Organized Living

How to Decorate Your Home without Getting Overwhelmed

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I'm all too easily overwhelmed with all the paint colors, fabric swatches, and all the pretties available at HomeGoods! But, armed with these tried-and-true facts, I feel empowered to conquer decorating my home again! #decoratingtips #howtodecorate #simpledecorating #decoratingideas #decoratingwithoutoverwhelm

I know I promised all sorts of updates when we bought our new home, but two things have happened since our lovely purchase in June. One, life got crazy busy, and two, I got really overwhelmed with even the thought of decorating — therefore, almost nothing has been done!

It wasn’t for a lack of ideas though….I have a decorating notebook and multiple Pinterest boards full of dreams, wishes, and plans, but when it comes to implementing anything, I wimp out. I feel taunted by blank walls, sagging furniture, and a small budget, and it almost seems easier to put off any decorating rather than try something and inevitably fail.

You see, I’ve never been that good at decorating anything. It’s not my passion, and it’s most certainly not my talent. I’m actually much more comfortable with remodeling an old home and putting up drywall than I am with coordinating fabrics, patterns, and paint colors!

Slowly though, I’m learning that decorating a home does not happen overnight, and might not even happen in the span of a few months. The point is to enjoy the journey, not stress about it. My home will come together in time, but right now, these are the 5 action steps I’ve taken to help keep my decorating anxiety under control. If you struggle with decorating overwhelm too, you might want to keep reading!

1. Start a Decorating Notebook

A notebook might sound a little like overkill, but whenever I’m feeling stressed by a task at hand, I create a physical notebook to help sort all my thoughts and ideas.

Anytime I find an idea I like in a magazine, or a piece of furniture I’d like to save up for, I file it away in a page protector with the corresponding room. I also have space for paint swatches, notes, and even graph paper to measure out the room so I know exactly how large or small each piece of furniture needs to be. You can learn more about my notebook HERE.

I cannot even begin to tell you how much sanity this simple notebook has saved me!

How to Decorate Your Home Without Getting Overwhelmed | Creative Savings

2. Work on Functional and Foundational Pieces First

Have you ever been walking down the aisles of Hobby Lobby, eyes glazed at all the gorgeous artwork, ceramic knick-knacks, and awesome storage bins? I was just there last week and immediately became overwhelmed at all the choices! Since then, I’ve learned how essential it is to not focus on any of those final touches when you’re decorating a room from scratch.

Here’s a general order of where to start decorating:

  • Fix or remodel any of the structure that’s already there {drywall, trim, window, etc.}
  • Paint walls and trim
  • Choose furniture, storage units, shelving, and area rug
  • Focus on curtains, and any other large decor piece you want to feature.
  • Finish up with pretty candles, lamps, artwork, and other trinkets to style the room

Of course, there might be that one small piece that can inspire the entire room before you even start, so this tactic isn’t completely foolproof, but it at least gives you a starting point for those who have no idea what to work on or buy first…..aka me!

Psst….I also found the post, How to Shop for Home Decor without Getting Overwhelmed from School of Decorating very helpful when looking for items to finish up a room.

3. Ask a Friend for Help

I used to be ashamed that I wasn’t an expert home decorator, and was actually embarrassed to ask for help, but thankfully, my assistant at Creative Savings has one of the best eyes for interior design and was willing to give me a few pointers. Can I just tell you what a relief that was? I finally had a vision for the room I was working on!

It’s more than okay to ask a friend or family member, whose decorating style you admire, for their opinion on your home. Explain how you need it to function, and some of your own thoughts for furniture pieces or wall art.

Take their suggestions into consideration, then tweak to make them your own. You still want to make sure the room is YOU by the time you’re done, but there’s no shame in requesting a little help to get you started on the right foot!

How to Decorate Your Home Without Getting Overwhelmed | Creative Savings

4. Realize Nothing is Permanent

If you walked into my home right now, you’d see practically nothing hung up on the walls. Why? Because I have this irrational fear that once I put something up, I won’t be able to take it down again, or move things around. How silly is that!?

Yes, there might be a few extra holes in the wall that you need to patch and paint over, you might have to return a piece of furniture, or get rid of a lamp you don’t like anymore in a yard sale, but anything can be changed. Nothing is set in stone.

Home decorating is a process, and your style from a couple years ago may not be your style right now. I’m slowly learning that it’s okay to switch things up, even if Joseph did just take down a set of shelves he installed for me a few weeks ago in an effort to try something new. He’s a keeper, that one!

5. Invest in Great Resources

Finally, don’t be afraid to invest in a few resources to help. One of my favorite home decorating magazines is HGTV Magazine — I get so many ideas out of it, and they use products from places like Target, West Elm, and HomeGoods, rather than these super high end brands that I could never possibly afford. It’s like home decorating for real people!

I also recommend taking Decorography, my all-time favorite decorating program. This has saved me from making so many decorating mistakes, and I was shocked at all the things I didn’t know!

I talk more about these “aha moments” in The #1 Reason Your Decorating Dreams are Not Reality…Yet, including,

  • The biggest reason a room never feels “finished”.
  • Why you can’t afford to keep making decorating “mistakes”
  • How to decorate your home even when you don’t feel like a decorator. Hint: There’s an actual science behind it!

Click HERE to read the post.

The next time you look at a home decorating project, take a page from my own personal notebook, and don’t let the hugeness of it overwhelm you into inaction. Start small, enjoy the journey, and work on making your home a sanctuary and space you love.

Do you get easily overwhelmed with home decorating?

Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. Read my full disclosure policy here.

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14 Comments

  1. I’m SO glad I’m not alone in this! We are living in an apartment saving up for a house (once all of our debt is paid off first) and I feel as though my decorations are bland. I have to remind myself that this is temporary and when the time comes I’ll be able to spread my wings and paint etc. While I look forward to that day of owning a home, I have to mentally prepare myself to NOT get overwhelmed when we have more space 🙂 I’m definitely pinning this for later, thank you!

  2. Oh my! You just described exactly how I feel when I’m trying to decorate. I often leave the store with nothing. Seek out a BIG coffee, and vow to try again tomorrow. I have enlisted the help of my sister-in-law. It is sooooo much more fun with a friend.
    Thanks for the links.

    1. Yes, it’s WAY more fun to do it with someone who loves decorating and is willing to help you find your style!

  3. I like that you are so organized you have a notebook, I must say i’m a little jealous. I wish I would’ve thought of this. This is a great post & Thanks for sharing these helpful tips. Happy Wednesday!

  4. I wish I had started a notebook when we first moved into our house! Our house was built in 1945…and we’re only the second owners, so we’ve been lots of updating! I’m playing catch-up but the paint colors alone have been tricky to remember. Great advice!

    1. Thanks, Kristen! Having the notebook has certainly saved me from a lot of stress. 🙂

  5. Yes, I get completely overwhelmed when it comes to decorating. I have ALL these ideas, but then I want to implement them ASAP. Problem is that I’m not always sure how or I don’t always have the money to spend to do it all exactly the way I want. Thanks for all the resources. I’m sure it will help!

  6. I love the idea of using a notebook to organize inspirations. I have scraps of papers torn from magazines and such that have found their way all over the house. How nice it will be to have everything together in one place. Thanks for the (“Why didn’t I think of that?”) idea.

    1. You’re welcome, Juli! And there are so many ideas I read about and can’t believe I didn’t think of them before either. 🙂 Hopefully, the notebook gives you a spot to put all those scraps of paper now!

  7. i think your order of work us incorrect. How can you choose a paint color, a $25 item and base your rug in that? I suggest getting a ‘must have, can’t live without’ rug or piece of art and then buying neutral furniture and picking a paint color – maybe a lighter version – from the painting or rug. Paint can be the last choice since it’s the cheapest item. Just how I do it.

    1. I love that you pick a piece {like a rug} and build a room around that feature! For some reason, I can’t envision the space by doing that, but that’s because my mind works a little differently. There’s definitely no wrong way or order of choosing paint vs furniture or decor items — whatever works best for your decorating style is the way you should go!

  8. Really great post, Kalyn! When I moved from LA to NYC, I found myself extremely overwhelmed when it came to furnishing my new apartment. I sold all of my old furniture and hired a startup called Furnishr to help me furnish my new space – they saved me some money, and I didn’t need to run around searching for some great pieces!:)

  9. I love this post! I’m currently in the process of decorating my space, but my biggest complication is that I am not inclined to spend money- like, at all. It always makes for a really fun process, though, because I just rely on the cycle of life to provide the things we need. For example, we have neighbours on both sides that are asking us to take some furniture off their hands now that they’re downsizing. We’ve gotten living room chairs, a couch, a dining room table, and some great shelving units this way, and now I get to solve the puzzle of how to decorate these pieces to make them our own!

    I’m totally with you on the wall decor, though. I hesitate to put up wall art because it feels so permanent!

    1. Ohhh decorating on a budget can be such a fun challenge! You’re forced to be so much more creative. How handy that your neighbors have some great pieces to share with you!

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