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Overcoming Decorating Paralysis in 8 Steps

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We've all been there, including some of the best professionals. We all can get "decorating paralysis".  You know it if you've ever been there.  You're stuck. You may have a rapid heart rate, cold sweat, maybe on the verge of tears, and completely overwhelmed with not one good idea coming to mind!!!  I more than understand. Home decorating ideas don't always come easy. You don't want to make a costly mistake, or even just an embarrassing ugly one. You also fear your home may be dated in 5 years! I get it!   The only difference between the professionals and the do it yourselfers --the professionals don't stay stuck in that panicked moment, because we know how to move forward. Now that you have found this blog, you will know how to move forward also! By the way...WELCOME !!! We are so happy you stopped by. We sincerely believe that everyone deserves a beautiful home- and that it can be created at any price point. We hope that our blog will become a place to find resources, ideas, and inspiration for your home, without the added cost of hiring a designer.  This is our first blog post and what better topic to cover, than the fear of even dipping your toe into that big beautiful decor pond.

Ok sister - we've got you covered. The first step - and the most obvious - is to breathe, relax, and remember that what we are having here is first world problems--just sayin. Making your home beautiful should be fun, and exciting! You probably already know this - but it doesn't hurt to say it again, creativity will not flow in a brain that is frazzled, stressed, and has been multi tasking at the speed of light all day. So just the fact that we are adding another stressor - over the decorating of our humble abode aint helping. You know yourself better than anyone else, so whatever you need to do to allow your brain to wind down--maybe it's a glass of wine and a quiet corner, maybe it's a relaxing hot bath...maybe it's meditation. Whatever it is that calms you - do that.  Then...go look at your plan.  "What plan??!!" you say?  The one you are going to create before you EVER start ANY project. Not having a good clear vision of what we want a space to look like, and not having a plan on paper, that my friends - is the root of decorating paralysis.

This post is going to be one of many that will help you break down the tasks that need to be done to achieve a beautiful space, and will help to keep that ugly old paralysis at bay.


So here we go.....

Step 1:    Determine your homes architectural style.  Do you have a Mid-Century Modern, Colonial, Contemporary, Mediterranean, or perhaps a Craftsman? It may be new construction, and a common architectural style here in California is a Ranch Home. If you're not sure, click on the link below to view photos of various home styles. 

What Architectural Style Is Your Home

 Whatever category your home fits into- jot it down. Sometimes when we are stuck, it helps to research particular home styles and add on the word "interiors" i.e.- Ranch style home interiors.  Just researching your homes architectural style and the professional interior spaces created within these homes may help to get your creative juices flowing.  There is another reason that it's important to know your homes architectural style...and its an important one. Let’s say you have a beautiful Craftsman style home, and are looking at doing a major kitchen remodel. If you choose a sleek modern style kitchen - it’s going to look ridiculous in a craftsman style home. I know this may sound like a “well duh” kind of moment - but I’ve seen folks do this.  Let your homes style speak to you and guide you in making the major decisions required during a remodel.


Step 2:   Space Planning and Your Living Needs

This is the "functional stuff".  We will get to the pretty stuff later (I promise)  

So you have an empty room.  What are you going to do in this room? Is it a dining room, a family room? Whatever it is , what furniture do you need so this room will function well for it’s intended purpose. Create a list , furniture you have ,and furniture you need . You can create a second list of furniture pieces that you would like to use in this room, but that aren’t necessary to the functioning of the room.  When you do your layout , start by getting the absolute necessities in first, then start adding the non-essential pieces.

As a side note , just because the last owner- or the builder staged the room as X, Y or Z – doesn’t mean YOU have to use the room for that same purpose.   As an example – we purchased a home that had a formal living room and a formal dining room combo just as you entered from the front door.  We would never – ever use a formal living room for anything.  The dog would probably take up residency there but that’s about it. So we combined the space – and created one large dining room.  It was the perfect size for our large family gatherings.  Living rooms and dining rooms get swapped all the time.  Now more than ever home offices are taking over areas of our home that we would never have considered before.

Second side note:  In your inventory of current furnishings , don’t write off the old piece grandma gave you just yet.  Miracles can be performed on these old beasts with a bit of chalk paint and elbow grease. Mixing vintage pieces in with the new keeps a room from being boring!  

Source: River City Relics

Now that you have a list of furniture pieces that you will use in your room,  it’s time to create a layout.  

For those of you that already have your furniture laid out in your room, but you are thinking it feels awkward, this link may be of help to you also.  Click below for link: 

Create a Beautiful Room Layout

 Now, stay with me- you’re not going to like this next step . 

Step 3.    Figure out your budget.  What's a number that you don’t necessarily have access to at this very moment, but that in the grand scheme of things, you would  be comfortable spending making  your home beautiful.  How much of that budget do you have  access to right now?  Jot these numbers down.  Creating a folder would also be an excellent idea , your room layouts, and special pieces that you have found online can be printed out and saved in this file.

If you have no idea what budget is realistic for furnishing your home – go pretend shopping.  Wayfair has pretty much everything under the sun. Add all the items to your cart that you need – and see what that grand total looks like.  Did the number almost make you faint?  Its ok, most people don’t have a grand budget to work with. Just know that you are creating your plan. When you are finished you can start looking at other options ( other than Wayfair) that can help get your furnishing costs down, i.e. waiting for the big items to go on sale, and finding alternative suppliers .   Decide what your priorities are – what items are you seriously needing right now.  Lets go back to that list of furnishings &  re-write them based on priority and need.   Do you need the bigger better tv or something to sit on ( don’t let your husband see the list .

Now, we are going to move on to the fun stuff.

Step 4.  Figure out your style.

You may know EXACTLY what your individual style is.  If this is you, move along to the next step.  For those of you who have no idea what your style is, I'd like for you to click on this next link, and scroll thru these beautiful photos of interiors.  Below each photo is a description of the style.  You may be very attracted to multiple styles and that’s ok.  Jot down which interior styles you like and think about how they could work best in your home, and also if they could function well for your family.  And of course which one makes you swoon! Click link below for 13 Popular design styles:

Beautiful Interior Styles

 Step 5.   Choose a Color Palette

Since you have found yourself here, you have most likely seen my work and know that I am a neutral girl.  My design inspirations come from the wonderful palette of worn woods, shades of white, cream, & tan,  with greenery and textural pieces to add gentle variations.  Shades of grey and black to add to the mix and sometimes a few shades of blue get mixed in.  

If you are more of a lover of rich vibrant color in your rooms, I would still start with a lovely neutral color for your walls, and then build on that by adding two colors that are on opposing sides of the color wheel.  For example, look at the wheel below, the blues and rusts are on opposite sides of the wheel.  They pair beautifully together.  Then within those two colors, you can add shades within both of those color ranges to add interest to your room. 

Blue & Yellow Source : Newdecortrends
Blue & Rust Source: Paul Doherty
Crimson & Royal Blue Source: Katie Ridder
Neutrals Source: Lavender Lane Interiors of Ca


Step 6:    Source Your Furniture

Order fabric samples for items you love. 

Read thru reviews, if ordering online, and look at customers photos – not just the manufacturers photos.

My personal favorites source list will be coming soon.  It will include great budget conscious suppliers.

Things to keep in mind:


     Size of piece – if dimensions seem sketchy call the manufacturer and get confirmation of exact size.

     Height and styles of furniture ( will they blend well together).

     Will it fit thru the doorways and/or possible hallways in my home.

Important note-  do not fall in love with any single item unless it checks all the boxes….correct size- color- fits your style, and it is  in your budget.


Step 7  Create a Mood Board.

What is a mood board and why is it important? 

A mood board is a visual representation of ideas for your design project.  At its most basic level, it‘s a collage of images.  It can put your ideas all together in one place, and allows you to step back and see it all together visually . You will see what works well together and what doesn’t. 

If you are on Pinterest,  it can be as simple as creating a board for your project, then adding your paint color, curtains, area rug, and furniture pieces to that board. But…even better…take your saved photos on your phone and use your “story” feature on Instagram to create a mood board.

Its super easy and fun!  Layer in your photos in this order : 

paint swatch ( this will basically be your background) , then your area rug,  wall art, and lastly your furniture pieces.  

Screenshot all the pieces of furniture on your phone, edit the photos to crop out unwanted area.  Then go to Instagram, create a story ( you don’t have to post it) ,upload the paint swatch, then click on the stickers. Scroll down and you will see your photos. Click the photos button and add in your next photo.  You are basically just layering photos on top of each other and resizing them to create your “room view”.  

If you are not on Instagram, you can also use Canva, which is a free app. 


8.  Whew!  Now its time to start purchasing your items.  Start with your priority items and check on lead times.  If you are ordering a custom piece , know that it isn’t unusual for it to take 6 months to be delivered to you.  Normal times are 8 to 12 weeks but as of the time of this writing , its been extended to six months.  If an item is out of stock and has no re-stock date listed , move along to your second choice.   

Final thoughts, creating a beautiful collected home takes time.  Don’t rush it.  Enjoy the process.  If you come across a beautiful little something at a local antique store, or on vacation, buy it!  Let your heart lead you to creating your own style , and to sharing your memories found in these objects that you have chosen to display!  

I'm excited to blog about all things design, from styling your coffee table, to hanging your chandeliers at the correct height, picking the perfect paint colors for your home, and knowing what size area rug you need.  So many topics...the list is endless.

I hope to see you around the block on my next blog, and if you'd like to subscribe , please go to our website and click on” subscribe” , I promise I won't fill up your inbox.  And if you have a difficult design situation that I may be able to help with , please email me.   I'm sure you aren’t the only one!  I will do my best to create a blog post addressing your design problem. 

See you around friends, and again, thanks for joining me here on the blog!




Lavender lane Interiors of California

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