When I was in high school, I had a procrastination problem. I’d consider getting my homework done but then subconsciously delay it until the very last moment. I always told myself it was because my classes were a total bore and that things would get better in college. I think I was the only one who was surprised when they didn’t. When I got to college, even though I was taking classes that I absolutely loved, I still found myself waiting to start until the very last moment. It turns out that my problem wasn’t procrastination, it was feeling overwhelmed.
See, the real issue was that I had so many ideas and my imagined end goal just seemed so far away that even the thought of starting was exhausting. Thankfully, I’ve gotten pretty good at managing my procrastinator tendencies, especially since my work as an interior designer often involves big, seemingly impossible ideas. But for those who don’t do this on a daily basis, I totally get that designing the home of your dreams can be a pretty daunting prospect.
Take it from me. The hardest part is starting. And starting can be a piece of cake if you have a set of concrete steps to take, which can help you focus your thoughts and break down the process into easily digestible pieces. So for those looking for clarity, here are five things you can do to bust out of your rut and onto the path toward a home that you love.
The very first thing you need to do is understand that you are in control and have the power to overcome this “design overwhelm.” Even if it seems like it’ll take years (it won’t), cost an arm and a leg (it doesn’t have to) or force you to waste countless hours scrolling through Pinterest (that one’s on you), remember that you are the one calling the shots and creating the home of your dreams both starts and ends when and where you want it to.
Once you decide to take the leap, the second thing to do is figure out your style. It is easy to mindlessly appreciate a wide range of styles. After all, the interiors you see online and in magazines are meant to catch your attention no matter the aesthetic. But figuring out what would make your ideal home requires a little more thought.
If you like the look of a minimalist design, for example, but find yourself unable to keep a room tidy for more than a day, you probably won’t get the result you’re looking for. On the other hand, you might appreciate the art deco aesthetic but later realize that it isn’t something you could live with on a daily basis. When thinking about your style, consider the elements that you go for consistently, the colors that you reach for in your wardrobe and decide whether you are of the “less is more” or “more is more” philosophy.
Now that you’ve figured out the style you’re going for, the third step is to curate and edit what you’ve already got. That’s right, it’s time to go all KonMari on your stuff. (Well, at least when it comes to your decor.) Take a look at all you have in your home, and let go of the things that don’t fit with your aesthetic, needs or lifestyle. This one’s easier said than done for sure, but try not to overthink and just go with your gut instinct. It’s not always about what you add to a room but what you take away.
After taking inventory of what you have, step four is to make a list of what’s missing and shop strategically. The key word here being strategically. Think of it like grocery shopping — going into the supermarket on an empty stomach without a list is a recipe for disaster. (And it’s often how I end up with a wedge of Brie and a tray of ready-made sushi to eat in the car on the way home.) Similarly, you want to go shopping with a solid game plan to avoid unnecessary purchases that might lead to clutter. If you see something you like that isn’t on your list, you can revisit it once you’ve finished and see if it still works with your vision.
Last, but not least, embrace a mix that’s uniquely you. Don’t worry too much about whether you’re mixing and matching styles, incorporating sentimental pieces that “don’t fit” or slowly accumulating items that reflect your changing preferences. In the end, it’s your home, and having a few (or many) things that wouldn’t be caught dead on a showroom floor is probably one of the best ways to show off your personality and really own it.
Consciously designing your home can actually be a super fun process. You can’t afford to stay stuck being overwhelmed when the result is having a home that brings you joy and makes your life all the more awesome.