What do you do when decorating feels hard? Maybe you like a lot of different styles or colors, and are overwhelmed by choices. Perhaps you’re worried that you don’t have the skill or talent to put together a room that makes you feel happy. Are you worried you’ll somehow get it wrong? I’ve had all of these feelings. Starting with a blank slate – whether it be a whole room, a whole house, or just a whole wall – can feel really daunting. Yet there are simple ways to make decorating easy – or at least easier!
If it wasn’t obvious already, I am not an expert. Like you, I am learning through trial and error. I’ve hung curtains too short and only recently started to mix patterns with some level of confidence. Since we’re on a journey to reduce stress by creating a home that’s beautiful (to us!), meaningful (for our family!), and functional (for everyone!), let’s take a look at some ways to make the process of decorating easier and more fun.
Determine what must stay.
Odds are, you are not starting a room makeover with a completely blank slate. You likely have existing furniture, cabinets, or flooring that must be part of your design, because of a few potential reasons:
- They are permanent fixtures in your home that would be very difficult/expensive/time-consuming to change, such as cabinet color or floor color/type.
- You love them and/or they have sentimental value (your grandmother’s hutch, that recliner your husband refuses to give up, an area rug you bought during your travels)
- You can’t afford to replace an item right now (like a couch or dining room table) and just want to freshen up the room with different accessories or paint.
- The space you are designing adjoins another room that you do not plan to change. In my case, my new kitchen opens right up to our dining room, so I have to make sure that those two spaces coordinate with each other.
If you are constantly pinning the same type of image, look for common denominators. Perhaps you are drawn to living rooms with all neutral colors but lots of different textures. Maybe all the dining rooms you like have bold wall colors. I’m drawn to white kitchens with brass accents, blue back splashes, and Carrara marble. Being aware of my preferences definitely helped me to narrow down all of the possible choices.
You may fall in love with a fabric, rug, or piece of art, and you can use that to inspire your design decisions. I’ve been obsessed with this Ming Dragon by Dwell Studio fabric for a long time, and will definitely use it somewhere in my house. In the meantime, the fabric is inspiring my home’s overall color scheme.
Mock it up.
I am a HUGE fan mood boards. I create mine in Power Point simply by copying and pasting products onto a blank slide. This helps me to visualize how all of the pieces could look together, although it’s important to bear in mind that colors may not look the same in real life as they do on a computer monitor. Here’s an in-progress mood board for our new den, which is part of the major kitchen renovation/addition that’s happening now. Although I would love a new rug and armchair, I need to work with what I already have. Also, you can see that although I may not use that Ming Dragon fabric in the space, I plan to use similar colors.
Test it in different light.
Choosing paint is a struggle for me. Yes, it’s typically the easiest and least expensive design element to change, but my husband and I both hate painting and are not very good at it (you should see the ceilings in my kids’ rooms!). Right now I am agonizing over the color for our new kitchen and den space, which are open to each other as well as the new little mudroom and the dining room. I’m waffling between Olympus White and Nebulous White (both Sherwin Williams), so I got samples and painted swatches in a few different locations and look at them in the morning and in the evening when I get home from work, and at night after it’s dark and the lights are on. Usually, this does the trick for me. Which brings me to my final point…
Just do it, dammit.
It’s very easy to be overwhelmed by all the choices out there. I could design my kitchen three different ways and be satisfied with each result. However, there comes a time when a decision must be made. Will the world end if I choose the “wrong” paint color? No, it most certainly will not (this is my new mantra). All decorating “mistakes” can be fixed in time, and if your friends are judging you for a poor decorating decision then perhaps you need some new friends. 🙂
I hope that these tips will make you feel more confident in your design decisions! If you have a question or want to run an idea by me, please reach out to me directly or pose your question to the group on The No Pressure Life Facebook page.