overcoming decorating paralysis :: no. I am not a millionaire.
Wednesday, September 12, 2012 by {darlene}

Hello.  My name is {darlene}.  And I am not a millionaire.

I know. I know. For most of us, this is an obvious statement. But for some of us, who have spent a good deal of their lives dreaming of dramatic princess fairy tales, Barbie dream houses, decorating lavish houses in their minds and inheriting crowned jewels in their heads, this simple statement can be hard to accept.

But they say, admitting the truth is the first step.

I am jesting. ……Sort of……. But, what does this have to do with overcoming decorating paralysis anyway?

Well, you see. Accepting the fact that you are not, indeed, a person of superfluous and deep pockets, means that you need to start living in – and decorating in – R.E.A.L.I.T.Y.

I know this sounds obvious, but trust me. This whole millionaire-denial thing can be going on in your decorating sub conscience without you even knowing about it.

When making decisions for your home, do thoughts like these float through your mind?:

“I will just wait until I can afford to do it right.”

“I will paint that after we get the kitchen remodeled {and you have no current plans to have a kitchen remodel}.”

“I am holding out for the one I love from ____ {fill in blank with super-high-end-store}.”

Are you waiting until a large sum of mysterious money shows up on your doorstep before you dive into your decorating? Is it causing your decorating paralysis?

Well, I am certainly qualified to chat about it, because if I did not confess “Yes!,” then I would be the pot-calling-the-kettle black. The truth is, I find myself putting so many things on hold because I cannot yet afford to do things EXACTLY {the key word here truly is “EXACTLY”} how I want to do it. Usually, the reason is because, I, {darlene}, am not a millionaire – or even close.

not a millionaire

I yearn for quality in my home and I have a vision for exactly how I want to do things. I don’t want to waste any money or energy doing it wrong.

And those are all good things.

EXCEPT, when they paralyze you. And this has certainly paralyzed me.

So. As I see it. The solution is for me to admit that I am not a millionaire, and then go about getting creative with my home decorating solutions. And that is just what I have been doing.

Oh, pretty $1600 chair. How I love thee

not a millionaire

And, on sale for $1700? It still does not feel like a deal to me. But how bright, lovely and lively are you!?….

not a millionaire

Even under $1000, there is no way I can afford 2 of you pretties…..

  not a millionaire

So, I had to come to terms with the fact that I, {darlene}, am not a millionaire – or even close. And I do not have the budget for these beautiful specimens in my home.  Not now, anyway. Therefore, it was time for me to move on.

Move on and get creative:

{click here to see my gorgeous chairs that I got for $59, and then “gilded” in gold}

not a millionaire

So, fess up.

Anyone else out there with this paralyzing decorating hang up?

If so, join me in saying….

Hello. My name is _________. And I am not a millionaire.



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Labeled: overcome decorating paralysis


  • you are a hoot and no i am not a millionaire! love it!!!

  • I have definitely let lack of funds to do what I really wanted paralyze me! I had an empty dining room for probably 4 years because what I really wanted was a round pedestal table to seat up to 12 (8 of us, plus the occasional guests) and the only things I could find of that size were around $4000…not to mention several hundred for EACH chair. I finally came to my senses when I actually had the opportunity to spend our tax return on the table and I couldn’t bring myself to do it. It was a ridiculous sum of money to spend on a table! So, I moved our old, very long farm table into the dining room (still would so much rather have a round table than an oblong one) and bought some $35 black windsor chairs from WalMart. That with new paint, a floor cloth I painted, some painted pieces of craigslist furniture and new curtains it became a room I LOVE for less than $1000. Going on and on here, but I think the paralysis is complicated when one lives in a giant antique! (our house was built in 1832 and I know yours has a history, too) I want so badly for the furnishings to reflect what I feel a home that’s been around that long “deserves”. Good post, Darlene!

    • I relate relate RELATE to every word you are saying, kimberly! I love how you said it seemed ridiculous to even spend the money once you had it, and I totally agree with that. It is not always ridiculous…. but then again, sometimes it is. We all have to make choices. I love hearing how your choice inspired creative solutions!

  • It’s hard to find the balance between “settling” for okay or “holding out ” for Mr. Right.

  • Ha!! I am happy to join this club. I rarely buy anything for the home that is not either on clearance, from an auction, or from a garage sale. LOL That’s just my style. We have some money, but after many years of NOT having any $$, we have trained ourselves to go the El Cheapo route, sometimes for the best and sometimes not. HA!!
    Paralysis happens, I surely hope you are planning some more posts on this, hilarious today Darlene! : )

  • Its like I’ve been hit with a hammer over my head; this is exactly my problem!!! I know in my head how I envision each space to look..so I continue to hold out for that mysterious envelope with wads of cash to land on my doorstep…I’ve “waited” over 11 years to decorate my house…no new furniture, no paint on the walls, no decor…just waiting…because one day…one day…I will have oodles of money…LOL..good wake up call Darlene!!! :)

  • Haha! I’m still recovering from my original plan, which was to MARRY a millionaire. DANGIT! ;} So very true, though!

  • Love this! This post totally speaks to me right now. We actually have lost time on our renovation because of feeling this decision paralysis you speak of…and these are on items we have to have like door hardware, lol. I’m hoping that I can find that careful balance between investing and being thrifty when we get to purchase actual decor items. :)

  • I have this syndrome sometimes, too. :) And then I have the opposite…as I unpack things I haven’t seen in 2.5 years and deal with reentry into American life, I’ve been struggling…I have so much and have lived around those who have so little, so I feel spoiled and rich and simply all out of sorts as I weigh the balance between enjoying pretty things {and holding onto them loosely}, getting rid of what I don’t want or need…and then I’m back to “I need just the right fabric for window treatments,” or ” If only the kitchen were like this.” My solution a week ago was to just iron because it had immediate results! :)

  • You nailed it. I find myself, more and more, skipping blogs that post gorgeous high end materials, without purpose, other than to create desire. Creating beauty is a good thing. Learning to translate and apply principles of beauty to our own present lives is important. The trick is to compromise without settling and opting for tacky.

  • Ha! I am so extremely and practically aware of how much I am not a millionaire that I can’t say this is really a problem. In fact I deliberately keep my imagination working on projects and images more or less within reach. But it’s ok, because I’m not anti-DIY :-) For example, I am going to see this table tonight from Craigslist with exaaactly the turned legs I want, except it is white paint and golden oak. Assuming I get it, I will be investing a good amount of elbow grease to convert it to brown paint and chestnut stain like I want. This is ok, because I know I have more time than money, and I get a lot of satisfaction out of creatively stretching a dollar… and I am learning to be a little more patient regarding quality as I look for the items I plan to work my magic on.

  • Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!! I have been living in a hundred-year-old farmhouse for over a year now, and haven’t changed one thing. Because I “can’t afford” to do it right. Because of this post, I ripped carpet out of my son’s room on Thursday, and discovered nearly-perfect, high-grade plywood underneath. I have four bedrooms to be done upstairs, and as my husband was involved in the renos of this house 30 years ago (it was my in-laws), he remembers doing all the floors all the same. Being a lover of painted floors, I am now ecstatic! I was holding out for some high-grade laminate, but that’s $300-400 per room. Now, I just need to go buy me some great floor paint, and I’m going to have great floors for my kids – and no one will get mad at me for painting floors! I’m done limiting myself because of my pocketbook. Thanks again for inspiring me to move. :)

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