Congratulations! We’re a month into the new year and you are still on fire about your decorating resolutions. Your new shelter magazine subscriptions have started rolling in, you’re pinning like crazy, and you can’t get enough of the new houzz app you downloaded last night. During a recent bout of insomnia you came across a design quiz that said you were QUINTESSENTIALLY MODERN…whatever that means…and you are repeating to anyone who will listen.

They’ve been here before with you. Remember last year when you decided to paint the dining room? The paint samples you smeared on the wall are still there. I couldn’t help but to stare at them over your head during Thanksgiving Dinner. So what make THIS year different than the last?

Making resolutions is easy. Deciding on the steps to see them through are the biggest hurdles until now. In an effort to help you keep the pace while on your quest for a more beautiful home, here are 8 suggestions that will help you finally join the winner’s circle.

1. Set Realistic Goals

Your decorating goals should be SMART; specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely. For example, if one of your goals is to create a warm, inviting family-friendly environment then take a moment and really think about what that looks like? In your own words write down the things you would need to do to accomplish this task.

Be specific: I want to repaint my bedroom in a warmer shade of gray. Currently the room feels cold.

Be measurable: How many gallons of paint do I need to cover this room? How much will it cost me?

Be achievable: Painting the room is something I can do now and fits into our family’s budget.

Be relevant: Painting this room directly impacts my mood and my need for a cozy space.

Be timely: I will paint / have the room painted by next weekend (next month, etc.) when the kids are at Grandma’s.

2. Work On One Room at A Time

You gain decorating confidence with each project you complete. If you haven’t completed one, then let this be the first. With each project there opportunities to learn from your successes and your failures. The old adage rings true, practice does make perfect.

3. Start With A Plan

Make a list of what you need regarding furnishings, accessories, etc. Gather inspiration images. Establish a budget. Research ways you can save money or use some of what you have already. Keep everything in one place, be it a folder, notebook, binder, whatever. Review your plan weekly and make adjustments as needed.

4. Journal Your Process

Keep track of time during your decorating projects and record your failures /victories. Decide what you like and don’t like about the decorating process. You may decide in the future to outsource undesirable tasks.

5. Learn From Your Mistakes

It is a guarantee that if you don’t learn from your mistakes you will make them again and again. The bigger the mistake often times correlates with bigger cost. Sheesh. Making too many mistakes is a great way to sabotage your plans for the year. Minimize mistakes by doing your homework. Research specific areas in which you are weak. If you haven’t a clue, get professional help, STAT.

6. Enjoy the Process

You may ask, “How can I enjoy something with so many hard and fast rules? What if I hate it when I’m done.” One of the easiest answers to this question is to only buy what you love. It is great to read blogs, peruse portfolios and pinterest boards for ideas. It’s okay to even gather suggestions from friends. However, at the end of the day, you are the one who lives within those four walls. It’s worth repeating, live with what you absolutely love…not what someone else tells you THEY love. Your home should be an authentic reflection of you.

Take Your Time. Decoration is not a race to the finish line. Truth is your work is never done. You will forever be tweaking a room based on life changes, a new purchase, or you may get a wild hair to do something over the top. And that’s ok.

7. Don’t Be Discouraged By Setbacks

This point also goes back to #5 about learning from your mistakes. When I learn from both my successes and failures I’m eager to try the same task again, to employ new ideas, and to achieve better results. You, too, should look forward to a second chance.

8. Ask For Help

There’s no shame in asking someone to help you decorate your home. Just be sure to choose someone who will improve on your vision. Your ideal designer should be someone who seeks to learn more about you, the inhabitants in your home, and your design preferences. They should then use that knowledge to craft a space that feels uniquely you not a clone of another project in their portfolio. Allow me to help you embrace your individuality and let it reflect in your home’s decor (shameless plug).

Image credit: Gary Riggs Home, Amanda Nisbet, Jeffers Design Group, Chris Holt Design, Jamie Drake / Architectural Digest

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  1. Simone Says:

    Very inspiring. I’ve been actually practicing this, though I’m not a pro, I think all people who enjoy decorating, follow these rules are something similar. I love your blog. On number 8, I’ve finally decided I need help, my biggest problem is selecting the right panels, my windows are 10-12 feet long, it will cost me a fortune to buy panels and at such a high cost, I have to get it right on the first try, but I have no idea where to start.


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