Don’t you just LOVE when you can learn from other peoples mistakes?
Before you get started on your next home design project, here are some lessons I’ve learned the hard way so that you beautiful people don’t have to!
1) Paint Color FAIL
I’d like to think I’m a pretty chill “go with the flow” type of gal that takes her time on everything…
*cue eye rolls and scoffing from husband*
Okay real-talk that’s completely and utterly FALSE but hey! At least I can be honest with myself! When it came to picking out a paint color for our living room/dining room at our old house we were already 6 months deep in renovations and all I wanted was ONE. COMPLETED. PROJECT. So I hastily made my way to Home Depot where in approximately 3 minutes I picked a dark gray that I believed would look nice in our space and bought 3 gallons of pure liquid happiness. I went home and painted every square inch of our boring white walls with what I had decided was my “dream” gray and was so excited to finally have something completed in our home! As I stepped back to admire my beautiful gray walls all I could think was:
- I’ve turned this uninhabited cave into a palace
- I’m literally the Picasso of our generation
- Houston, we have a completed project
Yes the paint color looked a little off…but it always looks like that until it dries right? RIGHT? Well later that night after all the paint had dried I decided to show my husband when he got home from work the amaziness that was our new wall color. He looked at me with that “I love you so much but I want to say something that will absolutely crush your soul so instead I’m just going to stand here and smile” look in his eyes that said exactly what I was thinking and feeling…
It’s BLUE! The mother-loving walls are BLUE!
Yep, you heard it right folks. Every square inch of our walls were now a blue that I had only previously seen in my nightmares. This meant not only had I wasted money and time on painting these wall but now I had to turn right around and do it all over again.
After a *small* meltdown I put on my big-girl pants and eventually got the walls to their gray glory that I had wanted for so long. Here are some helpful tips you should follow so you don’t end up living in a real-life blueberry house like I did:
- Search for colors and palettes online and try to find real-life images of those paint colors being used in other peoples spaces. Pinterest and Google are your friend people!
- Purchase a handful of SAMPLE-SIZED containers of paint in a few different colors that you are fond of. Paint each sample on your wall (just a small square a few inches in diameter) so that once all the paint dries you will have a better opportunity of picking the right color for your space.
- Splurge on the higher end all-in-one paint and primer. I cannot stress how much time and energy this saved (especially having to paint over a gawd-awful blue). I would highly suggest BEHR Marquee one-coat interior paint…your sanity and shoulders will thank you.
2) Measure Twice; Hammer Once
For someone who is super detail-oriented and loves structure I really struggled with the whole “measuring and leveling” mentality that went along with decorating. I used to think it was just my artistic side trying to make an appearance…when in reality I was just pumped about getting to decorate our space and I didn’t want to take the time (or patience) in making sure things fit or were installed correctly. AKA I was being lazzzzy.
It doesn’t seem like a big deal…until it is. I can specifically remember one rainy evening a small earthquake (no joke) shook our entire house and subsequently knocked a large framed photo off a ledge…and right on top of my poor husbands head. To this day I think he still low-key believes I was secretly planning his demise…when in reality I was just skipping corners and didn’t want to anchor the picture.
It’s all fun and games UNTIL a man gets a scratch on his head…
So without further ado here are some little nuggets you can take away from my failed install attempts that will *hopefully* make your life easier and maybe even save someones head from any jerry-rigged hanging decor.
- Get comfortable using your tape measure…this includes measuring the same space multiple times to ensure you have everything documented correctly. I can’t tell you how many times I would measure a space and have the same measurement 2 times in a row…but then would measure one last time and would get a completely different measurement that was actually correct.
- Don’t be afraid to mark up your walls. Erasing pencil marks is a whole lot easier than having to fill/sand/paint nail holes y’all.
- Use a stud-finder (insert cheesy *you found one* comment from husband…). Really though this was a lifesaver when it came to making sure I just used screws or if I needed to use an anchoring product for my screws. You ever try to accidentally install an anchor into a piece of wood? Failure of epic proportions.
- Always use anchors or some sort of support structure when hanging items directly onto drywall. One of my favorite finds for hanging photos is the Hillman Gorilla Picture Hanger Hooks..these bad boys easily slide into your drywall and leave a small hook for hanging. They can hold up to 50 lbs and leave virtually zero damage once they are removed!
3) Impulse Buying…Just Say No
This one is so difficult…especially when it’s your first home and those nesting feels start coming in HARD.
There you are, innocently checking your emails, when BAM you get slapped in the face with a *25% OFF ENTIRE PURCHASE!* email from your favorite decor store. All of the sudden you start thinking of all the things you SHOULD get instead of the things you NEED to get.
That’s not to say we have zero self-control — it’s just that buying ourselves a little somethin’-somethin’ (especially on sale) can provide a momentary feeling of excitement that makes us feel good & validated for that said purchase…even if its something we don’t need!
To sum it up in 3 words…Target Dollar Section.
A better alternative is to take charge of your spending by putting up boundaries that help resist the urge to splurge. Here are a few tricks that might help:
- Unsubscribe from all store emails…because the last thing you need is temptation constantly rearing its ugly head in your inbox. Just hit that unsubscribe button and rid yourself of unnecessary baiting. *GET BEHIND ME DISCOUNT-SATAN!*
- Pay in cash. Its a lot easier to not think through a purchase when you just swipe a card or click a button…but when you’re physically forking out your hard-earned cash you may think twice about buying that item.
- Focus on what you LOVE versus what you LIKE. If you find a chair that you’re obsessed with…walk away from it for a few days. Really imagine it in your space and in your long-term visions of your house! This removes the “impulse” part of the purchase so that; when and if you go back for that chair; you know its because you are certain of the purchase and wont have buyers remorse afterwards.
- Figure out your triggers and keep them in check! If your trigger is clicking away on Amazon-Prime and getting instant gratification from free 2-day shipping–cancel your membership. If you’re like me and have ZERO self control when it comes to seeing items in person and wanting to take the entire store home with you (*COUGH* Hobby Lobby *COUGH*) then stay away from those stores where you struggle.
4) Take Your Time
I get it. You want to see the fruits of your labor. That feeling of “crossing the finish line” and watching a space transform into your vision is unmatched! However, once the rose-colored glasses of completion are removed and you see that space every day you may start to see things that bother you.
Instant Regret Sets In
You might start to question things like “Have those pictures always been crooked?” or “How did I not notice those curtain rods were installed too low?”. All of these little things can lead to an overall unhappiness of a space you once loved…simply due to rushing through your design process.
Here are some steps you can take to help prevent a short-lived love for your space:
- Set a realistic timeline for yourself that is flexible…this can assist in alleviating that need to “HURRY HURRY HURRY!” in a space.
- If you are going to attach and/or hang items in your space make sure you are taking your time with installation. Its a major bummer when you spend so much time and effort putting together a space…only to see the flaws afterwards that could of easily been avoided if you had just taken your time.
- You want this to be a space that you love; so fill it with the things and style that you love! Rushing to fill a space can lead to buyers remorse and can also make your space fall flat when compared to your original desired outcome. You have to remember that you want YOUR space to show YOUR personality!
5) Carelessly Picking House-Plants
The road to decorating a home is paved with good intentions and wishful thinking. Like that dreamy fiddle-leaf tree everyone seems to have on every social media platform…It’s pure joy once you get that precious plant-baby into your home and decide that (as a plant-mom) you need to name it and speak sweet-nothings into it’s little leaf-ears!
It’s everything you ever dreamed of! This is…until a few weeks pass where you completely forgot about your plants existence and it’s dead. Like dead-dead. Now that blood is forever on your hands all because you denied your black-thumb destiny and tried to live a facade!
House plants can certainly help brighten up a room and bring texture and character to a space, but holy crap why are they so dang difficult to keep alive?!
Here are some tips to try and help alleviate any untimely plant-deaths in your household:
- Do your research on whichever plant you are wanting; making sure to read multiple articles from several sources. Also don’t be afraid to go to an actual nursery and talk to a professional about what you are wanting…it’s their job to know this kind of stuff!
- Forgetful like me? Maybe look into low maintenance plants like succulents that don’t need at lot of water or attention and can thrive almost completely on their own. You can also use slow-release soil that helps with over or under-watering your plants as well as slow-release watering kits.
- Be realistic with yourself. If you struggle with keeping plants alive maybe look at investing in realistic faux plants…they are cost efficient and kill-proof!