THE DECORATING SNOWBALL AND HOW TO KEEP IT UNDER CONTROL. Sometimes it seems that once you decorate one thing you have to decorate EVERYTHING! Here are some tips for controlling the decorating snowball before it becomes huge!

Have you ever made a snowman? You start with a snowball and stand at the top of a hill and start rolling the little cute innocent snowball down the hill. Pretty soon it is picking up every bit of snow that rolls under its path. The snowball just grows and grows until it gets to the bottom of the hill and by then it is H U G E!!!! I think decorating can be the same way! It starts out with one small innocent project and it grows and grow and takes on a life of its own! Today I have a few tips for taming the decorating snowball…

Today is Practically Speaking. We talk about and tackle decorating in a practical, no nonsense way. I try to give you a little bit of decorating wisdom or food for thought.

Today we are talking about EASY FALL DECORATING! Wow, we have lots of fun and easy ideas for you. The three of us love fall and could have probably talked about fall decor all afternoon. But don’t worry, we kept it to about 30 minutes!

Listen below:



Let me tell you a tale of a recent decorating snowball … 

I decided (for photographic purposes) to add a large sisal rug to the living room. Then I put the zebra hide on top of the sisal rug. The addition of the larger rug turned out much better than I thought. And I actually liked it a lot. Really, the whole thing should have stopped there!

The rug was like an innocent little snowball. But it started to roll!

And far be it for me to stop a rolling snowball!

So the snowball picked up speed!  From there I thought…(picture a thought bubble coming from my head) “I’d love to move the Daniel Kessler painting to the other side of the room and put an interesting mirror in its place. The living room has no mirror. And maybe add a tall piece with shelved across the room to hang my Kessler piece over. And fill the shelves with white leather books (my new crush) and interesting urns and other great decor pieces. Oooooh, like a trio of gilded sea urchins and white abalone boxes mixed with vintage chippy corbels”. 

The snowball started to roll even faster, as in fast like a bullet train…

“And I’d like to replace the drapes in the living room but that means also replacing the drapes in the dining room because they are the same. And maybe get a big, big sisal rug for the dining room and put my indoor/outdoor rug over it. And rip out the outdated built in china cabinet in the corner of the dining room. Yes, that would look so much better.”

The snowball was taking on a life of its own…

And of course, that means working on the foyer between the living room and the dining room! Definitely adding a sisal rug to the foyer and layering the black and white striped rug on top of it. And a new chair by the buffet would look nice and a new throw and a pillow!”

“Oh, and I’ve been thinking about painting the back of my door. Not black anymore but another color. I should think about that more… OOOOOOR… replacing the door although! I would love a door with a window to match the transom and sidelights. But I want one I can paint. And speaking of paint, a new door color would be nice. I have to think about that too. Paint colors take time to get right!” 

“I bet the hallway going up the stairs would look amazing if I papered it in a cooooool geometric paper with lots of white space and thin black/gray/ beige lines. I think that might just tie the whole area together nicely!!!”

BIG, HUGE, ENORMOUS, giant snowman size decorating snowball! I’d like to say this is unusual for me, but it isn’t. Not at all. I can make a whole ski resort out of one little decorating snowball!

Your decorating snowball may be a kitchen freshen up that turns into a redo. Or a new bathroom curtain that, before you know it, involves ripping out the tub!

Or something as simple as buying new pillows that make you think twice or ten times about a new sofa.

How can we make one simple decor change become an out of control abominable snowman? Because we are decorators at heart. We love pretty and comfort and style and aesthetics. And a lot of us love to change our decor.

I’m sharing a few helpful, practical tips to manage your decorating snowballs!


Let it all out! Dream away when you feel you are making a decorating snowball and you are standing at the top of the hill. Go ahead toss it and let it roll! But make sure you have a pen and paper and capture the dreams just like the snowball captures snow!  My most creative times and best decorating ideas come out of snowball ideas. Enjoy making that snowman!


Sometimes your runaway decor snowball is just a fun dreamy exercise. And that’s okay! Keep your dream and papers for another day. And sometimes you just might have come up with some fabulous ideas that you can actually do! 

I do like the idea of putting a mirror over the sofa. I have a very cool mirror in the garage I haven’t used in a few years. 


I don’t think I’ll be painting the back of my door, or getting a new one for that matter. I have a perfectly good door. Maybe not my dream door. I think I have other things that take priority. And I just might sew new curtains for my living room and dining room some day but right now I’m working on my master bedroom. So my energy and cash need to go there.

Weed out the “not gonna happen” ideas and save the “viola” ones! 

The wallpaper just might be saying “viola” to me!


I am one to have terrible buyer’s remorse! If I don’t plan it out I end up feeling guilty about splurges or even bargains. I like to set a budget and work towards something I want. 

That way I don’t let the snowball roll over me and I don’t get stuck doing nothing!


I am a girl that likes a bargain! Actually, I LOVE it! I pride myself on getting a big bang for my buck! I hope you do the same!

When I buy something I like those great online shops that have deep discounts. I love vintage shops and my favorite shop is the one called my basement. I am a big DIYer so sewing or making things is something I can do and usually save $$$!


I learned very early on that decorating is an act of discipline and patience. Enjoy the journey! Because if you love to decorate you are never really “done”! Your goal is a beautiful, curated home that has your personal stamp all over it. And you can’t get that in one shopping trip!

Most of the rooms in my home have taken YEARS to put together and put together again and tweak and freshen up and play around with. You get the idea!

The one idea that came out of my little decorating snowball as it rolled and rolled and rolled was to add another sisal rug to the foyer. It really tied the rooms together nicely. I also decided not to layer the black and white rug on top of it. I think that will go in the upstairs hallway.

I used to get so frustrated when I started to change things in my home. I just could never control the snowball! But now I let it go and dream as it rolls along. It’s helped me be a much more creative decorator and many of my best decor ideas come from the avalanche of decor snowballs I roll almost daily!


I hope you have found today’s Practically Speaking helpful. At the very least it has given you permission to dream!

You might like to follow me on Pinterest and see what I’m finding to pin daily HERE.

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  1. I agree with you, unless the new idea is a “viola” moment, let it percolate for a while.
    I’m not a fan of mirrors above the sofa. I find when I sit n a sofa w/ a mirror behind me, every time I move, so does the spook behind me. And sitting across from a someone in front of a mirror, one finds oneself looking at the mirror and not one’s friendl.

    1. Oh Yvonne, thanks for snowballing label. I always thought I was ADD because the mind was whirling
      so badly. I can now relax and enjoy the ride or “roll”.

  2. Frances Hurst says:

    That kind of snowball is so much fun! Makes me feel very creative.

  3. Thank you for this, I have a snowball starting and I found myself getting disgruntled at my budget and the time it’s taking to check things off my idea list. In this time when waiting isn’t something we do often, it’s nice to have the reminder to pause, take time, use creativity and sometimes know it will take years to complete.

  4. Carousel Interiors says:

    I LOVE the sisal rug. I have been considering one in the living room to replace a tired shag rug I have. I’m worried about them feeling rough underfoot. Is that one soft?? Where did you find it…it is beautiful!

    1. You asked a very good question!These rugs are chunky but soft. I have had rugs that weren’t and had to send them back.

  5. Thank you! Thank you! Thank You! I use to call my decorating, ‘like setting up dominos’ and knocking one over . . . well, I love your snowball analogy. Anyway thank you for the control tips. I usually lose all my ideas because I never think to write them down and think things over before acting and usually end up not feeling good about the result. This is good advice to organize my chaos. I love your blog and come back to re-read posts often. Big fan of your decorating style.

  6. Carol Davis says:

    Mine started with new counter tops and sink in the kitchen after 30+years. A few other items were added and thankfully the snowball stopped midway down the hill before going over budget.

  7. Marilyn S. says:

    This post made me smile. I’m a big snow baller too. From decor to dinner parties . A Simple back yard cookout with hamburgers and hot dogs can turn into a 5 course steak dinner in the dining room. I’m getting better though, so thanks for this post.

  8. Beth Pozzini Putz says:

    Hahaha! I think this was based on my life! When it rains, it pours. Or when it snows, it’s a blizzard. My husband will say I’ve been blizzarding for a year! Love this post! Thank you for letting me know I’m not the only one!


  9. Melisha M Kreppein says:

    Thank you for this! Last month we moved into this beautiful house that is totally different than our previous home. I have a “beginning” budget for the things we needed immediately, but there are so many ideas in my head and it is difficult to focus. My snowball was getting out of control! Thanks for helping me slow it down. 🙂

  10. Sheila Gunderson says:

    Practicality is so very important in my life too Yvonne!

  11. Loved this advice. I enjoy the dreaming, truly a creative outlet. I’d love to get a large sisal rug, but no idea where to begin looking and what to look for as far as quality. Any advice?

  12. Jill Miglin says:

    As always Yvonne, great advice. Love the sisal rugs, they add wonderful texture.

  13. Are you planning on painting the rest of your spindles on your staircase black?

  14. Madeline Bradley says:

    I loved reading about you and the decorating snowball–I do the same thing! So glad I’m not the only one. I too dream but then get real about what I can really afford to do. But it’s fun and inspiring and I just love your ideas. Thanks for sharing!

  15. Thank you Yvonne ! You are such a wonderful teacher…from ‘moss balls to snowballs ‘ I have learned much from you ! In reading this post I realize I am just as grateful for the dream moment as the voila moment…….I love your Sunday posts…they provide balance, hope and joy to my world…when is your book being published !!??!! …….Smiles……Anne

  16. Rita Ugrin says:

    I almost bought a zebra rug like you had in your living room. Loved it in your room–but not in mine!!
    But it got me thinking about my foyer rug–snowballing!! I love it!!

  17. Wow, love all the changes. Love your patterned chair in the living room. Your room has such personality but is also so serene. Could I ask where you purchased your rugs?


  18. Norma Rolader says:

    Oh love how you described decorating! I just love your designs and your tips and ideas! Please to each of you keep it coming God bless and have a blessed weekend

  19. I love a great deal also…and also have to stop myself from a snowball on the move!

  20. Certainly know about snowballs. Just ask my husband when he hears the dreaded words ” I have a great idea”. He just put in a new kitchen faucet for me and that lead to me thinking of a new sink and redoing the cabinets. As you said it is good to dream. Today being the first of Sept I will be busy putting away my beachy decor. Then I will clean and after that is done sit back and plan what I want to do to welcome fall. The kitchen already has green apples ,pears and cotton going as a theme but I need some inspiration for the family room. Still to early for pumpkins. Maybe I will just leave it till one of my favorite blogs inspires me. Happy Labor Day

  21. I love the sisal rug! Where did you get it?

  22. We just purchased our retirement property but will not be moving for about a year. I’m happy that this will give me the time to think through and make the changes I want to make in the new place before we move in. I have so many ideas swirling in my head, but your post made me realize I just need to slow down, take a deep breath and prevent everything from snowballing. It’s easy and fun to dream the dreams, but I realize I have to be realistic too about what we can do. Your post could not have been more timely. Thanks for the tips.

  23. Deanna Rabe says:

    I think this is my very favorite post I’ve read here at Stone Gable!

  24. Thank you! I always thought it was just me that produced decorating snowballs…so, alas, I am not alone! Thank you for allowing me to think that I’m not abnormal when I want to “go to town” on some room or obsession!

  25. A budget is how I keep my ideas under control.

  26. Yvonne, I love your jute/sisal rugs. Could you please list the source. Thank you

  27. I love the texture that the sisal rug adds to your foyer. It is true, doing one thing often leads to more changes. I recently bought a new chair for my living room and now the table next to the chair doesn’t really work. Now I am on a mission to find something to replace the table. The bookshelf in your guest room would be perfect. Not sure what my chances are for finding that piece at my local Home Goods, but I keep watching!

    1. I bet you could get someone to make that easy bookshelf and then you could paint it. Ooops! Maybe I’m making a snowball for you!

  28. I am so happy I took the “slow down” approach to re-doing my living room. I found myself so uncertain about what direction to go with color, pattern, neutrals…I was all over the place for almost three years. Yes that is patience. But…I love the beautiful neutral I picked for my new sofa and the paisley chairs will compliment it all perfectly.

    Love the new sisal area rug!

  29. Deb McNelly says:

    Thank you Yvonne, I needed to hear about the decorating snowball. At first I was just getting excited about all the ideas I was getting from your snowball ideas as you rolled from room to room of your home and then thank goodness you started talking about writing down dream lists and patience. Whew! I can do that, I think. I have too many unfinished projects to start any more and this will help just going through the dream process and writing it down. I do like your additional sisal rug in the foyer a lot. ~ Deb

  30. I know I’ve had a few decorating snowballs in my life! As I get older, I do tend to think and plan more and not just buy something because it’s a good deal. Thanks for the great advice!

    1. One of the many advantages of getting to a “certain age”! I’m with you on that!

  31. Great advise, again. I am always “plotting & scheming” as some put it. I end up feeling bad at not getting as much done as i would like due to budget and time. As my very favorite blogger, I truly appreciate your expertise and guidance. ( gosh i love that lamp in your entry, i have a knock off from target that perhaps i can find trim for the shade 🙂

  32. Yvoonne, you may be saving a marriage today! Thank you soooo much for this article! My husband and I are right in the midst of planning on doing a summer cottage addition, and to do it we are trying to figure out how to make the placement in the right location. To the left, to the right, at the front, or is it to the back???? Then there is the decorating decisions that will determine the floor plan, the placement of windows light fixtures, doors, TV placement etc., etc,. ETC.!!!! Your article had perfect timing for cooling it (me) down, and not letting the project become an avalanche going in all directions. We will figure it out, and not put ourselves under so much pressure all at once ( maybe….). Have a great long weekend, Pamela

  33. You call it a snowball and I call it “if you give a mouse a cookie”…,, remember the favorite children’s book?

    Thank you Yvonne for reminding us that every whim doesn’t have to become a reality.

  34. Because I decorate as my profession I am ALWAYS wanting to change something in my own home! My husband has no conception of the restraint I engage!!! I loved the way you described it as a snoball effect…… true.

  35. I’m a snowballed too. Love the sisal. Where’d you find such perfect ones??

  36. Lori Lockwood says:

    I absolutely love your decorating style

  37. Yvonne, I have enjoyed being a daily reader of your blog for almost a year, and I think this is the very BEST article ever!!! It contained such wonderful information and advice for home decorators. Good decorating takes time and rooms need to evolve, just as your living room has. The sisal rug was a great finishing touch to it! Other readers seem to love it, too. I have to comment on how happy the fiddle leaf fig is in your room. It has grown considerably, since it moved in!!!
    Happy Labor Day!

  38. You made me laugh when I read your blog. I can see the ideas flowing. I guess we all get caught up in the moment. Love your style, your home is lovely. Enjoy the holiday weekend.

  39. I giggled as I read this!!! Just delightful. Sometimes I simply don’t want to learn. I want to enjoy ? the lesson!! So it means to buy a new rug right?!!!!
    No. I got it!!! But I like how you put it into words and explained reigning it all in for that big room makeover.

  40. Oh Yvonne! Practically speaking this was a great post! You really made me laugh! I could actually feel the momentum building! This hasn’t happened to me in such a grand scale but similarly when I start moving things around and looking at the accessories from a different perspective!! Oh my!

  41. Tina Dodson says:

    Oh Yvonne!
    It takes me so much time to look at every little thing! You just have an amazing touch for decorating,,I love,love the lamp shade in the entry way,I love your tall lanterns,I live in CA…so I don’t have a basement to go shopping,,and not quaint shops,,I might run into Home Goods,,Hobby Lobby is so overwhelming! Is their a specific website you visit often,,I am also very thrifty!

    Thank you so much for brightening my day,,each day!!


  42. Linda DeFazio says:

    Oh my gosh! You sound like me! Actually I NEED to do some redecorating but since my apartment is small it will be easy-peasy, right! Wrong… I keep changing my mind what to do. I love my white couch but with a black cat sometimes it looks grey! May need to fix that. Love to decorate and borrow many of your ideas. Thank you!

  43. Katherine says:

    Think you wrote this one just for me! It’s O so easy to get carried away–

  44. Darn! I was about to Message you that I wanted your curtains since you have two sets of them! I am “snowballing” about how to redecorate my dining room and I love your curtains!

    1. Hi, Deb! I’ll probably make curtains out of the material or a duvet! Sorry!

  45. Hi. I love your blog read it on my i pad. Since changing your format the photos are now not as clear. Is it just me?

    1. Hi Fifi, Sorry you are having problems. And the blog redo has not changed the images.

  46. This sounds very familiar! It can be frustrating to have so many great ideas that you can’t afford to implement right away. I love your philosophy! Take your time and enjoy the process — great advice. And I love your new sisal rugs.

  47. You make me laugh, Yvonne! One thing does call for another!

  48. Katie Mansfield says:

    I’ve been rolling snowballs all week. Haha.

  49. Oh my Yvonne! Reading the beginning of this post, all I could think was “Poor Bobby”! You are such a talented decorator and I thoroughly enjoy your blog and podcast. Thank you for all the beautiful tips and ideas- and for the encouragement to dream until we can bring those dreams to fruition!

    1. My Bobby is a saint… and a really great guy! Can you believe he actually encourages me? I know! I’m still pinching myself after 34 years of marriage. But then again, he got me! lol!

  50. mary loighlin says:

    You’re so right about taking your time!

  51. Good morning Yvonne, I really enjoy your postings and have been following you for about a year now. However, I have to say, that more than ever, these ad pop-ups on your site are just too much. They are way out of control and really inhibit the pleasure of reading and viewing your blog. They’re just everywhere. In between paragraphs, in the right margin, down below. It’s just too much…. Is there anything you can do? They are really ruining your blog.

  52. I had to chuckle all the way through your post. How true!
    The sisal in the foyer is a great way to tie in the dining and living room spaces. Very calming also.

  53. My name is Kay. And I’m a snowballer. It all started when I was 12 years old and my mother told me I could paint my bedroom any color I wanted . . . Flash forward 68 years and I’m still snowballing. Not every snowball has been successful but I’ve learned from most of them and those I’ve not learned from have afforded me a good laugh. By the way, that 12 year old’s navy blue bedroom walls with snow white trim and pops of red in some of the furnishings are still one of my favorite decorating designs. After all, part of the fun of snowballing is the planning and dreaming and stretching one’s imagination. Thank you, Yvonne for a terrific article. I loved it!

  54. Soooo true, hard to stop the snowball especially when the plan isn’t coming together.
    Patience is the key.

  55. I am in a middle of a big decorating snowball! It started small, well that’s a lie. We recently bought a house, for past 7 years we been renting and moving. This meant flimsy disposable furniture. Now that we finally are putting down roots, my snowball became an avalanche! I ordered the same table as you have because I had a crush on it ever sense I discovered your blog. And so it went on and on…… FedEx and the UPS guy will get a nice tip this Christmas for the packages and heavy items they drag to my door.

  56. Tina Taylor says:

    Love your house and Love your “snowball”! I got 2 new recliners delivered yesterday for our great room and the rug I had didn’t match. Took the rug from the screen porch and switched them out. Looks a little better but I need a sisal or jute. What is your favorite place to get your jute rugs. Thanks!

  57. Linda Sagar says:

    Love the sisal rug, but mine water stained. Is your real or synthetic and where did you get it. Love the look!

  58. Great article and a little funny too! Lots of good points for us to follow. It’s so easy to fall in love with an idea and many neat decor items that are out there. A plan is best, and then we can build from there. Thanks for mentioning patience and waiting. As you said, it doesn’t all happen at once.

  59. Your post was very helpful…and relatable! As a former first grade teacher, I’m sure you’re familiar with “If you give a Mouse a Cookie” and/or “If you give a Pig a Pancake”. It’s exactly the same thing! Every time I start getting carried away with my big decorating plans, those books come to mind. It’s so easy to get caught up in it all. Your advice was spot on!?

  60. Totally agree with your “decorating snowball” concept! My best ideas have come from them. The last one started with replacing 10 year old pain inthe great room with more on trend lighter colors. That led to updating the entry with a new rug in the colors from the great room; which needed better organization – a new console ! & then trying removable wallpaper to go with the new rug & then shelves and canvas vacation prints for the shelves with our wedding silver pieces brought out of storage
    You can see why I love your blog & podcasts! Keep the great ideas coming!

    1. Debbie! I am thrilled you are enjoying the podcast. We have so so much fun with it! xo

  61. This makes me smile. It happens to me all the time!

  62. Linda James says:

    You have such a beautiful home! Keep letting the snowballs roll?

  63. Florence Mynar says:

    OMG! We must be related! We think alike so much! Absolutely love your blog. The only one I think I’ve ever read start to finish!!!

  64. I’d like to know where you bought the chair.

  65. Julie Briones says:

    Wonderful post, Yvonne, with great tips. Made me smile, too! Thanks!

  66. Yup – that is EXACTLY how the snowball rolls!! You described it perfectly! Love this post and the way you put it all into perspective!!

  67. I had a decorating snowball moment this past weekend! It began with painting our master bedroom and somehow ended with me strolling through our local furniture store looking for a new dresser and bedside tables. It’s so easy to get caught up in the process, but luckily, I came to my senses when I read those “sale” price tags!!

  68. OMG this is so me! I thank you for writing this bc even though I know my house looks great, I still seem to always be changing something and it leads to another… it’s like a Christmas Village up in here!!!! (But it’s about to warm up and melt some snowmen!!)

  69. JaneEllen says:

    I could absolutely relate to this post. My snowballs roll but then I come back to earth. We just don’t have money to buy whatever I take fancy to. I do get to buy some chotskies at Hobby Lobby and Michaels with their sales and coupons. I just have to be very choosy what I buy and not often.
    We live on our SS and in Grand Junction area this isn’t easy. No money for traveling or vacations but mostly we’re pretty content to stay home.
    Little by little we’re fixing up our single wide mfg. home. We have 1/2 acre few miles west of Grand Junction in rural area which is more important to us than big house or fancy. After living in western KY real estate prices were a shock here. Our youngest son who has very good job (but stress to go with it) lives in 1/2 million $ home in very upscale neighborhood. During recession they lost 100K off value of their home. His wife told us not to drive our old suburban and park in front of their fancy house, it embarrassed her. Whatever.
    Actually I get more enjoyment out of fixing up a yard sale/thrift store piece than I do buying new,ha, like that happens. I too sew and practice home making skills so that helps a lot with decorating. to me it’s fun to see what can come up with.
    Life isn’t about how much money person has, it’s about enjoying what you have. Our life is completely different than son with fancy house, he can have it. Sorry to say have met several of their “friends”, no thanks.
    This was a wonderful realistic post, thanks for telling it like it is. Have wonderfulweek

  70. Pilar Garcia-Spira says:

    I love the beautiful spaces you have created.
    I am in the process of painting the interior of a bungalow and was wondering if you would share the different colors we see in your images?
    Thank you.

  71. I always experience decorating snowballs! Sometimes they are warranted and really help move the room along and sometimes, they are just expensive time wasters. But overall, I really enjoy decorating my home and when I decide to do a project, I truly enjoy doing that project. Your home is gorgeous and a true inspiration to me!

  72. Love your blog and “The Scoop”. Would like to know where you found your white sideboard near the stairs. Looking for something similar to set a TV on in the family room.

  73. Norma Rolader says:

    I like coming back to this blog such great info

  74. Lynda Tupman says:

    Love ALL your Blogs….I get great ideas for decorating….
    I would love to know…what you store in your” wicker lidded basket”, to the left of your white sideboard.
    I love baskets…and wonder what to store in them…that is “useful”. I have done
    throw blankets…

      1. Lynda Tupman says:

        What do you store in the beautiful Lidded, Wicker Basket, from the Pottery Barn Outlet…if you don’t mind my asking ? 🙂

  75. I love all of your blogs. Can you tell me where you got the lamp and the white vases in the basket on the hall table? Thanks,

  76. I love you Yvonne! I laughed reading this whole post. We have all been there. I just bought my third sisal rug in a week. Love them for layering. Happy Easter sugar!

  77. Thank you for this article. I can totally relate to the snowball. Now I don’t feel so crazy. At least I know why nothing seems to get done and I spin (and reinvent) the wheels. Constantly!
    Anyway I love your home.

    1. So sweet Vanessa! Yes, that old decorating snowball is a real thing! You are not alone at all!

  78. We call it the “might as wells”, or the “while we’re at its”. It is difficult to control. That applies for us to remodels, etc. When it comes to decor, that’s more my game than my honeys. Altho,a week ago, he came home & said, ” They have a whitish colored sofa at ______’s.” And I’m off & running. And 2 days later, the sofa was looking awesome in our tv room & our daughter was here to cart home the gray chaise sectional that we had only had for 18 months. (I made a mistake on that one, it just didn’t work for us in the new house!) And so it goes at our house.