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.
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.
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.
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?
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
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
- 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.
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.
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!
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!
Cathy Pink says
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 💛
Wow! I am in awe of your living room – that sofa is everything! Gorgeous! I do have a question – how did you style your bay window? We have a similar room in our home, and I’m always having trouble making it feel a part of the room. Thanks in advance for your info – and so happy I came upon your blog thru Rhoda at Southern Hospitality. I subscribed immediately!
Thanks Jan!! I didn’t style my bay window, haha! I just used a vase with faux florals. I thought about adding a cushion or pillows but felt like it would be too much with the sofa right there. I’m sory I can’t be of more help! thanks for stopping by!
Kendall Mountford says
You should seriously write a book. You can the best advice of anyone. And so enjoyable to read. I can’t get enough. I’m so glad I found your blog!! I’m going to vino and binge with a notepad to get all these incredible tips in one place as I e-design 😉 for my new home!!
Love the bathroom. What’s the vanity color used?
In the House of Hackney wallpaper, what color did you paint the walls? I have that same wallpaper and I got the blue walls all wrong.