overcoming decorating paralysis :: get to work! { style bootcamp }
Tuesday, May 1, 2012 by {darlene}

Style Bootcamp

We have been 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. {check out this post}

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.”

* * * * * * * * * *

Well, today, we will deal with step number two: We need to put in the work to narrow down what we love! And, yes, believe it or not, you CAN find some definite things that define your style.

Now. Are you ready for the bad news?

Defining what you LOVE takes time and energy!

the good news?

It is FUN work, and it is worth the effort! And it will pay off {in hard cold cash, actually, since you might actually stop buying things you don’t love}.

Well, it is only fun if you love browsing through decorating blogs and magazines and Pinterest {be gentle with your honesty here, folks. hee hee}. It is only fun if you love thinking about what really makes you tick and what really inspires you!

So, if you were looking for a quick pep talk, and a 30 second paragraph or quiz on finding your own personal style, you have indeed come to the wrong place. This one is gonna take a little bit of {FUN} time.


{the easy part} Get yourself a gorgeous blank notebook that makes you smile and dream. {I like this journal which is refillable, and this one for its simplicity.}

And now…

PERSONAL STYLE BOOTCAMP !!! Light a candle, find a peaceful corner, and a warm cup of delight, and get to work!

Below is a list of steps that will help you become truly confident in what you love. Each step contains a post that will HELP YOU GET THERE! Don’t skip these posts! They are the very relevant posts that will truly help your personal-style-confusion. I have written SPECIFICALLY to help my clients and readers to identify their own personal style. The work is fun. The day-dreaming is top notch. The question is:

Are you willing to do the work that it takes to hone in on what you truly love??

style bootcamp

Step one

1. Start by making a list of your own personal style words. Click here on Style Words for the How-To directions .

Step Two

2. Next, identify your own “don’t buy” word or words. Click here on Don’t Buy Words for the How-to directions.

Step Three

3. Next, collect lots and lots of photos that you LOVE, and get to work at dissecting what it is you LOVE about them. Read this post on Photo Inspiration. Then hop on Pinterest and/or start clipping magazines. This is where the magic happens!

Step Four

4. Finally, identify your favorite-est colors. This post on picking your Favorite Colors will help.

* * * * * * * * *

Are you going to do the work to find out what you love??? Leave me a comment below.

I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to know how it goes.



* * * * * * * *

I invite you to Follow Fieldstone Hill on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook! Can’t wait to see you there.

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Labeled: defining your style, overcome decorating paralysis


  • I love this series! It’s so nice having practical tips to guide me through the VERY REAL affliction of design paralysis. I can get overwhelmed, and some articles that try to be helpful tend to be a bit vague. “Decorate with what you love!” HOW?? Actually helping me learn how to identify what I love(rather than just what’s a current trend that will work in my home) is valuable…as you point out, it’ll actually save money in the long run(if not just on therapy!!). Thanks for the great posts.

    • colleen! those were the kindest words! Thank you SO much for sharing your thoughts. You made my morning, girl!
      I am so, so, so very glad that these tips will help you identify what you love. Let me know how your Personal Style Bootcamp goes!!

  • Girlfriend, I hope you’re making this into a real live book!!

  • Hi Darlene. These things are great pointers for people who don’t think they have a style…or who are afraid to decorate. I have loved to decorate since I was a little girl. I would always ask my mom if we could change the furniture around! Yes…I have been doing it ever since then.

    I always looked for decorative items at garage sales when I was a newlywed…because I didn’t have any money in the budget to decorate with. And that continued over the years even when I had more money.

    I have gone through stages, and tossed one style for another. But for some reason…I never have had a problem knowing what I like and or hearing it call my name! (:>)

    I may not be the best decorator or stylist…but I do love pretty things and have always loved making a house a home!

    Good series.

    Love, Linda

  • oh man! I’m going to have to bookmark this and get ME time away from hubby and baby ;)

  • Very helpful prompts. Just what I needed–shopping will be easier, less impulsive, more intentional, once I identify my style words, color favorites, and goals for our home. less overwhelming for sure. After doing this exercise, I returned to my Pinterest board and started deleting what is all over the map and doesn’t fit what I really love. And I started adding what does fit my style words. A process for sure, learning as I go . . . .

  • This is so excellent Darlene!! I’m fairly certain about my style by what I really struggle with is Step #3 so I will definitely be looking forward to that one. :-) I’m fighting the insecurity that arises from looking at what everyone else is doing and feeling like my style just isn’t “in” right now. Some of the new colors look great in other people’s homes but would absolutely not work in mine. And the architecture of my house doesn’t lend to some of the more “cottage” looks that are so prevalent, you know? Anyway, I’m just so enjoying this series and it is helping me to remember to go with what I love and what gives me pleasure. And also to not have it consume my thoughts when I know it isn’t pleasing to the Lord to have my mind filled with how I can “fit in” in blogland vs. how I can be loving and serving Him and his people! :-)
    Thanks again for this series friend,
    P.S. Sorry for the crazy long comment. Sheesh! ;-)

  • Darlene,
    Thank you so much for doing this series! You have no idea how much you have helped me define my style since I began reading your blog almost a year ago, after I saw the lovely “lake room” you helped Edie put together. Her blog talked about the “personal style words” you had her list and since then I have been refining my own list. It helped me accept the fact that although I love so many of the trends I see in blogs and magazines, two of my words are “classic” and “timeless” and that ultimately I will be so much happier not trying to keep up with the trends! Now, I just need to overcome my paralysis and just start doing it. So I look forward to continuing in your design boot camp and slowly put together a home I love.

  • This is so helpful to me! I’m only on step one but I’ve read the posts it refers to and started my list of words. I love step by step directions for things because it’s like that old joke about how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

  • […] How to Overcome Decorating Paralysis – Get to work! […]

  • […] to begin, start here with her posts on how to Overcome Decorating Paralysis. I also love her  Personal style boot-camp . You will be inspired by her pin boards and want to follow along as she finds all the cool […]

  • I love this series! I love psychology and design so right up my alley. The posts remind me of sermons/ retreats.

  • Visiting from the allume link up. So glad I cam across your site. I would love to take the time to go through this process. So much of my “decorating” style has depended on other people…..what they have given me (I would use it out of guilt…or because I didn’t have anything else). Also, just my own fears of not creating something that others will like when they walk into my home. It leads to never really taking ownership of my domain. I would love to create a home that I love, not worrying about what others think. :)

  • Love this!! I have a difficult time deciphering my style, and this has been a blast so far! :) Thanks!

  • Living in my new home for 4 years. The living and dining room are still sitting empty no furniture, no pictures, because I dont know what I want. I can tell you a million things I don’t like, and if I do like something it is way too much for my budget.
    Cannot coordinate the two rooms, cannot discern what would compliment one another since rooms are open to each other. Can’t get started because of FEAR of making a costly mistake or purchasing something that is out of style the next year. Hope this series will help me… Have gathered all my pictures… now trying to find out what they mean. Wish me luck:) (I’m desperate, disappointed in myself and scared)

  • This process works beautifully for your wardrobe as well. I am a retired decorator and I have used it personally to wade thru trends/fads and still remain relevant and fresh in both my home and my clothing!
    thanks for sharing!

  • […] the overwhelming indecision I was feeling about decorating and furnishing our new home!  Her “Personal Style Bootcamp” advice of making a list of personal style words and a companion list of “don’t buy” words […]

  • […] I don’t plan well and I have never had a good idea of what my style is. However, I found this blog post via Pinterest and I have now defined my “style” words and my “don’t […]

  • I really want to thank you for your practical advice that makes decorating actually seem DOABLE and EXCITING again. I’m already lovng this series and I’ve just started reading through it. You are doing wonderful things here, so truly, thank you!!!

  • I just found this post via Pinterest and I have to say it is very inspiring. I have always had trouble defining my style and knowing what to use in my home. I can’t wait to get started on this! I will be updating my kitchen soon and I think your boot camp is going to be really helpful.

  • […] now), but the first post I stumbled onto is what I’m going to blog about today. She calls it “Personal Style Boot-Camp” and it’s a (super fun) way to “put in the work” to figure out what your […]

  • […] is why Darlene’s suggestion to write down your Style and Don’t Buy words really resonated with me. I was so excited to do […]

  • […] much as I love words, this part of the boot camp might be my favorite. Because Pinterest, duh. And colors! I LOVE color! As you’ll soon […]

  • […] for the fourth and final step of Darlene’s boot camp: “4. Finally, identify your favorite-est colors. This post on picking your Favorite […]

  • I can’t wait to sit down this weekend and work through this while the hubby watches the baby! Thank you for helping us work through the process of finding what we love instead of telling us to just “decorate with what makes you happy.”
    I am planning on giving this post a shout out on my blog and linking back to here.

  • This is exactly what I’ve been looking for!!! Thank you!!!!

  • I know this series was from last year, but I return to it at times to remind me to hone in on what I really love. I was able to take some steps in getting a bit more of what I love into my home earlier this year. Still working on narrowing down what I really want, need and love in a kitchen remodel and family room and master bedroom tweaking next year. Thank goodness I have some time. Just praying I don’t change my mind a gazillion times between now and then. It really does help to look at all the photos I have captured over the years on my computer and now Houzz and Pinterest. I think the kitchen and dining room won’t be as much of a challenge to me as choosing fabrics for the dining, family and master bedroom. I may need to hire you to help me with fabric selections since I have to look through hundreds and still have trouble envisioning unless I have huge swatches to try. I also need help determining if the bed I love (the mirrored upholstered one that Edie has) would be too much with the beautiful mirrors that I have behind our bedside lamps.

  • This is so amazing! I love this series is the best design help I have ever gotten! You don’t say how you should do everything (what colors, what yes words, what no words…) which is a problem I have run into be for. You and your blog rock!

  • Sharing your knowledge is not only the only information that has managed to flip my switch but it is such a Beautiful, Unselfish act of kindness. For people like myself, who don’t have the slightest idea how to decorate a room (or a 5000 sq ft gorgeous home that we just built), this is the best thing I’ve run into all year. I am so thankful that I can finally (in the house for over a year) start to overcome my ” decorating paralysis” and get to work!! This is a tremendous help. Again, Thank you!!

  • Years ago I was conflicted about giving in to my passion for design and doing it professionally. It was then that I found Exodus 35. It is in this chapter that I found how important beauty was to God. Since then I have become convinced that order and beauty reflect the character of God. I have experienced God in real ways as I search for the perfect design for a client. These days my “clients” are people that I believe God brings into my life that could use beauty and order in their lives and homes. I also serve as the decorator for my church’s women’s ministry. I have to live and work with the mantra “People are more important than pretty” and “The process is more important than the project”.

  • Sherrie Hagenhoff

    Love how helpful this is. Pinterest and blogs help so much! I’ve narrowed my Pinterest boards to “my style”. Your posts have helped. Where I get hung up is furniture placement, shelf arranging, what to set where, shelves, walls, corners- oh my!

    • Don’t let that stop you! You can do it! The GREAT news about furniture placement and what to set where is: you can change it! Grab a few friends, feed them well, and have a furniture rearranging party. Then live with it for a bit…. and throw another one when you need to!

  • fresh, calm, open, light, embracing, living/livable, natural, unpretentious

    not dark, sophisticated, sleek, unnatural

    turquoise/teal/aqua; chocolate, khaki, gold, antique white; fuchsia, soft pink, CORAL; anything green; blues must be tinged with green like marine blue or aqua. (I love to wear navy, but haven’t been bold with any blues I like such as indigo or royal blue, except Vera Bradley’s Indigo Pop comforts my teen daughter’s bed, so that’ll have to do.)

    Thanks for helping me acknowledge what I already knew but have found difficult to embrace. I enjoy others’ homes and decor, but I’m old enough to know my style is persona,l & because I live in my own home and not someone else’s, my style is what I’m most comfortable with, even if it’s not the latest trend.

    The cottage look is my favorite and gives me room for the gardening theme & Southern heritage which brings meaning and a reminder for constant growth in my home.

  • It provides the home with additional function and gives
    it character. Others modify their homes to increase its
    value for future investments. In today’s crazy lifestyle it
    is very difficult to find stability between your
    work, family and social life.

  • Words cannot express how grateful I am to you for this post! I have been a “Pinterest Addict” for a couple of years now so have loads of inspiration photos pinned but they are often full of conflicting ideas. After reading this post I started by going through my Living Room board and entering in the comments exactly what I liked in each of the photos. Very quickly some themes started emerging and as I went through editing, it became easy to delete pins that I liked but aren’t my style. The next day I happened across curtains that I had admired before and that were now 60% off. Because of your post and the work I had done, I was confident enough to purchase the curtains which have been hanging in my living room for two days now and the difference is HUGE. A week ago I would not have had the confidence to send that money especially as we are renting, but because I had the knowledge to make the right decision it has been completely worth it!

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