Design Dilemma: Overcoming Decorating Paralysis
Maybe you’ve spent years looking for the perfect couch. But somehow, every couch seems to have a gigantic flaw. Or maybe you’ve spent decades reconsidering drapes for your den. But do you want drapes, or blinds or shoji screens?
Decorating paralysisÂ can hit no matter how large or small your decorating project. You’re a victim if you’re still waiting to unpack boxes and arrange furniture in a home you moved into five years ago. You’re a victim if you find yourself explaining year after year what you plan to hang on your empty walls.Â How can you overcome it?
1.) Get over your fear. Behind all decorating paralysis is the fear of making a mistake. You want to buy a leather couch because it’s durable, but you’re afraid that it will feel uncomfortable — sticky and hot in the summer and cold in the winter. So you don’t buy a couch at all. After all, a fabric couch could never stand up to the kids. What are you afraid of? Making a choice you’ll regret. How do you get over that fear? Realize that whatever choice you make will involve trade-offs. True, a leather couch may not be as soft as a fabric couch, but isn’t that preferable to the destruction of the couch within a week of its arrival in your home? And if leather isn’t comfortable but functional, can you ameliorate this problem with fabric throws, pillows and cushions? Maybe so. Finally, if you buyÂ that leather couch and later regret it, you can always put it up for sale on Craig’s List.
2.) Develop an overall plan. A lot of decorating paralysis comes about because people don’t know what they want. So buyÂ decorating magazines and create a file of pictures of rooms that appeal to you. Over time, you’ll see a theme develop. Maybe you like clean lines and modern interiors. Maybe you like informal, “shabby chic” rooms. Or perhaps you prefer more traditional styles. If you notice a consistent theme, you’ve hit uponÂ YOURÂ look.
3.) Break a big job into smaller jobs. You want to totally redecorate your living room. And yet, it seems like a mammoth project. You can help move your project along by tackling things step by step. First,Â spend one weekend focusedÂ onÂ decluttering your space and getting rid of things you no longer want or use. Next weekend, focus on repainting.Â Some other weekend, Â focus on finding and buying a bookshelf orÂ organizational system. If you’ve done step number two, you’ll already know the overall look you’re going for and it will be easier to tackle individual projects, one step at a time without feeling overwhelmed.
4.) Don’t shun hired help. Sometimes, in order to get off the fence about a decorating project, we need input from a professional. Professionals have the expertise and resources to cut through our fears and help us get to the core of what we want. And you don’t have to hire an interior decorator to redo your whole home or room. Plenty of designers will work with you on a small project — like helping you find the right couch for your home.
5.) Buy expensive items that are flexible. It can be pretty scary to lay out a lot of cash on a red couch. What happens if you tire of red in year or two? Our solution: look for options that allow you to indulge your decorating desires but in a flexible way. In this case, look for couches that come in slipcovers that can be changed out whenever you feel the urge.
6.) It’s only furniture. Finally, realize that there is no decorating choice that is irreversible. If you choose the wrong paint color, repaint. If you choose the wrong chair or couch, send it back or re-sell it on Craig’s List. There is no such thing as perfection and decorating is a continually evolving PROCESS that’s never truly finished. After all, it can’t be. You change. Styles change. That’s part of the fun, so embrace it.