughing too much; it would be a place to be whoever you are. There would be no pretentiousness here and no expectations of perfection, only the belief that all human beings are perfectly loved right where they are, with permission to wear whatever hats they want to wear, of course!
That same weekend, I invited a new Nashville friend over to my house for a movie night. We had so much fun, even though my house wasn’t perfect. I hadn’t gotten around to cleaning my bathroom and I still had two unpacked boxes hanging out near my backdoor. I bought pre-made ingredients for an easy “make-your-own-nachos” night so I wouldn’t stress myself out over the possibilities of setting things on fire in my kitchen and having the whole local fire department show up at my front door. Yep, that’s actually happened to me.
If you’re smiling right now, I know I’m not the only one who doesn’t live a life that looks like a perfect Instagram feed! I admire and treasure my friends who curate tasteful meals and maintain beautifully clean sanctuaries in their homes, however, that doesn’t mean their lives are “perfect”. We’re each gifted in different ways that are no more or no less beautiful and delightful than someone else. Let’s erase shame or comparison and instead, delight in each other’s differences!
I was able to enjoy a new friendship because I chose delight over perfection.
Create a shame-free zone in your life.
My hat wall is my own intentional statement that my home is my shame-free zone. Each one of us needs a shame-free zone. In your shame-free zone, you get to decide that it’ll be whatever you want it to be. I would suggest that you free yourself up from the fear of failure in this space.
Maybe you have an idea. Maybe you pinned a goal to your vision board at the beginning of the year and now it’s begun to nag at you because you don’t feel like you’ve made progress on it yet. Maybe you feel like you’ve given up on yourself. Maybe you feel like you’ve lost yourself. Maybe you compare your progress with your neighbor’s progress and you feel like you’ll never measure up.
We’ve all been there.
It’s never too late to try an idea. Maybe your idea will turn out different than you first envisioned… that’s all part of the fun of creating.
In this space, you could decide that you won’t compare your wins to anyone else’s as being more or less important than your own. Each of us has a unique purpose and each person’s purpose is equally important. No one is more important or less important than anyone else, no matter what their position is or how successful they seem to be.
In your shame-free zone, you’ll learn to be a cheerleader for your progress.
You’re loved right where you are.
Tell yourself to try again and give yourself credit for still being here.
Find the good and hold on to it.
Wear your own hat with delight.
Today you’re taking another step forward.
God made you for this — you’ve got this.