I was with a group of friends this week and the topic of decorating came up. My ears perked up and I purposefully closed my mouth. I wanted to hear what my friends were saying about their homes and decorating. I wasn’t surprised to hear my friends lament about wishing they had changed this or that long ago. And how overwhelmed they often felt. And here’s the saddest part to me, a couple friends have given up! They were stuck. Being stuck is a horrible feeling! Today let’s talk about what to do when you feel stuck with our decor.
I think “feeling stuck” is hopeless and resigned. Feeling stuck does not move you forward or keep you motivated! We do not have to feel stuck with our decor. Here are some ways to get unstuck and start creating a home you love to live in!
Today I’m putting the best advice I have in a BIG post! I hope this helps to motivate you and get you moving towards decorating your home with what you love!
TAKE A DEEP BREATH!
Sometimes I can make a big mountain out of a molehill! Yes, believe it. And I bet you can too. Be thankful for a roof over your head, a bed to sleep in and food on the table. REALLY! Just take a step back, even though you can’t abide those jabot curtains and that plaid sofa anymore, and breathe. Be thankful for what you have! Being stuck with what you have is really a big blessing. Even if you don’t particularly love it!
KNOW YOUR DECORATING STYLE
Most home decor enthusiasts are stuck living with things they don’t like because they love pretty things but sadly don’t know their own unique style and how to filter the noise of all the other pretty shiny things around them to get to create a beautiful home! They buy or redo or repurpose things and end up with a mismatched look that doesn’t look at all like them.
I know! I call this the HomeGood dilemma. When HomeGood’s first came to my area I would fill a cart or two with lots of things I love. They had so much I loved! Dishes, accent pieces, candles, chairs, rugs, bed linens. Everything looked amazing! But when I got home, although the items themselves were beautiful they looked jumbled up and confusing in my home. I was too busy loving everything and taking it all home. I did not have a style filter!
I did this over and over before I got very serious about truly knowing my decorating style! Now when I go to HomeGoods I can love everything but I don’t have to take it all home. I have learned to filter all the things I love and only take home what will work in my home. It’s amazing how knowing your style will make decorating so much easier!
I have saved so many headaches over the years and tons of cash just by knowing my style. I know what I should and should not put in my home. And when I do change things up in a room I have lots of decor options from around my house because many things I own work in almost any room.
The number one most important thing to do is to learn and know your decorating style! You cannot decorate with confidence and get great results if you don’t!
I’ll have lots more to say about this in the upcoming weeks!
MAKE A PLAN
It takes lots of thought and planning to have an effortlessly beautiful home! One you love and feel good about. If you fail to plan you plan to fail!!! Believe it. Start now. Put your dreams to paper and get a Pinterest board and fill it with things you love. A word of caution. If this makes you more anxious don’t do it. And don’t compare yourself your home to the images you see and love either. You are window shopping and seriously going to look for those things you see repeated over and over on your board. These are styles you are drawn to. This will go a long way in helping you figure out your style.
Look for a post and a free printable later this month about how to plan any changes big and small in your home!
Please, Please, Please make an idea or inspiration board for any changes you are making in your home! It’s a way to imagine your room and try many looks before putting one thing in it and spending any $$! You can see the inspiration board I did for my master bedroom HERE and how I created it. You can also see what my master bedroom looks like so far, although it is not completely done yet HERE.
TACKLE YOUR WORST OFFENDER
If you are not happy with some or even much of your home furnishing remember, you can’t do it all at once. And if you did you would be in the same boat of dissatisfaction again! Decorating is a process. That includes mistakes. So you will want to take your time.
Decide on one room or one area you really don’t like to look at and tackle it!
The first room I tackled when I realized I was living with a style that was not me anymore was my living room. It wasn’t the most used room but I saw it many times a day as I went upstairs and downstairs and we most often entertained there. For me, I had a couple “worst offenders”!!!! The walls were butter yellow that I once adored but I almost cried from boredom every time I looked at them. And the wall-to-wall carpet! UGH!!!! It was green! But not a pretty green but dingy and faded from year and years of use. And I had two eighteenth-century silk yellow floral sofas. They were so expensive and were still holding up beautifully. They should be given away years before that but because we had paid a small fortune for them (a very foolish mistake of a young wife… we will cover later) I felt I had to get my money’s worth out of them. So I lived with them for almost a decade longer than I really wanted to.
Sometimes the best lessons are the hardest learned! I will never, never, never spend a small fortune on a piece of furniture ever, ever again! Today we can furnish our homes with very nicely made trappings for reasonable prices. I’m not going cheap but I will not live with something because I sent too much money on it again. I hope you will learn from my mistake!
DO ONE MOTIVATING THING
Being stuck with furnishings you have grown out of or decor that has never really worked for you can make you feel unhappy and unmotivated. Again, I KNOW and feel your pain.
It may seem impossible to create a home you are loving to live in but you can. Rome was not built in a day and either is a home you love. It is a process! Again, me here! It has taken me seven years to redecorate StoneGable and I have two bathrooms, another guest room and a basement to tackle.
I started this process of getting unstuck by going to the paint store and looking for a neutral paint color. Such a small step.
I knew I did not want to use gray as a predominant color in my home because gray is a sad color to me. I knew I loved white and warm neutrals. And I knew that I would have a very tight neutral color palette in most of my home because it is easy to live with and very economical. So I started looking for all the warm neutral wall colors I could find. Eventually, I limited my search to about eight neutral colors.
I came home from the paint store with paint swatches and lots of neutral samples. I painted the front living area of my home with stripes of neutrals on every wall. I recorded how they looked to me at different times of the day right on the wall, in pencil of course!
This felt so freeing! I was making a tiny bit of progress. The color I finally picked was Sonnet by Benjamin Moore. I love it still today! I think I have been the best Benjamin Moore salesperson because I am sure I have sold tons of this pretty neutral color!
This began a tiny paradigm change in me! I felt the tiniest twinge of I-can-do-it bubble up inside me. Bobby and I (and when I say Bobby and I… I mean Bobby) not only painted the living room but the whole front of our home Sonnet. It was astonishing! It was perfect. Even though I lived with that yellow silk floral eighteenth-century sofa for another 18 months!
I was determined that I would change my home into a place of comfort and beauty if it took the next 20 years! And by then it would probably be ready to be done again. Another great truth- we are never really “done”! Everything takes upkeep and updating and our home is not an exception.
Do not resign yourself to living with things you don’t love! Make even the smallest changes that make you happy!
CHANGE WHAT YOU CAN
Let’s get real! You may not be able to change everything but you can change some things.
If you really don’t like your cherry dining room set anymore but you spent too much to get rid of it (I understand!)! Don’t be resigned to living with it. Keep the table, paint the side chairs and add a dropcloth cover over any offending material on it (or have it reupholstered) and get inexpensive but pretty new head chairs! That is exactly what I did. My set was mahogany. And I LOVED the new look! Then after years, I changed out the table and the side chairs again!
And if you want to go even further you can change the color of your cherry (or oak or whatever) table without sanding, stripping or mess! Gel Stain can work wonders! See it HERE. Please use #813524 at checkout. You can see a video about gel stain HERE.
Be brave!!!! There are so many great tutorials on YouTube that will walk you through tons upgrades and redo’s when it comes to furniture!
CLEAN IT UP
The easiest way to feel better about your space is to clean it up. Get rid of anything that is tired or broken or does not give you joy! And organize. Remember my living room. We started by getting rid of a coffee table and two side tables. Also a piano I hadn’t played in over a decade and a pair of ornate lamps.
I lived with a sofa, two amazingly inexpensive on sale side tables and a pair of HomeGood lamps for quite a while. And I was thrilled! It was more than a bit empty but what I put in the living room I loved!
LIVE WITH LESS
I’m a slow decorator. I like to live with things for a bit before I add another layer of decor. So living with less, for me, is a way of life. Most of you who read StoneGable regularly know it took me almost two years to makeover my bedroom and I’m still not quite done yet. After 23 years of the same of furnishings, I was determined to create a sanctuary for Bobby and me.
The biggest holdup, other than saving for new flooring, was the armoire. I bought one and it was not right for the room. It took a long time and lots of thought to decide what was right for my bedroom. I was thrilled I took my time and lived without anything on a big wall until I found an armoire that would be the crown jewel of my bedroom! You can see it HERE.
And a word about buying something and it being a mistake. Be very careful about understanding return policies! And don’t live with a mistake if you don’t have to. I bought both armoires from Wayfair and they were FABULOUS about picking up the one I did not like and returning it for me. I opted for the white glove delivery at an additional cost. So when I had to return the first armoire Wayfair came and picked it up. No problems! No charge! Brilliant!
DON’T BE PENNY WISE AND POUND FOOLISH
I think many home decorators spend way too much on furnishings that are not anchor pieces of a room. There is a time to spend to get a something that will literally make a room spectacular and a time to buy something nice that will work with a room.
Here are my best 4 pearls of wisdom
- not everything has to be the best quality
- only spend as much money as years you are willing to keep something
- expensive items should be timeless and neutral
- cheap is cheap
Today we can find things for our home that are very good quality but we don’t have to always buy the best. One thing I insist on splurging on are lampshades. An inexpensive lamp can fool you and look good but a cheap lampshade gives itself away. Now a good lampshade for me is one in the $20.00 – $40.00 range. I could find one for $200.00 and love it but that would blow my budget! Pound foolish for sure!
My two yellow sofas were a huge lesson about the relationship between money spent on furnishing and how many years I felt I had to keep it to get my dollar’s worth. Now, I have very nice sofas that are good quality and I paid one-third of what one of my yellow sofas cost. And I’ll not be keeping either of them for twenty-seven years! I can’t stress this lesson enough!
The more we spend on an item the more classic it should be and the more neutral in color too. Very smart! Classic furnishings don’t go out of fashion as fast as other styles. Accessories are great things to add a more trendy look to your home because they cost less and are much easier to replace. Also a neutral sofa or headboard or comforter or chair will go with any color you put it with.
Lastly, we often get what we pay for. Cheaply made items get tired and worn out faster, break more easily and well, often look cheap! Don’t go the cheap route for larger things in your home to save a few pennies. You might be sorry!
See my post on WHAT TO SPLURGE ON AND WHAT TO SAVE ON go HERE
DECOR HAS AN EXPIRATION DATE
Like the milk in our refrigerator, ALL decor has an expiration date! PLEASE remember this. Every decade in history is marked by its signature fashion and home decor.
What decade are you living within your home? If it makes you happy, then great! But if you are stuck with decor that is decades old and it makes you cringe then break out of the past! Use the tips above to help you.
Our mothers and grandmothers (and maybe us) would often get home furnishings and keep them forever. But with the advent of the internet and great online sources for decor and accents, as well as a plethora of sources we have a world of great quality home goods right at our fingertips. Affordable things! There is a price point for almost anyone!
And unlike our mothers, grandmothers or great-grandmothers we no longer have to choose our home decor when we are in our early 20’s and never change!
We’ve talked quite frankly about money in this post. Because changing our style and look is not free. But here’s the thing… think of decor like clothing or hair or makeup.
You are not wearing the clothes you wore in college. Oh how I wish I could fit into mine, but I digress. And I hope you are not wearing the same hairstyle or makeup either. No, blue eyeshadow does not make your blue eyes more blue!
Things change. Our taste changes and so does everything else around us. Why do we think our homes can’t continue to evolve? And why are we not budgeting for those changes?
If at all possible make home decor part of your budget. Shop sales for quality items. Buy neutrals and classics. Start now! ALWAYS be freshening up your home. I’m not saying always buy things for your home. Listen to me: always be thinking of ways to keep your decor something you love to live with.
Here are some no or low-cost ideas to freshen up your home…
- take down heavy drapes
- paint furniture
- pile pillows you have on a sofa
- add a neutral throw to the back of a sofa
- add flowers or other natural elements
- cover old seat cushions with drop cloths
- move furniture away from the walls
- add area rugs
I know it is hard to be thankful when we feel unhappy and stuck! But we ARE blessed! If you have a home you are one very blessed person! No matter how it is furnished. So start there. LOVE your home and love it just the way it is. Then as you change it remember to be thankful for every little bit of change.
It’s hard to feel discouraged when we are grateful for our blessings!
Now, go decorate your home!
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