Many times in my work as a decorator I have encountered what I call “searchers”. These people are looking for décor to provide happiness. This is going to sound super hokey, and I apologize for that, but if you’re unhappy the colour of your walls or type of countertops is pretty much irrelevant. I’ve had clients who have literally gone through upwards of 40 testers to find the perfect white for their walls. That’s 40 tester pots, after exploring and discarding probably another 40-50 other samples to narrow it down to which samples of actual paint they wish to try. I’m not saying it’s easy to find the right colour, and it can be quite overwhelming. Renovating is expensive and these can be important decisions, but if you’ve repainted 20 times within a year or two perhaps you should take a break for a while. I think of it like smelling perfume. After several samples everything can just start to smell the same and you simply have to walk away to cleanse your senses before starting again.
If you are having trouble with colours, for example, think: what do I want this room to feel like? What makes me happy? If you find blues gloomy and prefer cheerful yellows, that’s a start. If after 40 yellows you still haven’t found it, maybe it’s time to reconsider. Take a step back, think about other things and approach it like a fun hobby. Look at magazines and websites and take note of what images appeal to you. What about these photographed rooms do you like? Is it the type of furniture? The colours used? The orientation of the space plan/ furniture set-up? It’s like shopping for your brain and emotions!
Maybe you took a life changing trip to Africa, or you have a favourite restaurant. Try to surround yourself with your own interpretation of these things that make you happy or remind you of things that are important to you. Use some artifacts, pictures, or textiles from Africa to remind you of that awesome trip. If you love the décor in a particular restaurant maybe take some notes the next time you’re there and try to incorporate that style into your own space. Sometimes hiring a decorator for this part is a good idea as translating decorating principles from one space to another can be difficult.
What are activities that soothe you? Do you love to bake? Maybe if you’re planning to renovate your kitchen, keep that in mind. Choose a countertop like caesarstone, quartz, or granite so that you can put a hot pan directly onto it without damaging it. Choose an awesome oven that works beautifully for baking. These things may be expensive, but if they are important to you, you can rejig the rest of the budget to splurge on those specific things. Maybe you can choose less expensive options for flooring, lighting, or cabinets to make room in the budget for these things that will pay for themselves in use.
If you really love to read maybe splurge on a really awesome chair, ottoman, or chaise that can go over by that window. Maybe add a nice lamp next to it and a cozy pillow or two. This creates a special space that becomes perfectly suited to what you love to do. You might even make more time to do these “happy-making” activities simply because this space is so customized and inviting. Suddenly having the “perfect” colour on the walls or those specific drapes doesn’t seem so important and all-consuming.
My point is this: Try not to stress over things like having the perfect paint colour. It is a pain, but if it needs to be changed down the road it can be. Having the perfect house with perfect decorating isn’t as important as just being happy. Creating a sanctuary and a home can be as simple as just feeling at home there. Take it from me, the OCD cleaner and decorator. This is a lesson I’m still learning, but it’s a good one! Super cheesy rant is over!