Something that holds many people back from decorating their home is fear. Fear of choosing the wrong paint color, fear that the project is going to be too expensive, fear of buying the wrong things, fear of it not looking good enough… The list goes on and on. Fear causes something called “decorating paralysis.” Instead of actually decorating, you make excuses not to even begin.
Blocks like this are common in all creative endeavors and decorating is no different. The good news is that you once you identify what your fears around decorating are, you can deal with them head on and then be free to move forward.
In this post, I’m addressing six of the most common decorating fears and how to move past them. You may relate to only one or two of them, you may relate to all of them, or you may realize that your fear is coming from someplace else. If the latter, do some self-reflection to figure out what is causing yours to manifest. Nothing should keep you from creating a space you love – least of all, yourself!
COMMON DECORATING FEARS & HOW TO OVERCOME THEM
1 Trying to get things “perfect.” This is the easiest trap to fall into. It usually comes back around to us wanting to impress others, but when it comes to decorating your home, there is one very important thing to remember: it’s your home. You don’t have to please everyone else because they don’t live in it every day. What’s the point of impressing people for a few minutes if you’re going to dislike it the several hours they aren’t there? And since design is subjective, you’re still not going to manage to please everyone, so what’s the point?
Set out to create a space that pleases you. For a moment, imagine that no one but you is ever going to see your home, so you can do whatever you want – and budget isn’t an issue. What would it look like? Start gathering inspiration from places like Pinterest and magazines and let your heart be your guide.
2 Taking on everything at once. When you look at the entire scope of a project, like decorating your whole house, it can be very overwhelming and feel like an impossible feat. Instead, break it down to one room at a time or even one spot at a time, like a vignette or a bookcase. Start with small, manageable changes. This will give you small wins and a sense of momentum that will inspire you as you go.
3 Assuming everything needs an overhaul. If you’re not happy with the way your home looks, it can be easy to get caught up in the thought that everything needs to be changed. You start hating everything you see. But sometimes, this isn’t necessarily the case. It just needs some new life breathed into it. This is especially true if you’re renting and there are major things you’re not allowed to change; that doesn’t make it a lost cause because you can still give it your own flair.
Some simple things you can do without changing major elements are: style a vignette, restyle the bookshelves, change out toss pillows, add a throw, hang a piece of art, hang curtains, try a new lampshade, put down an area rug, add a centerpiece to your table, switch out the light fixtures. You’ll be amazed by what these seemingly simple changes can do.
4 Feeling rushed to get it all done ASAP. Once you’ve decided that you want to decorate your home, you may wish you could snap your fingers and have it all done right away. However, the process of decorating is just that: a process. If you rush it, you miss out on a lot of great discoveries and ideas that only come with time and exploration. So, relax – don’t rush yourself. After you’ve done one or two things, take the time to live with it a bit before you move on to the next thing. These small steps will help you “see” the room better and get more familiar with what you like and how you want to live in your home. It will also give you a sense of accomplishment and more confidence to move on to the next project.
5 Not wanting to make mistakes. Any time you do anything creative, mistakes are inevitable. Giving yourself the freedom to try things and make mistakes is where true creativity blossoms. As Bob Ross always said, “There are no mistakes, only happy accidents.”
Accept the fact that you will make mistakes – we all do! Even professionals. I’m repainting the main areas of our house for the third time in three years, but it’s only paint and that can be easily changed. (I’m also very good at leaving the tags on things and returning them to the store if they don’t work out. Ask my husband. ;)) Give yourself room to experiment. Sometimes, you don’t know what you really like or don’t like it until you try living with it for a while.
Waiting for the right time. We can always find a reason to put things off if we look hard enough for one. It will never seem like the “right” time, so the best thing you can do is put the excuses aside and just do it! As I mentioned earlier, don’t feel like you have to do it all right away. Start small. Gather inspiration, prioritize the spots you want to work on most, and go from there. In six months, your future self will be thankful that you started when you did.
Did any of these fears resonate with you? If so, I hope this post helped you start setting yourself free of these blocks and move forward with creating a home you love. Let me know in the comments what your biggest fears around decorating are, whether it’s one of the ones mentioned in this post or something else.
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