Conquering Analysis Paralysis~Decorate Fearlessly

Today's post is dedicated to a problem that has affected all of us, including myself.

It's become a decorating epidemic.

Analysis Paralysis.
{Click here to see the Wikipedia definition}

It's like seeing the trees for the forest and not the forest for the trees. 
  Sometimes we are so afraid of making a decor mistake that we over analyze every detail and end up not doing anything.  

I think most of the time, fear of making a mistake that will cost money is the cause of the paralysis.  Another reason is an unrealistic desire for perfection.  Sometimes we get tripped up by one detail and it prevents us from taking another step forward.  

The other day, I was suffering from this condition while working on a design plan.
I quickly shot this photo from my computer and asked myself, "Sarah, what would you tell this person suffering from analysis paralysis?"...

Here are the tips I give myself and clients suffering from Analysis Paralysis:

1.  Give up the idea of perfection.  Decide to make your space better as opposed to perfect.  
"Better may not be perfect but, better is still...better". 

2.  Make a plan.  Tackle one project at a time, one space at a time to keep yourself from becoming overwhelmed.  Once the plan for one space has been executed, move on to the next.

3.  Put a time limit on the creation of the plan.  Give yourself a deadline to complete the plan.  This will give you time to carefully weigh your options before making decisions but, it will force you to make decisions.

4.  Once it's ready, don't second guess your plan.  Stick to it and follow through.  If something unexpected arises and you need to re-think the plan, go back to step number three and put a time limit on the new plan.  The unexpected usually makes the space better in the end. Sometimes it's nice to have a buddy that you can bounce ideas off of.  Someone who knows you well and will keep you on track.  

5.  You can ease a lot of your fears by keeping big ticket items somewhat neutral and take your decorating risks with less expensive items.  This way, if you tire of the look or your color scheme changes, you can switch things out with feeling guilty.  If your fear is mainly budget driven, this tip is super important.

6.  Know when to ask for help. I have had clients spend hundreds of dollars on the wrong paint colors before calling me for a $50 in home color consultation.  Choosing paint colors, fabrics and furnishings can be tricky.  Having a professional help can save you money and frustration.   DIY projects are great, but if you are unsure of your abilities or you are not comfortable with the tools needed to complete the task, call someone for's ok.  And, may cost less in the long run.

7. This is the most important tip...Decorate fearlessly.  Have fun and don't be too serious.  If you make a purchase and it isn't right, take it back.  If you painted something and the color is off, paint it again.  Discovering what you don't like is progress.  Try not to be discouraged if it takes a few tries to get something right.  So it may take a little longer to get to your final destination.  Your house isn't going anywhere.  If you approach decorating with a light-hearted attitude, you may actually enjoy the process. Trial and error results in the best design.

8.  Design is subjective.  There are no right or wrong ways to decorate.  The most important thing is that a home is a reflection of the people that live there.  "He who is happiest, is he who finds peace in his home".   For true contentment,  Decorate for yourself and your lifestyle, not to impress others.  

I love to see and hear what you guys have been up to.  Please stop by my facebook page and post a pic or tell me about your latest project.  Your project may just be the inspiration someone else needs to conquer their decorating paralysis.  

For information on my affordable online design service, Please click here


  1. Great tips, I tend to be one that will take risks w/decorating. But I know lots of people who can benefit from your tips!

  2. Great post! I need to work on being more fearless with my decorating. All of your tips are right on!

  3. Wonderful post!! I know sometimes I just stall because I'm not sure if an idea will work!! I will come back to this post for courage!! :))

  4. Thanks so much! This is just what I need to complete my bedroom project!

  5. What an awesome post! I think I am more likely to have "analysis paralysis" when money is involved. And because it drives my husband crazy if I change things all the time!

  6. I love every bit of this post...wish I would have read it last week ;) I just finished two E-designs and about had my head explode. (graphic, yes) I had so many ideas and creative thoughts that I was questioning and setting aside some really good stuff. I love the time limit idea. Definitely will be putting this to use.

  7. I love your blog! I love your decorating style too! I love white decorating, but also love the beige, taupe, french grays,cafe latter type colors mixed w/whites & black. I do think those colors look great with home that have WHITE trim. I unfortunately live in an older home with med dark oak trim!I would just love to paint it white, but that's not happening! What colors would you suggest to go with darker trim when you want to brighten the room, & love all those types of colors?

  8. I totally have this problem. Thanks for the tips!


  9. We just moved into a new house and I have definitely been struck with analysis paralysis! The entire house is like a giant blank canvas and I am so overwhelmed... I have plenty of things but they all look like ME and I want our first home to look like US! So, I just haven't hung a thing because I'm waiting to find something perfect but it's driving. me. crazzzzy! Thanks for the tips! Hopefully they will help me get to work!



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