Overcoming Your Design Paralysis

Are you thinking of redecorating a room in your home, but you feel like you are, what I’m calling, design paralyzed? The feeling of being overwhelmed when it comes to making design choices. You know you want to make some changes or maybe even bring your room into this decade, but you just don’t know where to begin. You may even second guess your decisions. Let’s face it, the process can be quite intimidating.

Whenever I decide to makeover a room in our home, I like to start with an inspiration piece. That piece could be any number of things. It might be the colors on a pillow or rug or a picture that catches my eye. It could also be wallpaper, bedding, or even curtains that give me inspiration. Having an inspiration piece gives you direction and helps you to decide on the rooms colors, as well as furniture and decor. Once I have that piece, I use it as a springboard for the rest of the design.

Take for instance my living room. My inspiration came from the wallpaper I have in there. As soon as I saw it in the store, I knew I had to have it. I loved the pattern and the colors of it. I didn’t want to put the paper on all of the walls though; I decided to paper just the two end walls.

I had paint color-matched to the wallpaper for the remaining walls. (I just brought a piece of the paper with me to the home improvement store and they color-matched it.) The color gave me the feeling of the sea, so I wanted to keep the room feeling light and airy. The red brick fireplace and mantel received white paint as well as the stained wood trim. By painting the brick and trim white, it helped contribute to the light and airy feel I was looking for in the space.

Repeating elements in a room help to give those elements a purpose. For example, I have a rattan chair and a pair of rattan lamps in our living room. If I only had one rattan lamp and no other rattan pieces, it might feel a little out of place. I placed the pieces on opposite sides of the room. By spreading them around the space, the chair and lamps feel like they belong and give the room a balanced feel. If I had placed the lamps next to the chair, the room would have felt unbalanced and heavy on that side of the room. I used the same method with other items in my living room as well, such as a ginger jar, a candle holder and a decorative jar that are all made of mercury glass. These are multiple pieces made of the same material that have been distributed throughout the room providing symmetry.

Sometimes, people have the idea that they cannot mix metals in a room. I say “You most certainly can.” If you do, you want to make sure that each of the metals are repeated throughout the area.

In my kitchen, I’ve done just that. I wanted an oil rubbed bronze faucet. I just loved the warm color of the metal, but I also loved the look of chrome cabinet hardware. So I decided to choose oil rubbed bronze decor pieces to match the finish of my faucet. These pieces include shelf brackets, a curtain rod, and a paper towel holder, along with a few other items.

To tie the chrome hardware into the kitchen design, I found some hanging pendants that I loved and they happened to be chrome. The chrome finish of the lights along with our stainless steel appliances, gives the room a cohesiveness and allows my cabinet hardware to make sense.

Mixing of metals in a space allows your room to have a more personalized look.

Another thing to keep in mind when decorating is your wall color and how it will look next to the wall color of an adjacent room. One option is to paint all of your walls the same color. Another option is to choose a lighter or darker shade of the existing color of your adjacent room. However, if you are like me, and you love color, that might not be the right choice for you.

When I’m looking to choose a paint color, I always bring home paint swatches from the home improvement store. I never decide on a paint color right there on the spot. The lighting and surroundings are different than that of my own home. If you know that you want gray walls for instance, find at least 5-10 different shades of gray that appeal to you. Maybe you are unsure of the color, but you have that inspirational piece, such as a pillow. Take that piece, if possible, or a picture of it with you to the home improvement store. This can help you find a color by matching it to one in the piece or to find a complimentary color that would work as well. Whichever the case may be, once you’ve decided on your color, you will want to bring those paint swatches home and tape them to your walls. Sometimes you can narrow them down as soon as you look at them in the room they are intended for. Once you’ve weeded out the ones you know won’t work, leave the others up on your walls for at least a few days. I tend to leave them for about a week. You want to see the different color shades in the day as well as at night, with the lights on and off. You also need to move the swatches around the room; paint will look different on each wall. If the color is different from that of an adjacent wall, you want to see how it will look next to that color as well as how it’ll look next to your existing trim, if it is going to remain unchanged. It might clash or evoke a feeling different than what you are trying to achieve. Once you’ve finally found a paint color that you are happy with, you can now make your purchase. Time and money are two precious commodities; ones that shouldn’t be wasted on having to repaint the room because of a wrong color choice.

For my dining room, I knew I wanted deep purple walls I had a vision of how I wanted the room to look with a certain shade in mind. It had to be dark, with red undertones. I must’ve brought home at least 50 different shades of purple over the course of a month, before I finally found what I was looking for. I would think that they were the perfect shade in the store and then I’d get the swatches home and it just wasn’t the right look for my dining room. I’m so glad that I persisted until I found the perfect color. It was exactly what I had envisioned.

My dining room, currently decorated for fall.

When it comes to decor, I spend more of my budget on the items that I don’t want to or cannot replace often. These items tend to be the big furniture pieces. I try to find the best prices that I possibly can by looking at the sale and clearance areas first and checking out multiple furniture sources. However, I still purchase the best quality pieces that my budget will allow.

Some furniture stores sell furniture packages, which might include the sofa, loveseat, and chair, along with the coffee table and end tables. I recommend resisting the urge to purchase a whole “set” of furniture. I personally feel like the room should reflect you and not a furniture store display. Finding even just a chair in a different shape and fabric from your sofa and love seat, can make the space feel like your own and give it the appearance of being customized to you. The striped chair and sofa in our living room both have a different style and fabric. They work together in the space because they have a unifying color; the legs of the chair also match the legs of our ottoman.

Our striped chair and leather sofa work because of the same common color.
Changing the way a piece looks can save you money.

For the smaller decor pieces, I check for clearances and sales. For instance, I found this picture on clearance for $2.49. The plastic frame had scratches in the corner, I simply sanded out the scratches and painted it with chalk paint to match my clients space. I also shop various discount stores as well as online. If I find items that I’m not sure I will like in the space, I always check to see if they can be returned. Sometimes it’s hard to visualize what it might look like in the space and you don’t want to get stuck with a piece that you cannot use.

Decorating is really all about personal preference. I believe that everyone should have a home that reflects their personality and lifestyle, regardless of the latest trends.


it’s your money, it’s your space, and it’s your happiness.


This is a home decor blog with the intent on sharing my information and knowledge of decor and crafts all while trying to stay budget friendly. I am not affiliated with or receive any compensation from any of the above mentioned companies or products used or linked in this post. This blog post contains my opinions and doesn’t reflect the opinions of any of the above mentioned companies or products used or links mentioned in this post. I am not a professional and this blog post is provided for informational purposes only.


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