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The Biggest Design Mistake I Made As A First Time Homeowner (& 4 Ways I Fixed It)

Over the last few months I’ve developed this strange desire to be  more vulnerable by admitting my mistakes and how I’ve learned from them. If sharing my mess ups means I can help prevent you from making the same ones, then I suppose this blog serves it’s purpose. Amirite?

I’ve made a lot of mistakes as a first time homeowner, but there’s one that’s taken the cake and taught me one of the greatest lessons when it comes to design:

Not  having a plan.

When we first bought our home, we had no furniture or decor since we both lived with our parents. Being that our house was completely empty, I rushed to start decorating. 

I soon became the queen of walking into Home Goods like a bull in a China shop, saying a Hail Mary while impulsively buying a bunch of stuff and piecemealing it in whatever room I decided to put them in.

 I didn’t have a plan. No e-design, no inspiration, no style…nothing. Our home became a like a big Frankenstein decorating experiment while I was wasting my time, money and energy. 

You don’t know what you don’t know, and I didn’t know the first thing about how to design a room.

repose-gray-living-room

I *wish* I could explain my thought process for buying these items after a trip to Home Goods. Why did I buy ONE lamp and two chairs without even having a table yet? The world will never know.

I started to realize I was going nowhere fast and within a few months, I began to educate myself on  interior design and came to recognize that not having a plan was a BFD. 

Our living room is the poster child of this design mistake. We bought a sofa that I realized I wasn’t crazy about after the fact (we just really needed a sofa), so for over a year I had to just learn to work with it. But no matter what I did to the living room, I just couldn’t fall in love with the space.  

living-room

It wasn’t until I swapped out the original sofa with the sofa of my  dreams until I actually  fell in love with our living room.living-room-modern-traditional-glam

Now, the living room, master bath and master bedroom are all results that came from planning and executing a single room design at one time. 

So now that I’ve learned my lesson, how do I currently go about designing rooms?

luxe-master-bathroom-makeover-wallpaper

 

These are some of the ways I turned my design mistakes around and got our rooms in check (for the most part):

1 // Plan, plan  and plan some more

room-design-planning

As  fun as it is, I had to stop driving from store to store, hoping something would just catch my eye. I had to learn (ahem, am still learning) how to be patient with the holistic design process, which is hard for my impulsive tendencies.

I only complete one room at a time now (which is why the One Room Challenge has been so helpful). In order to successfully complete a room design, I consider the following:

  • The layout and measurements of the  room
  • The functionality of the room/what it’s being used for
  • Which way the sun was facing (whether it’s a naturally lighter or darker room), which would ultimately impact the colors  
  • What mood/aesthetic/style I want for the space

Once I was able to answer those questions,  I create the following:

  • A Pinterest board with inspiration photos
  • An e-design
  • Budget
  • Timeline
  • Floor plan
  • Checklist of what I need to do to execute my vision

2 // Buy intentionally  & invest when possible

I’ve become more intentional in what I bring into our home and now gravitate towards quality items. For example,  I’d rather buy a solid brass lamp from the thrift store vs. a plastic lamp from a home decor store. 

I try and and focus on whether or not I truly love something before I buy it. I also try to avoid buying one-off items unless I know for certain where it’s going to go. I usually ask myself:

  • Does this look/feel cheap?
  • Am I just looking to buy something to bring me temporary joy?
  • How versatile is the item? Can I use it in different rooms if I want to switch things up?
  • Where exactly do I envision it in our home?
  • On a scale of 1-10, how much do I truly love this item (if it’s below an 8, I won’t buy it). 

3 // Understanding my style

Finding my style (for the most part) was accomplished through a lot of trial and error. Because I’ve been around the block with different design styles, I’ve realized what I like/don’t like. Jewel tones over pastels. Antique paintings over modern. Unlacquered brass over polished chrome. 

modern-traditional-living-room

I used to be influenced by a bright and shiny Pinterest feed and making impulsive decisions on items I wasn’t sure about. But since discovering my modern-traditional-glam style, I’m now able to recognize what I like/don’t like while shopping and can now confidently save for investment pieces that I’m (99%) certain I’ll never get sick of. 

4 // Facebook Marketplace

FB MP has been my saving grace for making the whole not-having-a-plan mistake. I’ve been able to sell most of the items that I don’t consider my style any longer via FB MP. I look at it as a trading system of sorts, because I’ll sell items that are no longer my style and then end up using that $$$ to buy something that’s currently my style – all via MP. It’s a win-win.

Craigslist is good too, but I’ve personally  never had any success with it. I prefer to stalk the people that I’m buying things from and I just can’t accomplish that level of stalking on Craigslist. 

how-to-style-a-bed

These nightstands were a FB MP find, and I am forever grateful that I was relentless in my pursuit to obtain them.  

Implementing these solutions has been a game-changer for me when designing our home. Have you made any mistakes when  designing your home and if so, how did you fix it? 

As always, thank you for stopping by! 

alisa-bovino

Comments

  1. I love FB MP. I am almost checking it daily for deals and my furniture faux pas. 😉
    I can relate that it’s much easier to work on one room at a time!
    Love your article 🙋🏼‍♀️ Thanks for sharing!

  2. Alisa, I am convinced we are the same person! I went through the same exact mistakes last year when we bough our first home and am still dealing with some of those repercussions. You inspired me to start e-designing and planning my rooms better and I am forever grateful for that! Great post. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Cathy!!! You just made my day. It’s reassuring to hear that I wasn’t the only one to make this mistake and am glad we recognized it sooner rather than later!! I’m so happy you started to edesign and plan things out, it really does make such a difference!! Thank you for reading 💛

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