Every year for the last five years or so instead of doing new year’s resolutions, I’ve chosen a word. I know quite a few people who do this (maybe you’re one of them?) and I love hearing how the word manifests throughout the year. Sometimes, it even backfires. Like the year I chose the word ‘invest’ and ended up spending quite a bit of money that year on larger projects. (What I really meant was invest in relationships, in myself, in my business via time not funds, but sometimes the universe has different plans. It pays to be specific in the words we choose!)

intentions for the new year on coco kelley

Anyways, enter 2018. I feel like I barely got to pause before the new year threw me right back into this routine I’ve been in for a while now of feeling like I don’t have enough time for anything. I’m uninspired, buried in daily tasks, and – most damaging to my happiness – I haven’t had nearly enough time for creativity.

On top of it all, we’ve been moving offices which has taken up both the mental space and physical time that I’m craving to be focusing on goals for the new year. In short? It hasn’t been the easiest start to the year. And, up until this weekend, I still hadn’t thought of a word. And then, yesterday, it hit me. SIMPLIFY. 

creating inspiring spaces to work in | coco kelley

It’s time to sweep away the STUFF that has been bringing me down, clogging my brain, sucking my energy, and taking up way too much of my time. Now, of course that can’t be done completely. Unfortunately, a girl still has to file her taxes, return emails, and do laundry once in a while. What I can do, however, is find a bit more focus in life – daily, weekly, monthly – until it becomes a habit.

Simplifying doesn’t just must mean getting rid of clutter (although I love doing that, and do it quite often). It also means streamlining things. I’ve been reevaluating the purpose of The Emerald Studio and the projects we take on, and I have a feeling we’ll be making some major changes there. If you’re not familiar, I started The Emerald Studio a few years ago as our Interior Design and Art Direction branch of coco kelley, and while we’ve had a blast with the projects we’ve taken on, sometimes it feels like a major distraction from being able to do personal projects here on the blog. It’s time to find a better way to balance both.

white desk and lilies | january intentions on coco kelley

Simplifying also means putting better systems, schedules and habits in place for myself that will help me stay on task throughout the day, and stick to deadlines and commitments to myself. That may sound like adding more to my plate, but to me it makes sense that putting in the effort upfront will help simplify the work week. For example: meal planning. Something I’ve always wanted to do but never made the time for. We tried it last weekend and had more than enough meals for the week, and it was huge relief to not find myself scrambling at 4pm every weekday think about dinner.


When I tackle a new room design, I find it incredibly useful to remove every piece that I don’t love, or don’t need in there, and strip the space down to the essentials. Then, I’m able to reimagine the room in a way I wouldn’t otherwise. When we try and make things work with what we have (which I realize we all have to do sometimes), it can stifle creativity. That’s how I’ve been feeling about my career lately. It’s a room that has been lovingly built over the last 10 years, but it’s full. REALLY full. And that fullness is lacking focus. It’s not a beautiful room of curated layers. It’s an on-the-verge-of-hoarder room and all that stuff has got to go so that I can clearly see the items that matter. The beauty in the simplicity.

When we are able to strip things down to the bare essentials – the pieces we love – and rebuild around them, we might surprise ourselves with new directions. So, 2018, hear me loud and clear. This is the year of simplicity as a necessary step to finding new directions, focus, clarity, happiness, and calm.

Sidenote: In case you’re new around here, you might not know that I used to write one of these longer, personal posts every month, paired with a moodboard and word for that month. Last year, I stopped. This year, I’m bringing them back because I’m wanting to share some more of my personal life, business struggles and connect again. So while Simplicity will be our theme for the year, every month will bring a new focus and a little bit of what’s going on with me – good or bad! I hope that you’ll join in on the conversation.

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