Have you ever bought something on a whim and regretted it within the first 5 minutes of bringing it home? Yep, we all have. (And if you haven’t, we really don’t want to hear about it.)
This has usually happened to me when the words “Clearance” or “Biggest Sale Ever” were involved.
Or when I was on a deadline to get my house guest-ready.
If you’re tackling several rooms at once or have recently moved, you’re even more vulnerable to the temptation to buy on a whim because empty rooms can make you do crazy things. On the other hand, it can be REALLY overwhelming trying to approach every room from scratch, and you might be frozen in what I call purchasing paralysis.
As in, “Please just pass me the chocolate and I can’t even deal with this” kind of paralysis.
Today I’m sharing a way to help you avoid some stress and resist impulse buys for your home. I’m also giving you guys a sneak peak of the beginning stages of a local project that’s wrapping up soon.
LOCAL DESIGN PROJECT: Sarah’s House
Last year, I started working with a sweet client named Sarah. She called requesting some design direction for a new house that she and her husband were in the final stages of building.They decided that most of their old furniture would not be moving into the new house with them.
An epic Craigslist sale followed.
Her main concern was making sure that all the new pieces she purchased worked well with each other and the style of the house. After chatting with Sarah about her hopes for the new home, I proposed that we start our work together with a “Style Guide”.
WHAT’S A STYLE GUIDE?
A “Style Guide” ensures that the overall design direction is firmly established before any new pieces are purchased.
This is SUCH a key piece in how I work with clients who are addressing several rooms at a time. It’s helpful for a couple reasons…
1. It’s like the “road map” for making purchases. You have a filter to run things through instead of dealing with limitless options. Saves time and money.
2. A Style Guide weaves a cohesive thread that ties the whole house together. This was especially important for Sarah since she has an open concept living, dining, and sitting room. She wanted to create flow in the main living areas that felt both calm and inviting.
After Sarah’s “homework”of questionnaires and pictorial assessments, I came up with a Style Guide that addressed her desire to keep things “fresh & airy” while still being crisp, modern, and organized.
Most of the large items have already been ordered and delivered to Sarah’s home, and we are just working on the finishing touches. While we ultimately didn’t go with every single piece on her “Style Guide”, it was our starting point and reference for all purchases throughout the selection process.
I can’t wait to show you guys the final result. I don’t have many of projects where we literally started with empty rooms. We are about 90% to the finish line. I’ll be sure to share all the details when the time comes.
There will be pictures.
Lots of them.
CREATE YOUR OWN STYLE GUIDE
Taking some time to create your own decorating “Style Guide” is something I would suggest to anyone who wants to solidify their personal style and shop with confidence. Plus having some guiding principles can keep you from buying things on a whim just because they are on sale or trendy at the moment.
1. Take Note. Start noticing the things already in your home that you love. Think about why you love them…These don’t even have to be decor items specifically. It could be a photograph, a keepsake, or an outfit that feels like 100% you.
2. Get Pinning. Start a decorating “Style Guide” Pinterest board and start pinning rooms and things that feel like you. If you use the “also pinned on…” feature on Pinterest, it can lead you to others who might have similar taste in home decor. I’ve found this to be really handy.
3. Notice the Details. After you’ve collected lots of images, look at what they have in common. Jot down how you would describe them. Try to discover any patterns. Is there a common mood? Color? Use of particular finish? Observe what you’re drawn to regarding color, furniture styles, decor, art work.
4. Get Specific. List the colors, patterns, finishes and styles that you want to use in your home. Decide whether you like a more “collected” or “cohesive” look in accessories and artwork. Decide if you like a symmetrical or asymmetrical styling. Are you drawn to very specific color palettes or rooms that mix lots of color in one space?
5. Create a Style Board. Print images of items you love. Cut out pictures from magazines that represent your style. Snag a fabric sample that screams your name. If you’re the techie type, create a digital mood board on Polyvore. You can even go so far as to print and use when you shop to serve as a visual reminder.
6. Change it Up. Remember that it is a guide, not a constitution…Don’t be afraid to change things up and allow yourself to adjust with life’s seasons as you experiment and search for your style.
I’d love to hear your thoughts or questions! Anyone up for creating a decorating “Style Guide”? If you you do, I’d love to see it.