Important Things to Know About Yourself Before You Buy, DIY or Decorate Anything

published Oct 31, 2015
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(Image credit: Emily Johnston)

No matter whether you’re starting with a blank slate or wanting to add something new to your existing space, if you’re thinking about buying, DIYing or doing some decorating, look inward to pinpoint these five things about yourself — it’ll not only give you decorating direction, it’ll save you from future home headaches.

1. How you like to use your home

How do you actually use your home? Like, use use it? Not how you think the various rooms should be used based on the traditional functions that are housed in rooms named “bedroom” and “dining room.” But what kind of things do you do in your space? You should buy or DIY something new based on a function you do already in your space or fix a deficiency in how you use your space — not add something to your home because of how you wish or think you want to use your space. This will save you from making purchases or spending energy on objects you end up never using.

2. What you’ve disliked about the homes you lived in in the past

Are you in touch with the things about past homes you REALLY didn’t like? Like have you ever sat down and listed them? Don’t focus on those architectural or environmental things that you didn’t take with you and won’t find in your current home. Think about things you did, you bought, decorated or added to the space. Ideas you tried. Habits you let get the best of you. Why take the time to list it out? Memories can be faulty, and you may have conveniently forgotten unpleasant ones. By doing an inventory of what hasn’t worked in the past, you can avoid repeating past failures going forward.

3. How you feel about cleaning

This is important. If you hate cleaning, like really really hate cleaning, you might consider that fact when you go out shopping or if you make something for your home that is made from materials that need a lot of intense or careful cleaning. Being in tune with this kind of knowledge can help steer you away from any decor ideas that might make future cleaning difficult — like arranging a lot of elements you have to move out of the way to get a good deep clean.

4. What your bad habits are

Constantly bump your head on the cabinet doors you can’t seem to close in your kitchen? Maybe consider open shelves instead. Can’t manage to put the dishes back up stacked nicely? Maybe not consider open shelves. Yes, there are ways in which you can work on your bad home habits to improve your life, but there’s merit in really knowing the kind of person you are, too.

5. What has held you back from a dream home in the past

Think about things you’ve done that have held you back from decorating your living room the way you really wanted to. Again, not architectural or environmental limitations that you couldn’t do anything about. Look for things you did that held you back.

Like deciding something “wasn’t your style” and then not buying it (even though you really loved it). Not budgeting for what you really needed and blowing your money on stuff you ended up discarding. Doing things you thought you needed based off what other people think. Again, it’s good to take inventory of these things so you don’t let history repeat itself in the future.