It’s very easy to get stuck in home décor paralysis.
When you begin designing a room, you’re given a blank slate. And that means there are tons of options. TONS OF OPTIONS AND YOU HAVE NO CLUE WHERE TO BEGIN.
When you sign up to be part of our email tribe at NewlyWoodwards, I send out an email asking for the main reason you haven’t started your dream home project. And I’ve received hundreds of great responses.
One of the biggest reasons – “I don’t know where to start.”
And I get it – because I’ve totally been there.
I worry whether everything will really come together in the end. I’m no designer and my home won’t likely grace the cover of House Beautiful. But you know what? I can feel confident in the spaces I create – and it doesn’t take a fancy degree or a glossy magazine cover to make that happen.
And you can do this, too.
Here are a few ways I have found to overcome decor paralysis and pull together a space to make sure it feels beautiful and intentional in the end.
Start with one or two elements you love the most.
I think one of the biggest mistakes folks make when designing a room is trying to do too much.
Every room should have a “wow” factor – something that draws the eye and becomes the focal point of the entire room. And ideally, this would be what you would design your entire room around.
In the living room, it could be an amazing fireplace mantel or rug. In a bathroom, it could be a wonderful piece of art, mirror or tile. In a bedroom, it may be a wall treatment or fabric. In the kitchen, it could be a great wall tile or even an amazing barnwood vent hood. It could even be a paint color you love.
Many amazing designers swear by starting with fabric – and that can be a great place to begin. (I hear Sarah Richardson does this.) But I don’t think it has to be fabric. Choose something (or maybe two somethings) that you love the most in a room.
But the key – don’t choose tons of other things until you decide on your tip top favorite items.
Build your space from there.
You don’t want to have tons of things competing with each other in a room. Instead, to create a cohesive space, you need plenty of items that work together.
Not everything can be the star.
And that means that you shouldn’t be choosing all the items in isolation. Just because you are obsessed with a light fixture, doesn’t mean it will work in your space. (Unless it’s your focal point. In which case, go forth and conquer.)
Once I have chosen the major elements, I move on to the things that won’t be changed regularly:
- Wall treatments
- Color schemes
- Major fabrics
That doesn’t mean these items WON’T ever be changed. It just means that these things often create the foundation for your new space. And as you are choosing, remember to consider them together – not just in isolation.
Once you have these items nailed down, you have a wonderful start to your overall design.
If you are stuck, find inspiration images that speak to you.
Sometimes, you just don’t know what comes next.
Say it with me: It’s okay to be stuck.
When I’m stuck, I stalk. Internet stalk. A few of my favorite ways to find inspiration images on the Internet to help me make design decisions:
- Search for images on Google using the paint color or fabric you’ve chose. (For example, I’d search “Behr Pumice living room.” Not everything will be applicable, but it may spur some ideas.)
- Search for inspiration on Pinterest with your specific type of room or color scheme. (For example, I’d search “Red and navy boys room.”)
- When you find a photo you love on Pinterest, scroll down from the pin for related pins. This is a great way to find photos that may be similar to the pin you already love.
- Start a Pinterest board with all inspiration for a specific room. Keep adding to it as you find things you love. When you are stuck, take a look at the board to find common themes. Maybe several photos have a cool round mirror or a pop of a specific color. That’s a good way to see what you already are attracted to. (This is exactly how I pulled together our kitchen and our exterior home design.)
Don’t feel like every decision has to be made ahead of time.
You don’t have to create a full inspiration board with every decision finalized to create a beautiful room that feels totally put-together.
Instead, I think there’s something amazing about pulling together a room over time. That means that you may not find the perfect artwork or pillows until after other elements are in place.
Instead, give yourself permission to make the major foundational decisions for your room and then pull the other pieces together as you feel out the space.
I promise – this will create a more layered, intentional space that has staying power.
Trust your gut.
Do you know who is the expert home design decision maker in your home?
Not the neighbor, your best friend, the television designer or even the blogger you love.
I think we’ve been conditioned to think we don’t have the skills and abilities to make decisions in our own home. But we do. You do.
So, when you find something you love, trust your gut. When you are questioning a decision, trust your gut. And when you simply need a break from thinking about that room, trust your gut.
If you struggle with where to start on a room design, you are not alone. Home decor paralysis is common because there are tons of decisions to make – and we don’t want to mess it up.
But I’m giving you a giant pat on the back and telling you that you can do it. And, I promise, the work you spend pulling together a room will be well worth your efforts.
Because it’s your home – and there’s nothing more satisfying than looking around and thinking, “I totally did this.”
What do you do when you feel stuck making home decor decisions?
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