2017 is going to be a big year of changes here at StoneGable! We are at the tail end of gutting and making over every room in our home. It’s been a long 5 years of projects and I can almost see the light at the end of the decorating tunnel. By no means are we done! If you are a homeowner and even more so a home decorator are we really ever done? But the major renovations are coming to a close. In all of our renovations and decorating I’ve learned A LOT!  So, today I’d like to share some important steps for undertaking any decorating project big or small. These steps will go a long way to make your project successful.


Don’t think these steps are only for big projects like putting in a new bathroom or buying a whole room full of furniture. Most of us don’t do that often. These steps are for when we want to buy an accent chair or a dining room table or even when we want to buy a new pair of drapes.

I recently purchased a new duvet cover and some pillows for a bed and went through these easy steps.

Going through these steps will help you make the right choices within your budget!


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Bobby and I have a philosophy about spending. We don’t like credit! We save and then buy.  I actually have a house budget. That includes home repairs, upkeep, makeovers, and decorating.

It’s wise to put money aside for home needs.


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We all make impulse buys, but I’m much happier with items I put in my home if I research it first. Researching big projects are a must, but don’t pass over this step even if your project is small.

I recently updated curtains in our Gable guest bedroom and perused many home decorating sites to get a feel for what is current, price points, fabrics, return policies and what I would need to hang them.


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Pinterest for me is a must! I like to see how real home decorators use products and work on makeovers in their homes. I get the best ideas there!

This step does go hand in hand with “research”. I put Pinterest in a category of its own because of the value it lends to a project.


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Make sure you have and carry with you all the measurements you need for a home project you are working on. I’m talking from experience.

When I added a chair to my family room awhile back “mapping it out” made all the difference. I measured the available space and from that decided that the chair had to be quite petite.  It took me awhile to find the chair with the right dimensions that I felt worked in my family room.

When working on bigger projects I like to use graph paper and literally map out and measure the entire space. We are just about to begin our master bedroom and the first thing we will do is measure our entire room. Every wall, door, window and opening and lay it out on graph paper.

It makes the job of choosing rugs, curtains, and furnishing so much easier!


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When it comes time to make purchases for your projects, know exactly what you will be buying. If at all possible go to a brick and mortar store to see it in “real life”. What you see in a magazine, blog or online might look differently to you up close and personal!

Saying that, more and more people are buying online (and I do it all the time) so it’s extra important to follow the suggestions below!

If a future purchase has fabric and you are buying online get a sample! If you are picking out a wall color you will want lots of paint chip choices. When it comes to paint I like to see it on my walls. I usually buy sample pots of paint and label patch of color on my walls.

I have a decorator friend that collects gorgeous samples and puts them all together before buying a single thing! I started following her lead. We went to the beach for a little girl’s getaway this summer and she brought her swatches and paint colors. We had a blast one overcast day playing with them at the pool!

Make sure to know things like how a piece is constructed, the guarantee, if it is returnable, if there is any kind of manufacturer defect policy. Also, read reviews if you the company you are buying from has an online presence. Work with companies that have good customer service reviews.

If you are shopping online know the shipping costs involved.

All these things will help you if something would go awry.


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I’m surprised how many people, even if they plan home projects well,  experience buyer’s remorse. Know that this is normal and don’t give into any unreasonable emotions!


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When you have done your homework and your project is done or your furniture is at home in your house take time to step back and enjoy your hard work!  We so often rush on to the next thing without finding the joy in a job well done!  Say a mental, “GOOD JOB” to yourself!


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Now it’s time to learn from your successes and disappointments.

After the fit and tears of a decorating mistake, it’s important to learn something. My biggest lessons were from decorating projects gone bad.

I hope you take this post to heart and it helps you make your home everything you want it to be!


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




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  1. Anne Marie says:

    Well said – thanks for this article.

  2. Claudette Fowler says:

    Always spot on advice!

  3. Karen VanLoo says:

    Excellent tips – it’s hard not to impulse buy but planning things out is the smart thing to do. I’ve made many decorating mistakes by not thinking through a project or purchasing furniture.

  4. Wonderful tips Yvonne…..since I began following your fabulous blog I avoid impulse buying…and try to be so intentional about all decor – large and small that I choose for my home….You are a very good influence on me !!!! Thank you…..Smiles…..Anne

  5. This is a great way to start the remodel or decoration project. I am always in a hurry to get into the project that I need to step back and re-evaluate and plan more. Thanks for the tips.

  6. Excellent article. I just finished a 4 month long major kitchen remodel and I can tell you I planned and planned and planned. I took my time and researched everything. I even did all my kitchen design. The results were better than I imagined. I love everything. Organization is the key. Even the contractors told me how much they liked it and were surprised that I designed it all. It is very functional and beautiful.
    I enjoy your website. The photos are wonderful.

  7. I love your blog! Thanks so much for your inspirations!

  8. Oh, how I wish I was naturally gifted with decorating, but I am learning with a whole lot of trial and error. It takes a lot of patience, and many times when I purchase something, I end up returning it to the store, so I would add to this list to be a fanatic about keeping receipts. I have also learned that in addition to measurements, which I keep recorded on my phone, I always have a tape measure and my paint color swatches with me in my purse! Time and time again, I have found all of those things to be handy! Thanks, Yvonne! Your site is always an inspiration to me!

  9. Drucye Cox says:

    Part of what makes a good decor blog is photography, and yours is great!

  10. Thank you! Impulse buying and buyer remorse are probably my worst. But I’m learning..?

  11. Good advice, enjoyed. The article.

  12. Debbie Sullivan says:

    We are currently getting our home ready to sell. Updating a room at a time. Mostly painting and updating fixtures, removing clutter. Great tips to follow.
    Thank you!

  13. Such great advise. I especially agree on the Pinterest! It is so helpful!
    I’ve been enjoying your blog now for several weeks. Thank you!

  14. Vicki Lay says:

    Great tips, Yvonne. I love your Blog and have forwarded it on to friends. Your post Sunday was especially helpful to one of my friends.

    Another tip which I learned from a blogger was to take pictures of the room or space I’m decorating before during and especially after with my iPad. You can take it shopping and it is a great tool to explain to a sales person what you are looking for to purchase. The camera captures the look of a room almost better than viewing it with your own eyes. I also love to look back through my own pics after a job is complete.

    Thanks for always giving us viewers great ideas.

  15. Such a helpful post! We’re building a house and I have samples of all the fabrics, paint swatches, and flooring. I keep them in manila envelopes sorted by the rooms. I also downloaded all the pictures of the furniture, lighting, plumbing fixtures, tile, fabrics, flooring, rugs, paint colors, and accessories and created mood boards for each room. This enabled me to see how everything would work together and tweak things that didn’t work. I found this great FREE online resource for creating the boards – https://olioboard.com/.

    1. Such a great idea!!!! Thank you so much for sharing that wonderful resource.

  16. Jeannie S says:

    Thank you for these great ideas. We moved last year and purchased new living room furniture. I measured and showed the saleslady at LaZboy the floor plan and she made some suggestions that we went with. It just wasn’t really comfortable and I finally donated it and got something more comfortable. I regret not taking more time and giving in to the sales pressure, it was an expensive mistake. I will be more cautious in the future. Thanks for the reminders!

  17. Robin Marks says:


    I love your blog. Great tips! I do most of these before buying and agree they help avoid making big mistakes. Measuring and saving your dimensions are key. Thanks for all your ideas.


  18. Janice Stewart says:

    Very timely and great advice. I’m trying to let go of cutter for a fresh clean look.

  19. Jill Miglin says:

    Great advice, as always! One that I always utilize is mapping out. I have necessary measurements in the notes of my iphone. I also carry the paint swatches from all my rooms in my wallet. Great time saver.

  20. I do so appreciate the thoughtfulness of this article. Thank you!

  21. Mary Chris says:

    Great advise. Especially for young people just starting out.

  22. Linda schmidt says:

    Such good ideas, I am living with 2 lazy boy recliners way too big and cold leather, it has been a few years and I still look at them and say “oh what a big mistake”, never again, I will take your advice and graph it out. Thanks

  23. I know about impulse buying but I do it right. I bought 2 things on-line this month and have received neither of them. When I went in to check on the ordered items. I have no record and the banking shows it was never taken out of the check book. So, evidently, I never finished the orders, so will be getting neither item. Now I’m thinking about whether I want them or not. That’s how to do it, LOL!

  24. Words of wisdom are always appreciated and treasured. Thank you Yvonne!

  25. Saving up and planning is a good idea. I prevents me from buying too many smaller items on impulse and leaves space in the budget and room for larger purchases, like a huge wall mirror. In our world of immediate gratification this allows for longterm satisfaction with well rounded and balanced results in the overall feel of the room. I also like to buy the larger purchases- couches and curtains
    in neutrals and save the trendy brighter patterns and colours for the more easily purchased and exchanged items like throw pillows and vases.

  26. Great tips. We recently updated our great room with a couch and chair. It took a year to find the right one. We are well pleased with our selection. They changed the look of the room. I always plan, plan and shop, shop, shop.

  27. Cecilia M says:

    Thank you so much for all the advice. I love your blog and decorating style.

    1. Thanks so much Cecilia. My middle name is Cecilia and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it! Such a gorgeous name!

  28. mattsgramma says:

    Excellent suggestions Yvonne. I actually pass up purchases and then regret that I didn’t buy. Also, my husband and I don’t buy unless we have saved for it in advance.

  29. Great tips.Having measurements,color and fabric
    swatches with you when you shop helps to avoid
    costly mistakes and returns.I do research on line
    before a purchase,usually like to see and feel items
    before I purchase.

  30. Thanks Yvonne!!!! I just finished my living room-very difficult as I have a baby grand and the space is small. Love what I have done but it still needs something g. Any suggestions?. Just feel like its unfinished. Has this ever happened to you and what do you do?

  31. Excellent information and beautiful photos!

  32. Carol Elkins says:

    Great tips! So many times I just run out and buy something and then it never seems to work out in the area I want it to. I need to plan ahead and research and do all of your tips before rushing out to buy.

  33. Thank you so much for this wonderful post! We have been renovating our small condo since July, and I so appreciate your tips. We, like you, are nearing the end for now, although I don’t know how long my husband can let his new toys, err tools, rest.

  34. Great tips as always, Yvonne! Thank you..I look forward to every post from you 🙂

  35. 1 thing I learned the hard way, I purchased 2 matching sofas – 1 larger than the other, at a factory near my home through one of the owners. I looked at the style in a book, and never sat on the finished sofa until it was in my house. What a HUGE mistake! They are very uncomfortable and I feel like I’m stuck with them forever!
    I won’t do that again if I ever get the chance to make a change!

  36. I’m totally in love with your posts! I hope in the future you have some tips for blending opposing styles. I lean toward French country-eclectic. My husband is more of a contemporary. It’s challenging to blend our styles without creating “Early American Junkyard”.

  37. all good advice, and I love your posts and your blog. Making your egg salad today! But, Pinterest bogs me down. I spend too much time, and still get sidetracked, so I don’t go there often. Thanks for all your advice.

  38. Oh yes planning is so important and researching is essential, I love that you mentioned Pinterest for ideas, I sometimes overlook that wellspring of great inspiration.

  39. These are all great ideas. Both times when we needed a new sectional for our family room we shopped a good 6 months until we found the right one. Since I’m only 5″5″ I need a shorter depth in the cushions so my feet can touch the floor. I sat on many a sofa until we found the right one. Also the arms couldn’t be too high. I have the perfect little recliner in my office that I fear will be worn out too soon ( I’ve had it probably 10 years!) I sit in it everyday to read my paper and laptop. Even our dog loved it, The room was even decorated around it! i cant wai to see what you do to your master!!

  40. Willie Webb says:

    Love your great tips! I used to take the tags off when I got home. However, I have discovered when returning the items it makes it sooooo much easier if I leave the tag on, or taped it to the bottom of the item. It makes the return go so much easier. This is especially true of HomeGoods.

  41. Thank you Yvonne! You always provide such great practical advice. I am preparing to do a kitchen remodel and this will come in very handy. I always carry a tape measure, paint and fabric samples in my purse and it has saved me a lot of money and buyer’s remorse from purchases that simply would not work.

    1. Hi Mary!
      I did a kitchen remodel a few years back. Like you, I carried measurements, tape measure, floor plan, fabrics and paint swatches. My cabinet guy had two small mock cupboard doors painted up in the two colors I was using. It was immensely helpful in picking out flooring, counter tops and hardware. Hope this little suggestion helps.

  42. Another helpful post, Yvonne. Like you and Bobby, we always pay cash for our purchases. I do my due deligence when it comes to big ticket items. It can drive my husband a little crazy. But, I want to absolutely love the end results. I carry in a tote, all the pieces of fabric, paint swatches, etc. that I gather for a project. If I see something I want to buy, I know instantly if it suits the space/project. This system hasn’t failed me yet.

  43. I take closeup pictures of items so I can refer to them while shopping and trying to coordinate new items with what I have at home.

  44. You’ve thought of it all! Thanks for all the tips and lessons you have learned.

  45. Great suggestions as were some of your readers’. Having measurements is important even for those small impulse buys. Love the pillow with the balls across from the white ball-carved chair!

  46. Very helpful tips, Yvonne! Thank you!

  47. Sound, practical and valuable advice. Thank you Yvonne.

  48. Thanks for all the great info, Yvonne! Our home (that we had built) just turned 25. We’re fortune that we chose a very open concept design. We have a great room with 18′ ceilings and a gorgeous large fireplace with dark brick. When we built the home, that was the style!!! I know it needs updating but I don’t know where to start…….The area we live in is rather financially depressed. I’m afraid that when we go to sell this home we will not be able to recoup the $ we put into it. How do you know whether to update or not? We paid SO much $ for all the solid oak doors and trim. I’m So nervous to paint over it. Gosh, I remember spending hours scraping layers of paint off tables I bought at garage sales years ago. I kept saying to myself, “why would people paint over this beautiful wood!” The wood in our home is in great shape but it’s on the darker side. The kitchen cabinets show little wear but again it’s on the dark side. How do I convince myself and my husband to take the plunge and start painting???

    1. Hi, Mary!
      To give you some encouragement, I want to tell you that several years ago we decided to refinish our kitchen cabinets. They are made beautifully yet seemed dark. Once the wood was stripped, we chose a bit lighter shade of stain (still cherry) and they turned out fantastic. Perhaps you might consider having your woodwork refinished rather than painted. Either way, I know it means a lot of work but can be worth it in the end! Happy Decorating!
      Nan from northern PA

    2. Mary,
      Our home is almost 30 years old and we live in the number one school district in Minnesota! However it is always important to make certain when you update your home you dont’t overprice for your area. May I suggest you consider having a Realtor visit your home and seek their advice? Updates and remodels are so costly. Just a thought…

  49. Linda Godwin says:

    Great article with such good advice. Thanks!

  50. Theresa Winterberry Lane says:

    Great advice Yvonne. My husband and I are looking for a new couch and love seat for our living room. Your practical suggestions will help when we go shopping. I’m ready for a change, we have had the same couch for 38 years,three children and now three grandchildren, a slip cover has updated our couch,but I think it’s time for change!

  51. Ann Black says:

    Love getting samples when possible and seeing how they are in the actual room. I once painted a bathroom an aqua color. The bathroom has a sky light and the variance of the intensity of the color from a bright aqua to a a gray aqua depending on where the sun is in the sky. It is really interesting. Great tips!

  52. Great tips – especially about saving and paying. My husband and I do not have any debt – everything is paid off at the end of each month.

    It is hard not to end up with something purchased that just doesn’t work like you thought it would. I try and think of another place in the house to use it — If not I return it or gift it to someone that can use it. Pinterest is a good place to see what others have done with the piece you bought that doesn’t work…..

  53. Doris Raab says:

    Great advice. I have certainly made the mistake in the past if buying and not measuring first. Since I do not like returning things, I measure first now! Thanks for sharing your experience.

  54. Joanne B. says:

    What a great plan! Just want to add a few ideas: aways carry a tape measure! I tend to aha a classic look and I always make sure when making a purchase that the piece has versatility within my home. This way there will be no “bad mistakes”. Make sure you like a piece enough to use in any room in your home so if it doesn’t work in one room it could work in another and still work well in the overall feel of your home. Also, if you ever move it could work in that new home too!

  55. Veda Spalding says:

    Such words of wisdom!! We too are finishing a 5 yr renovation ! Down to the stud walls all the way thru and shuffling them around to tearing out the whole back wall of the house to add on! When I think of all the work done in these 5 years inside plus redoing the gardens outside for the Master gardener tour in 2016, it makes me proud of what we have accomplished!! All the work was done by me,my hubby, his brother, and nephew. I also learned early on to have a master plan ,everything ready, I had to stay a step ahead of the fellas with my ideas and have purchases made so when they got to that point I was ready! Your are right a binder with ideas, samples,measurements was a definite must!! Thanks for your wonderful blog! I enjoy all of your home posts and I LOVE your Sunday posts!!

  56. Oh Yvonne dear, I love the lantern under the clock….can you share where you found it? I get so much joy out of your blog.

  57. Donna Groce says:

    Hi Yvonne!

    Wow! How nice you are nearing the end, and ready to enjoy your new home.
    I love this article, confirmation for me. Reassessing-
    I am always redesigning our home, and other people’s homes, with my small decorating, redesign business.
    When I make a purchase, I try to picture it in several rooms.

    Thanks again.

  58. Marcy Leonard says:

    Am finally reading today’s blog late in the day– not only are your tips great (should needlepoint them on something), the comments are really helpful as well! Thanks!

  59. Heidi Colton says:

    Great advice! I must say I have learned a few things I can apply to my own projects. I have had buyers remove more times than I can count. I can’t wait to see your next project.

  60. A good plan to follow…thanks!

  61. These are all great, practical tips.

  62. Great detailed advice! Thanks for sharing.

  63. Thanks Yvonne for the good and practical tips.

  64. Maggie Nelson says:

    We also save money and plan before to start any project. Our next project is our office. Excellent tips, Thank you!

  65. Carolyn Ray says:


  66. I am NOT an online shopper when it come to many home decor items. I looked on line for months for a bedside table, finally deciding on one from a well known store. I then went to the store to actually look at that table, and I was totally disappointed in the quality of the wood.Always, ALWAYS, take that step of checking it out before you buy if that is possible. I’m still without a table, but I don’t have on that i know I wouldn’t have liked!

  67. Melinda Schmitt says:

    Love the small decorated bureau in the photos above that appears to have a linen finish and be stenciled with continuous lines and small circles. Did you create that look? If you did, then did you make a tutorial on how you accomplished that project? It is a great piece of furniture!!!

  68. I have to practice patience as my home of almost 30 years has evolved. I have made a few mistakes along the way because I was eager to get it done. So excited to see what your master bedroom will look like.

    I’m currently looking for a bedding redo that will probably involve fresh paint. Just have not stumbled on that special inspiration piece. But…it will happen. In the meantime I remind myself why I loved the ensemble I have. It is beautiful.

  69. As always, you’ve given good, sound advise, Yvonne. Thank you. You know I have had fits in the past – and learned from them, indeed. And I have tried so very hard not to beat myself into a pulp for it/them, either.

    Thank you for the reminder of what we each need do before tackling any new changes.

    Hope your new year is going well so far and that you are well into healing and feeling better on your feet soon. Hugs. ♥


    Thank you for the planning advice. About to start another “adventure” in the kitchen

  71. All good ideas. I like best the idea of mapping. I’ve done this before on projects but never thought to use the idea for a purchase ! Thank you!

  72. Great advice!!!! Ya did it again, Yvonne!!!! Right on target!!!!! Thanks

  73. Thank you for your excellent tips!

  74. I am definitely planning to make some changes to my home decor in 2017 and these tips will be most helpful to me as I proceed. Thank you for always having such good advice. You are awesome!

  75. A thoughtful post of great advice. I am in love with the little chest under the large clock. It looks likea loose weave cloth on the front and then painted white. Could you please tell me the source or did you DIY. It would be perfect in my guest room and I have looked long and hard for a dresser for that space!

  76. I’m in the process of selecting a new end table to go with a new sofa. Perfect timing and helpful advice! Thank you!

  77. Avril Crundwell says:

    Great ideas… it’s so helpful to lay it out and work through the steps you’ve laid out. Thanks

  78. Ia am starting a home remodeling project. Thank you for all the great advise

  79. Sylvia Hill says:

    Great suggestions. Like the idea of graphing the room.

  80. Deb Pemberton says:

    I love your blog and all the tips that you give! It is definitely my favorite! Would love to see you do a series on how to pick tile for the kitchen backsplash. Thanks.

    1. Jamie Holcombe says:

      I would love kitchen backsplash tips too.
      Jamie Holcombe

  81. Jamie Holcombe says:

    Your tips are always invaluable. I’m proud to say I do pretty much most of those 8 tips for decorating projects.
    Keep them coming. I’m sad to say though, I don’t find too much time listening to your talks where you and your decorator friends get around and share tips. Believe me, they are so good, but sometimes I copy and paste your suggestions and put them into my decor binder.
    I ❤️ StoneGable.

  82. Norma Rolader says:

    Love Love your 8 plans such great info and tips Thank you for sharing