overcoming decorating paralysis :: embracing the inevitable change
Wednesday, April 4, 2012 by {darlene}

In our last post of the series, we were discussing the three steps we need to take in order to identify what we truly love.

1. We need to start by accepting that our opinions can and will change.

2. We need to put in the work to narrow down what we love, and discover we CAN have a few definite things that define our style, and

3. We need to have confidence. If we have confidence in the things we truly love, we can even begin to move toward having a “signature look.”

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Today, we will be addressing the first step: accepting that our opinions can and will change.

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Now, before I go on, I wanted to mention something that is not a new concept to those who have read FHD for a while. But for review, and especially for those of you who are new readers, I want to share my main mantra about “using what you LOVE in your home:”

Do not fill your home with things you like. Fill your home with things you LOVE. { <- tweet this }

In order to accomplish this, however, you really do need to be able to identify what you love. And that is coming… the practical tips on HOW to actually identify what you love… that will be in the next post of this series, promise.

But first, lets chat about accepting a reality that can be a huge obstacle to moving forward with adding things that you LOVE to your home:

Change Happens

Yes. It does. And here is the reality as it pertains to our home decorating:

1. Some of us overdose on change.

2. Some of us hide from it.

3. Some of us are defeated by it.

Both of these extremes can cause problems when it comes to having a home filled with a beauty that reflects our very hearts.


Which one of these change-personalities do you resonate with? Which way does your pendulum swing?


1. You Overdose on Change:

In your home, you are always shaking things up. You like so many things. You are always trying something new. Revamping the mantle… the tablescape… the place settings…. the bedding. Your home is always “under construction.”

Here are some decorating challenges Change-Overdosers face:

  • Never fully evolving into your own “true style,”
  • the inability to rest and enjoy lasting beauty.
  • You fritter away your time and resources on things that “change it up,” and don’t tend to take the time to wait for what you truly love.
  • Your signature style is never realized; it becomes paralyzed

Maybe you have decided that your home will never be what you dream it could be, so you settle with every decision.


2. You Hide from Change:

In your home, you allow the fear of inevitable change to freeze you in your tracks. What if I don’t like it in a year? What if I waste my money? What if I change my mind? What if the colors don’t look right together?

Here are some decorating challenges Change-Fearers face:

  • You have nothing on your walls
  • You have bare spots all around your home
  • You have 4 million paint swatches, just waiting for a decision
  • Your signature style is never realized; it becomes paralyzed

The upside is that you don’t waste, but in the not-wasting, you sit frozen… never realizing your dream for a beautiful home.


3. You are Defeated by Change:

Your mantra is “why bother?” Thoughts like, “It will just get ruined,” or “It will just go out of style,” rule your decorating mind.

Here are some decorating challenges the Change-Deafeated face:

  • Your home is not decorated… at all.
  • You make every purchasing decision based on whether or not the kids or dogs will destroy it
  • Things sit undone for years, waiting for the kids to grow up or the dogs to stop shedding
  • Your signature style is never realized; it becomes paralyzed

You might not realize it, but this is a form of perfectionism. It’s an all or nothing approach to decorating… and you are frozen because you have accepted the “nothing” side of all or nothing.

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I have a few thoughts for us, and for our Change Issues. The “what-to-do-about-it” part

For the Change-Overdosers:

It is fun, and creative, and exciting to keep changing things up. But watch out for the pitfalls of spending all of your time and money on “little things,” and never meeting some of your larger home goals. Also, you might need to take some time to really think about what you LOVE, and ask yourself if you have just been settling for “like.”

For the Change-Fearers:

It is good to wait on things until you find what you love… but that is just the thing. You need to put in the time to figure out what you love… and then TRUST! Trust that if you make a purchase of something you LOVE, It WILL work out. Having trust in what you love will help you overcome this paralysis.

For the Change-Deafeated:

It is so wise to accept reality, and not think that your home will be a dream. But to give up? Throw in the towel? Don’t you remember that you used to LOVE certain things? You used to find joy in the Created! You used to have an identity of your own! Invest in beauty and yourself {warning: I am NOT talking about “you deserve it,” or “it is all about you.” Those are lies that will make you unhappy! I AM talking about loving yourself enough to remember that you used to have LOVES of your own}.

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But I know I am not the only one with thoughts on this subject!

I would LOVE to hear what you think!

  • What kind of Change-Personality to you have?
  •  What is your biggest obstacle?
  •  What advice do you have for our Change Issues?
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To read the rest of the series, Click Here!

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Labeled: overcome decorating paralysis


  • Hi Darlene,
    I’m loving this series. I don’t think I overdose on change but that’s the description that most fits I think. What resonated with me is when you said “Maybe you have decided that your home will never be what you dream it could be, so you settle with every decision..” That is exactly how I feel and I hate it and it’s partly because I feel like if i wait for what I truly love it’ll never happen
    Food for thought…Thanks!

  • Good morning! Good to know I’m a happy medium in some area of life :) I didn’t really identify with any of those. I love the things I choose and end up loving them for a LONG time – 5- 7 years before I start wanting to change. And then it probably doesn’t really happen for another couple years! Not that I don’t mix it up a little bit in there with a new picture or a new pillow or rearranging the furniture every year or so, but the things that can add up the dollars, like rugs, or paint or the sofa color or the bedding I love for a long time. Maybe I’ve already done #2 without thinking about it too much? With 6 kids, I’m just too busy to do things like re-do my mantle for every season or even get out the seasonal decorations most of the time(besides Christmas).

  • Whoa, this is hard. I seem to share some traits with all three categories. The most prominant is the change-fearer — learning to trust what I love and invest the time to discover what I love. That’s what I’ve been working on for the last three years and I’m finding that if I buy what I love (and be more willing to part with what I don’t) that our home seems to smile. I’m not kidding! When I find what I love, however, I don’t always acquire it because of cost mainly. So I will do the research to find a better price or a knock-off that I can revamp and come close to the look I love. But, sometimes, I just gotta go for it. In that research process I’m finding that what I thought I loved, I only like so not responding immediately is a good thing and allows my emotions to steady and I can more clearly listen to my heart.

  • I am a mixture of an overdosed and defeated personality. I love to change things up and re-arrange but I also don’t decorate for the realities of life. My biggest challenge I feel is that I am an over analyzer and perfectionist. I never buy anything or attempt to decorate because it has to be just right. And I really don’t know what I LOVE so I am really looking forward to your next post. I do know that I love beauty and reflecting His glory in and through my home. Thank you for this series!

  • Hi Darlene, this series is great. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I’m a mix when it comes to my own house. Being in this business for a long time, I can do someone else’s house without a problem (the vision), but I am my own worst client. I know so many designers who are the same way. Can’t help it! Looking forward to more of what you have to say. Have a great day!

  • I am really enjoying your “Decorating Paralysis” series. I probably suffer the most from “overdose of change” the most. I love to change things up to get a different look but with the same stuff. Rearranging!!
    You have really hit on some great points. I think you are secretly a “decorators shrink”!!
    Thanks for sharing with us all your great advise!

  • Great advice – I’m so deep into being a “change overdoser” that I wonder if there’s any hope for me! :) Love your tips, and this whole series!

  • Defeated. Right here. I never thought about it being perfectionism, but it really is. I can’t *stand* the thought of it not being perfect, especially since my husband doesn’t really want to spend a dime but he’s willing to let me if it makes me happy. That puts a certain pressure on to succeed, even though he doesn’t mean it that way. He just wants me to do what I want. I do too, but if I have an idea and it doesn’t work out, I feel like a failure.

  • What do you say for the person who THINKS they have it figured out, but everyone else tells her she will regret it later? That would be ME! :) I LOVE light and airy, love galvanized objects, anything to do with the sea, but my home is in an area of farmland, where EVERYONE decorates in country or primitive. Even with that, I was one of the in-betweeners. I didn’t like extreme primitive, but sure didn’t want complete country either. It’s pretty and all, but I know I am changing more toward whites, grays, and farmhouse feeling. My kitchen is BEAUTIFUL with painted barn red cupboards, black swirled countertops, with a darker sage green on the walls. When I mentioned painting my cupboards a white color, my family nearly FLIPPED! I am in a spot of what if I don’t really like it in my house, or how hard will it be to keep clean. I look at all the beautiful pics on Pinterest and can really see myself in one of those beautiful white kitchens. My favorite is the kitchen on For the Love of a House. My kitchen layout is nearly identical to that one. I am lost! :S

  • On “use what you love, not what you merely like”: this weekend my elderly father in law used our brass towel rack to pull himself from the tub and broke it. My dear husband said, “since you’ve always hated the brass, why don’t we replace it instead of fix it? And since not-brass would look crummy with the other brass in there, do you want to replace all the brass stuff?” Music to my ears, so off we went…(hours later)…I had new towel racks and other fixtures IN MY CART when I realized “I don’t love any of this stuff. It’s *better* but I don’t love it.” So I put it all back and came home empty handed.

    There was a time when this would have just symbolized my usual Perfectionist Decorating Defeat, but now that same “come home empty handed” action represents something totally different. This time it represents a commitment to doing the work to find & use what we genuinely love.

    The day will come when I find the stuff I really want, but for now I saved myself a bunch of regret.

    Proud of me?

  • […] Have you embraced the reality that change is inevitable? […]

  • I think I’m kind of a combo! I buy things that I think I love, and get them and put them in closet because I hate them! I have some things up, but I don’t like any of it, it does’t mesh together, I’m scared to buy anything new because it might not work together or I’m afraid I will hate it when I get home! I have so many unfinished projects and I don’t buy the bedding I love because I’m afraid the kids will ruin it. I feel like I don’t deserve to have nice things. I want them, but I’m afraid my husband will hate it (he has a completely different style than i do, and he’s not afraid to let me know when he doesn’t like something.) I know what I like, but I’m afraid to spend money on it. And I feel like everything I try to make ends up as a pinterest fail.

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