Stuck In A Decorating Rut?
Rebecca Orlov
Jan 14, 2009

Designing your own space can feel super overwhelming. Although there are small space solutions and great design tips out there, it's easy to simply give up on what feels like a huge task. We have a friend that apologizes and explains the state of her home and what she "wants" to do with it - year after year - with no hint of change in sight. We have a feeling that our friend has decorating paralysis. With the new year and fresh start, check out these tips to help overcome being stuck in a rut.

If you are feeling this way in your own space and find yourself telling guests month after month "Oh that chair is just a placeholder. I am getting a better chair one day...", author Martha Beck's tips can be a first small step in working through your design dilemma.

Fear-buster #1: Play make-believe
-Try to remove the pressure of perfection and set about creating the look you love.

Fear-buster #2: Make mammoth mini-moves
-The most common source of anxiety is thinking of big jobs as monolithic events. Instead, try to change your perspective by looking at a big project (say tackling the makeover of a room) as a step-by-step process. Even make a schedule so it feels more manageable. This can help you inch out of the rut.

Fear-buster #3: Apprentice yourself to a master.
-Nothing is scarier than the unknown, and most amateur decorators don't know exactly how to go about creating the changes they want. What you can do is benefit from an experts. For example, the author enjoys Christopher Lowell's Seven-Layer system, and suggests using these steps to ease your fear of tackling a room makeover:
1. Start by painting the walls and ceiling.
2. Install wall-to-wall flooring.
3. Buy upholstered furniture in solid, safe colors.
4. Add accent rugs and pillows.
5. Add non-upholstered workhorse furniture (side tables, etc.).
6. Accessories a-go-go! Photos, books, lava lamps, whatever!
7. Use plants and lighting to create depth and lushness.

Fear-buster #4: Minimize spending risks
-The cost of taking on a room makeover is definitely overwhelming and this fear isn't unrealistic. That being said, Martha suggests using this quick, eight-word solution: If it's expensive, it's got to be neutral. While a trained designer may decide to buy that shocking fuchsia credenza, beginners can greatly reduce their financial risk—and its paralyzing effects—by choosing expensive design elements, like big furniture and flooring, in classic designs and go-with-everything colors.

For more information on tackling decorating paralysis, click here to read Martha Beck's full article.

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