The other day, I got a comment on Wednesday’s post about small kitchen details that can make a huge difference.
It’s about something that plagues most of us at some point, professional or not.
It is decorating Paralysis. It’s a horrible thing when it happens.
Here’s what Jennifer had to say about her decorating paralysis:
We, too, are working on a kitchen remodel along with bathrooms. The home we are purchasing is my great grandparent’s home on family property. So far, we have been doing lead paint mitigation, put the original French doors back in on the exterior, and rebuilt the porch.
Now that it is time to start the “real” renovations, I’m paralyzed with indecision.
I’m afraid any decision I make is going to be the wrong one.
How do you decide where to start? I have been reading your blog obsessively for a year and have Pinterest boards for weeks. Happily, we also have a great contractor. But, I just can’t make a single decision on anything!
Design and decorating paralysis sucks.
Yeah, it’s like that moment when your jeans get caught in the bicycle chain, and your bike lurches to a sudden stop.
Only instead of a bike, it’s your home that you’re trying to furnish, renovate or build. It’s a fear that grips you like you’re being chased by a bunch of hungry rattlesnakes.
I know; I’ve been there. You can read all about some of my indecision here. And, it occurs most commonly when I’m decorating for myself.
So, first of all, why does interior design and decorating paralysis happen, and then we’ll discuss what to do about it.
- We don’t have a clear vision of what we want our space to look like.
- There’s too much choice.
- We’re deathly afraid of making costly mistakes.
- What if we end up hating it and feel embarrassed to have people come over?
- Or, what if it begins to look dated after a few years?
This is when the anxiety of decorating paralysis grips us, and we find ourselves awake at 3:00 AM, obsessing.
So, what should you do when decorating paralysis takes hold?
It’s the same advice I gave in the post about mixing fabric patterns.
There, doesn’t that feel better already?
No? That BIG black and white CHILL isn’t doing it for you, huh?
Well, me neither.
But, really, try to relax. Staying in a state of tension and fear is not going to help.
Then, I’d like you to go back and read this post that gives a No-Fail 12-step decorating plan that works every time.
I have refreshed the post some, even if you have read it before.
The 12-step decorating plan applies to any room in your home.
That is because everything in your home is connected, beginning with the house.
The style, age, and design of the house will help narrow down the choices.
But, some choices may be dictated by the rooms that are adjoining the kitchens and bathrooms.
This is an example of what I’m talking about if it isn’t clear.
This is actually Philip’s apartment from a while back. I ascertained that from his fantastic Instagram Account.
I read somewhere that this kitchen is only six feet wide; however, that’s impossible.
We know that the counters must be two feet wide each. And, that goes for the built-in fridges on the left. Then, there must be a minimum of 36″ between the two counters. So, a galley kitchen must be at least seven feet wide unless it’s L-shaped. But, then it wouldn’t be a galley. ;]
I very much recommend looking at this video from Canadian House & Home, where Philip goes over the details of his apartment. What I love is that the building was built in the 1970s. So, we know it didn’t look anything like it did after the renovation.
Philip is an expert craftsman when it comes to creating classical details with mouldings. I wish there were some before pics. Unfortunately, however, I can’t find any.
The above photo is of the dining room. This image is also from Canadian House & Home. Again, we see fantastic classical detailings in the mouldings. You would think this apartment was from the 1870s, not the 1970s.
Interestingly, this shade of blue is quite popular right now in 2021. It is in the same neighborhood as Benjamin Moore’s color of the year 2021, Aegean Teal. However, this place was decorated at least ten years ago.
And, another great shot from Philip’s Instagram of moulding detail in the built-in closets in the master bedroom.
If you’d like to see more photos of this apartment, please go here.
Of course, Philip is a professional interior designer and has the eye and training, and experience to carry out a gorgeous, cohesive design.
But, what if…
What if Philip had put in a kitchen that looks like this?
It wouldn’t look so great. At least, I don’t think so.
If Philip had wanted to do a kitchen like this, he wouldn’t have bothered with all of the moulding details. duh
I realize that some of you are probably rolling your eyes. This is basic stuff.
Yes, it is. And yet, over the years, I’ve seen many instances of kitchens along these lines installed in very traditional homes. Anyone who loves to look at the real estate has most likely seen some really wacky interior design.
One seriously bad decor snafu was this huge white and green Poggenpohl kitchen in a classic Victorian home in Bedford Village, NY. It was a horrifying sight. But that was about 28 years ago. Anyone living in that area knows exactly which home I’m talking about as it’s in a prominent position as you drive into the village on Rte 22. (Those people moved out long ago)
So, how do we get past our decorating paralysis?
First, be sure to read the 12-step decorating program. This will help you narrow down the choices.
I also recommend getting my 333 Decorating Rules & Tips You Need to Know. Unfortunately, there isn’t a section about kitchens and bathrooms. However, figuring out the colors, style, and design of the rest of the place will help cure decorating paralysis.
If you are still stuck, and even if you aren’t, I would hire an interior designer to consult with.
I also recommend reading these posts:
Most designers enjoy doing consulting work. And, many can help you virtually. So, that means if you live in a place where you can’t find anyone who jives with your aesthetic, you can go outside of your local area for help.
I would probably not approach one of the A-List designers unless you’re prepared to spend a hefty sum with an assistant. Instead, I would look for a talented designer who is up and coming.
Find a designer whose work makes your heart beat a little faster.
How much will this cost?
I would be prepared to spend at least $500.00 for a two-hour consult. But, it might be more. And, you might need more than two hours. Still, even if it’s four hours and the cost is $1000 bucks, isn’t that better than tossing and turning all night long? Or, making a $100,000 mistake that can’t be undone.
Is there anything I recommend not doing?
Yes. There is. :]
And, that is, I don’t recommend asking for “help” from family members and friends. That is unless your friend knows what they’re talking about. I also don’t advise asking for free help if your friend is a pro unless they volunteer to help you, gratis.
In Jennifer’s case, she already has a contractor that she likes.
This is HUGE! In fact, it’s crucial. A great contractor may very well be able to recommend a designer in your area. But, ideally, an in-person consult is most likely the best.
To prepare for the consult, please do your homework.
Go as far as you can with your ideas so that the designer has a better chance of seeing your blind spots. I’ll be willing to wager that your designer will come up with ideas you never dreamed of and wouldn’t have in a million years. Also, perhaps ask if you can record the consult. I highly recommend that.
Sometimes the stumbling block causing decorating paralysis is something small. A designer will see it instantly, and that right there will be enough to get you moving again.
In any case, when doing a kitchen, I very much recommend working with a kitchen designer. Or, an interior designer who’s experienced with kitchens. These professionals will automatically be looking at the entire home as well as your needs and budget.
I mean, would you operate on your own brain?
No. So why is it that people think they don’t need help with the inside of their home?
The inside is just as intricate as the building of the outside. And most folks don’t build their home.
You don’t need to hire a designer to do everything. But, of course, you can do that too.
Then, you can REALLY sleep.
Let your designer be the one tossing and turning.
By the way, many people still ask me to help them. I so wish I could do that. Unfortunately, however, it’s impossible.
After all, I have my own decisions to make. But, believe me, I’m going to be enlisting help for some of it.
And, thank you too. So many of you gave me some great advice.
In the meantime, I’ve been researching mirrors like crazy. I’m mirror-obsessed. lol. And, then I came across this exquisite beauty, the Gleneagles Hotel in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Lorna Luxe Gleneagles Hotel
I hope this helped some of you who are undergoing decorating paralysis.
PS: Please check out the newly updated HOT SALES. There’s a surprise there. A new brand that I’m very pleased to be able to include in the widgets you’ll find on each page.
PS: Several of you have asked me about my patio. I’m not doing anything huge this summer. Right now, I’m still focused on settling in. But, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Next up is working on the renovations.