Victoria Smith Interiors – Interior Designer Portland Maine – Tel: 207-865-6609


Decorating Step #1: Plan First, Buy Later

Decorating Step #1: Plan First, Buy Later

[ Blog - POSTED: October 1, 2010 ]

You want to redecorate, and have even gotten so far as to stand at the threshold before walking away. You ask yourself why it’s so difficult. It’s not brain surgery, but you’re nervous anyway. Why the frustration?

Stop procrastinating.

If you really want a change, start with a plan. Don’t procrastinate, or your rooms may stage a hostile takeover and decorate themselves. This may already have happened to you—rooms are sneaky, and usually operate at night, in the dark.

You know what we mean. You wake up one morning and your walls are “greige,” an unpleasant muddling of white, gray and beige. The carpet—usually a random hand-me-down or overstock from Bill’s House O’ Carpet—has staked a claim under a bulbous sofa. “Almost retro” tables and chairs clutter along the walls with all those other furniture deals advertised as “too good to pass up.” Like those obscure relatives that visit each summer, the objects make the room comfortable enough, but vaguely annoying, and you feel too guilty to throw them out.

Maybe you’ve got a table you thought was bound to look great once you refinished it and put on new hardware, but 10 years later it’s just gotten sadder, and hisses at you for neglecting it. Maybe the lighting feels like you’re in a bathing suit dressing room at Macy’s, the curtains that hung with pizzazz in virtual catalog rooms in your house look more like they need a Humane Society intervention, and the overall tableau looks like an archeological dig with each layer exposing the least desirable trends from the 90’s, the 80’s, and God help you, the 70’s. When you felt “hip,” you thought it eclectic, but now you feel overwhelmed, and you call it what it is: a mess.

Don’t despair. You might get lucky and sell the whole lot to the Museum of Modern Art, where it will be exhibited next to the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

And don’t worry, you’re not alone—we all thought we had time and energy. Now we’re clear that we have neither. We can be “energy-efficient” (note that I shamelessly use an overused phrase) by making better decisions this time around. Find comfort in the knowledge that you are armed well with the very thing you need to overcome the decorating blahs—a functioning frontal cortex.

Take an “ego inventory.”

What’s an ego inventory? An admission that accumulating things does not always get you what you want. How many times have you found yourself spinning in circles about where to begin only to “solve” the problem by going out and buying another thing that you ended up regretting? Many shops filled with such impulse buys are only providing future landfill.

Without a plan, your mistake started before you left the house.

No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it.
-Albert Einstein

Is this all a ploy to get you to hire a professional? Maybe—it depends on your mindset and how honest, disciplined, and objective you can be. As Einstein noted, the mind that makes the mess may not have the perspective to fix it. Seeking another viewpoint can help stop the circular thinking. Consider at least consulting with a professional, or asking a friend whose home you admire to be your decorating boot camp sergeant.

That’s Step One: Don’t buy anything without first having a plan.

Whether you tackle your own home design or consult a professional, you’ll first need to take a functional inventory of what you already have and whether it works for you. Then, move on to Step Two: Analyzing Your Home and How it Functions (Click Here).

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