While the concept of decorating your home sounds empowering and exciting, it can quickly become overwhelming and anxiety-inducing when you start the actual process of creating your space. There are so many decor styles to choose from, a seemingly infinite array of home decor products on the market, endless options for paint colors, wallpaper patterns, fabrics, tiles, and other materials… It all adds up to decisions on decisions that need to be made somewhat cohesively to curate a vibe that flows throughout your home. Before you know it, you’re paralyzed, unable to make any decision for fear of making the wrong one.
It’s totally understandable and normal to experience indecision around home decor, but the time is nigh to overcome that doubt. We’ve got a few strategies you can try to help you leave the indecision at the door and fully embrace curating a home that’s uniquely you.
1. Create a vision board.
First things first: You need to figure out your style, and one of the best ways to do that is with a vision board. Whether you utilize Pinterest, put your graphic design skills to work with Photoshop, or kick it old school with a poster board filled with cutouts from magazines and other mediums, putting together a visual aid will help you determine the aesthetic you’re going for and whether or not certain pieces truly work together. Think of it as the rough draft of your home makeover.
2. Shop in-store rather than online.
Yes, online shopping offers comfort and convenience, but when it comes to home decor, you can’t beat seeing an item in-person at a brick-and-mortar store. There are so many qualities of a product that don’t translate in a photo online—size, texture, sturdiness, and weight are just a few that are much easier to discern in person. All of these traits factor into deciding whether or not certain items work well together. You can always “window shop” online to get an idea of what you’d like to purchase, but before you hit that buy button, make a trip to a physical location to confirm that the items you have your eye on are going to work in your space.
3. Sample before making a commitment.
When it comes to paint, flooring, and fabrics, samples are a glorious tool for combatting indecision. Working from your vision board, obtain a few samples to take home and view in your space. Apply paint swatches to your wall; push your flooring samples up to the wall to see how they look with the colors you’re considering; hold up furniture fabric swatches against one another to see what looks cohesive. Seeing something in your actual space will give you a much better of how it looks with the light and other items in the room.
4. Take your time.
Part of what makes decorating so difficult is the irrational expectation of seeing the finished product, like now. The thing is, the decorating process is never truly done. For most people, budget constraints limit how much we can do with our spaces at one time, so the design has to come together slowly—and that’s totally OK! While curating and styling over a long-term period can feel frustrating because of that urge to see the “final version,” it’s just as rewarding to avoid impulse purchases and embrace a more long-term-journey outlook. While instant gratification feels good in the moment, decorating over time can also help to create a more timeless, thoughtfully curated space.
5. Contact an expert.
If you’re really at a loss with your design choices, you can always get in touch with an expert. This may not be as useful in terms of curating a collection of tchotchkes (consult your friends for that particular hurdle), but experts can be very helpful when it comes to bigger projects and working with unfamiliar materials. Your local paint store, flooring supplier, or furniture company are great places to start if you need some expert guidance. And if you can’t decide on your overall vision, a consultation with an interior designer could help put you on a clearer course.
6. But don’t focus too much on others’ opinions.
On the flip side of the same coin, try not to get too caught up in other peoples’ opinions. Your home is your space, not anyone else’s! There’s no sense in worrying about what your friends, family, or the general public will think of your home because they aren’t the ones living in it. Cast comparison to the side, let go of perfectionism, and simply have fun with your space.
7. Remember: nothing is permanent.
Perhaps most importantly, remember that nothing is permanent. You can always repaint, make returns, and start over if your vision doesn’t pan out. While some projects may be more of a hassle to redo, nothing is so permanent in the game of home decorating that you can’t cover it up, tear it out, or replace it. Decorating your home is a journey—not a destination—so don’t stress too much about making the wrong decisions.