WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS BEFORE PICTURES, AS IN BEFORE PINTEREST-EXISTED PICTURES. THESE PICTURES WOULD NEVER BE RE-PINNED, BUT THEY ARE PART OF MY DECORATING STORY. THEY HELP ILLUSTRATE HOW DRASTICALLY MY CHANGE IN APPROACH IMPACTED MY DECORATING AND HELPED ME CREATE A HOME I LOVE (THAT ALSO HAPPENS TO BE PIN-WORTHY).
Before I owned my first home, I looked at pretty inspiration pictures and thought someday. I believed when someday came a beautiful home would be turn-key. It would come naturally to me. I would move in, pull each room together, and *boom* a house becomes a home. And life goes on.
In my first two homes, it was as if the complete opposite happened. Life came to a screeching halt as I agonized over the right paint color, the best furniture placement, and what in the world to hang on the wall (all.the.walls).
We never “finished” our first two houses. There was no flow. Each room had everything it was supposed to, but they were lacking something I couldn’t put my finger on. I hate to say it, but our first two homes had a definite bed-in-a-bag, store-bought look. They never really felt like home.
I let decorating happen to me. I waited (and waited) for inspiration. I tried and failed a lot. At times it felt forced. I didn’t feel in control of the outcome. I felt limited by the house, what I could buy, and my creativity (or lack thereof). I thought a well-designed home only happened if you hired a designer or became one yourself.
Before I learned how to decorate, I thought it was all trial and error (mostly error). I thought designers were only good because of lots of experience. I truly believed decorating was a creative or artistic endeavor that I would never master. To me what worked and looked amazing, seemed like a stroke of genius or pure luck.
I wanted to believe I could create a gorgeous designer interior without being a designer, but I was going about it all wrong.
When we moved from our second home to our third (and current) home, I panicked at first. I didn’t want to start all over again. I didn’t want to go through years of trial and error and still not have a place that felt like home. I wasn’t confident in my ability to create the home we deserved.
It wasn’t until I saw a pattern in the failures, and the less frequent successes, that I realized decorating is just as much science as art.
So, I tried a completely different approach in this home. I wanted control of our environment. It was a mindset shift from seeing decorating as an art (one which didn’t come naturally to me and I couldn’t control) to seeing decorating as a science (a skill that I could master and control to get the results I wanted).
First, I dissected everything we loved about our first and second home. I wanted to carry those lessons forward, especially the things that worked well in both homes. Although trial and error was a time-consuming and expensive way to decorate, I still learned something from it.
Then, wanting to avoid more trial and error, I studied and taught myself how to decorate by uncovering the underlying science to what looks and feels good. I learned about and experimented with things like color theory, interior styling, symmetry and scale. I was also interested in photography, flower arranging, and architecture. With each new thing I learned, I looked for a way to apply the principles to decorating my home.
Decorating became my tool to create the home we always dreamed of – one that felt like home. Our third home, despite being twice the size of our previous house, was the easiest of all to decorate.
But only one thing had changed. What we liked didn’t change. Our decorating style didn’t change. Not even our furniture or decor changed. The only thing that changed was our decorating approach – and with that our decorating confidence exploded.
Instead of succumbing to decorating as an art I didn’t understand, I looked to the science behind decorating. This mindset shift from art to science took my decorating from haphazard to polished. My decorating confidence went from shaky (at best) to surefire. I felt in control of my home, like I had regained power over my environment.
Our new home, with much of the same furniture and accessories as our last home, took on a completely new form. I learned how to use what we already had in new and better ways. This house finally feels like home. We got it right–and with our new approach I knew we would.
In my first two homes I was excited if a room turned out, but i didn’t expect it. Now in my third home, I plan on it. I feel in control of the outcome and my ability to achieve the look and feeling I want through decorating.
If we were to sell this home tomorrow, I wouldn’t be worried about starting over. I would know exactly where to start. Even within these four walls, re-decorating has become a joy. A well-decorated space isn’t a fluke anymore, now it’s something I know how to create.
My analytical approach to decorating looks at the house as a whole. It assumes that what’s successful in one place is repeatable elsewhere. That there are underlying formulas, guidelines, and principles to what looks and feels good. There are universal truths to what is visually appealing. You might like a completely different style of decor than me, but how to arrange that decor in an eye-pleasing way is universal.
As a science, decorating decisions aren’t made in a vacuum. You don’t buy things in piecemeal hoping they’ll all work together someday. A scientific approach is more planned out, like creating a whole house color palette, an accent color palette, and making your home functional for the way you live. With a big picture approach, you can bring your vision to life without losing sight of all the little details that make it feel like home.
When I learned to see decorating as a science, it no longer mattered that I wasn’t creative. I didn’t have to have an eye for design, because I had a mind for design. With the science of decorating comes confidence in knowing where to start, what to try next, and when a room is complete.
What if, a year from now, you looked around your house and it felt like home? How would it feel to take pride in knowing YOU created that – a beautiful home for your family? What would that mean to you?
I believe you are the best person to decorate your home, whether you’re creative or not. Decorating is both an art and a science and you can lean on your natural strengths to be the best decorator for your home. That’s why in my mega-decorating course Décorography, I teach my more scientific method of decorating so you can leave the trial and error behind and learn what predictably works to create a beautiful, personalized home.