5 Bad Decorating Habits to Stop: How to Decorate For YOU!

I don’t know about you, but I second-guess every decorating decision. We moved into this house coming up on 4 years, and most of the rooms still feel “unfinished” because I just can’t figure out what I want a room to look like.

I know, I’m lame.

I would like to contribute my lack of decorating productivity to being super busy (just blame it on the kids, right? LOL). But the truth is that I have been making 5 bad decorating habits ever since moving into this house.

And it’s time to knock it off, already!

The 5 Bad Decorating Habits to STOP - Thrift Diving Blog

 

 

1. STOP asking for permission on how to decorate.

If you want turquoise on every square inch of your walls, do it! Why do we need to ask our friends…..our mom…..post it on Facebook to let social media decide how our homes should look? If you like a look, just do it.

For me?? I love turquoise. Seriously, nearly all the painted walls in my house are some shade of turquoise-y goodness (my favorites are Sherwin Williams Rainwashed) like my bedroom, and Sherwin Williams Sea Salt in my master bathroom and foyer. My blogging room is Sherwin Williams Window Pane, with is the lighter version of Rainwashed.

You see where I’m going with this, right….? ;)

Decorate how you love.

master bedroom

(Oh, and my thrifted craft room is also turquoise!)

Thrift Diving Craft Room IN PROGRESS

2. STOP ignoring your feelings.

I am tired of cringing every time I come home. I want to come home and feel like a queen in a pretty, clean, well-organized home (um, I wish my kids could read this–clean, I say!!). If you’re walking into your home and you’re not feeling like it’s your oasis, it’s time to change some things. That’s what I’m trying to do! Listen to what your gut is telling you, and if something is not working, change it.

 

3. STOP comparing your home on Pinterest.

I have a love/hate relation with Pinterest. This is why:

Logging on to Pinterest is like arriving to a black tie event wearing a potato sack everyone else looks awesome and you walk in feeling like Franny Frump a lump 2

My house looks nothing like what those other chicks’ places look like. My house feels like an “Eclectic Nightmare” because everything doesn’t fit well together yet, and I have limited time and money to pull a room together to look so Better Homes and Garden-worthy. But you know what? We’ve got to stop this comparison. Inspiration is good, but let’s not have inspiration cause frustration. Let’s appreciate the fact that we even have homes, when so many people are homeless, living out of cars. The home we have, we’ve got to be thankful for it. And make that home as pretty as it can be. And love it for protecting us in cold winters and cooling us in hot summers.

 

Here’s a video I recorded to bring home this message — Stop Thinking You Have an Ugly House

 

4. STOP buying “anything” and “everything.”

Okay, you know how we thrift divers love a good deal (and if you’ve been a long-time reader of this blog, you know I fully support impulse buying at the thrift store.) I have bought many ‘a things just because it was a smokin’ deal. But later, I realize that it’s either “not me” or that I just don’t LOVE it. But for some reason, I’ve got it sitting around for whatever reason. I’m on a new kick now to start buying only the things I love, and leaving the things I “like” for other people that may “love” it!

 

5. STOP trying to be perfect.

I spend too much time trying to make things look and feel perfect. Do you do this, too? Going forward, I’m going to fill my house with the things that I love and that make my house my oasis of coziness and comfort! Every picture won’t have to be perfect. My sofa won’t have to be manicured perfectly with pillows. In fact, it may even be milk-stained with mashed veggie nuggets underneath of it :) But as long as it’s cozy and cheerful, it will be perfect for my family :)

 

Do you struggle with any of these bad decorating habits, too? Leave a comment below and add to the discussion! 

 

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Photo: Courtesy Free Digital Photos 

 

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About the Author ()

Hey there, I'm Serena, a 36-year-old working mom of 3 young boys who can't get enough DIY! If you actually made it to the bottom of this post to read this, it means you're really enjoy my blog. That means SO much. If I can inspire just one person through my passion and energy for DIY, then I'm fulfilling my life's purpose. Thanks for joining me, and I hope you'll subscribe so we can keep in touch! ~Serena

Comments (50)

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  1. Lannie Patel says:

    I am guilty of all of those things!! from buying things at the thrift store because I like it and think I will use it in my scheme to, deciding what colors I want to paint the rooms, to I want my house to look like so and so’s ugh…… I am a fantasy home decorator, crafter! sorry I don’t have any suggestions, But I do love the colors in your room and craft room !!

    • Lannie, ha! You have said it perfectly! “Fantasy home decorator”! I love it! Can I borrow that term? :) I think I am, too! I really think we should just take it one room at a time, and then start from the very basic questions: “How do I want to FEEL in this room?” and “What is going to be the PURPOSE of this room?” I think if we start from that, we can figure it out! Thanks so much for commenting!

  2. Lisa Gresham says:

    I love following you and yes, I have all of these problems. Moved into my husbands house 3 years ago after we got married and he had been a single dad of 4 kids for 15 yrs!! Wow! yep, its true!! He had a server and computer in the kitchen when I got here and the bathroom upstairs has pink ceramic tile!! I have painted ever room and still trying to find my way to decorate the way our laid back style is searching for. He is so very good and let’s me do because he knows I search the thrift stores and find my cool stuff on Craigslist. I follow you so I can get that room just how I want it. With a zero budget and my front door is turquoise, yes I continue on….. I am also a turquoise kind of gal. If only I could get my office/craft room to look like yours…..

    • Wow, 4 kids as a single dad?! Okay, he is AWESOME! I can see how he wouldn’t have had time to focus on decorating. Who has time for that? I’m sure he appreciated a woman’s touch when you guys got married! Have you gotten to the bathroom yet? Our bathrooms are VERY outdated, too! I’d take your pink tile over our GREEN TOILET any day! HAHAH!

  3. Rene says:

    I love this post! I decorate part time in addition to my day job. I am constantly telling clients that their house should reflect them, not the latest fad in shelter mags and Homegoods. My husband recently said to me, “I love coming home to our home. It’s so comfortable.” To me that’s one of the highest compliments he can give me. And trust me, one year ago our fixer upper house was the farthest from comfortable as possible.

    • Rene, that’s the best advice you can give people! Sometimes it’s so hard for it to reflect you because you just don’t know what you want, and you think that what you want isn’t “chic” enough and you must set some other standard. It shouldn’t be about that, like you said. When you come home, it should be a warm, cozy feeling, not a “UGH! What did I just walk in to!?” LOL. Thanks for commenting!!

  4. Pj says:

    Great article! I agree, decorate your house for how you & your family live, not according to anyone else’s expectations. Over the years I’ve been guilty of procrastinating instead of starting a project, because I have to find the “best” solution. Now that we’re involved in the Project To End All Projects (see website for details), I feel more certain of how I want to decorate for the long term. It’s still a struggle to resist the urge for perfection, but once I’m settled on a plan I don’t often change my mind. I just have to accept that it won’t happen quickly in such a large house that has had few interior upgrades for nearly 40 years.

  5. Sharon says:

    we are now getting ready to move into the recently rehabbed new house. Leaving my comfortable and beautiful home. I’m already cringing because I have to choose all this stuff ALL over again because the new one just doesn’t have the same vibe. I love/hate pinterest too. I’m so not ready to do this again, I just got this one perfect.

    • Oh no, Sharon!!! How come you’re moving? The good news is that you have a starting point. Since you’ve already done a beautiful house, you can use that one as inspiration for the new house. And, you can totally pick the same color scheme and everything! Remember, whatever makes you feel comfortable! No rules! :)

  6. I love turquoise too! But all the rooms are yellow. We live in our duplex which is also a rental and yellow was the paint that was on sale! lol Thanks for the tip! Linda

    • Hey, LInda! The good news is that turquoise and yellow go so nicely together, so you can pull turquoise into the yellow! Plus, yellow is a color that can be paired with lots of other colors! You’re luck y there! :)

  7. My house is decorated to my taste. Every room is a different color. And I love my house!

  8. Bianca says:

    I will admit that decorating is a serious intimidating factor to me. We’ve moved OFTEN and it’s been often enough that I have never really put in a real effort into decorating for the long haul. Each time I’ve learned something new that I liked or didn’t, but inevitably it doesn’t work in the next house :p This move will be our last one for a LONG time so I look forward to taking my time and really settling into this home, making it ours.

    • Yeah, it’s hard if you’re having to move often. You can’t ever truly “settle in” because why bother, right? Maybe the solution is to just choose a bunch of colors that you KNOW you love, regardless of anything else–just that you love them. And then, whenever you move, you sort through that stack of colors and fabrics and then figure out where to place them. That’s got to be easier than just starting from total scratch each time, right? Good luck with your upcoming move! Thanks for commenting! Appreciate it :)

  9. Denise says:

    Love this post. I stick by those all of the time myself, but its a good reminder that I am doing the right things. That its ok if I leave a space empty or with my daughters toys until I find the right piece to go there. And that pinterest can only be a place for inspiration..not to attempt to try to replicate (because that aint gonna work). Thanks for starting the thread in Haven Group. Great idea!

  10. DesignedByBH says:

    I absolutely love it! I think it’s so important to be true to yourself and not worry about what the current trend is, or if other people will approve. You’re the one living in your home! Now, if it’s your goal to get into a magazine for your awesome house and you happen to have horrible personal taste (ie: green shag carpet and purple zebra striped walls), you might want to get some direction from others…but that’s the only time! :)
    Great post!

  11. Stephanie says:

    This is seriously great advice. We are in the middle of building a new house and I am getting seriously overwhelmed by all the choices and trying hard to reflect on what I’m buying because I actually like and will like forever and what I only think I like because it’s trendy right now.

    • Oooh, congrats on getting a new house built! That sounds so exciting! And CLEAN :) A blank slate for you to begin. YAY! Maybe try taking it one room at a time? When I have just honed in on one room, I’m more successful. Good luck and congrats on your purchase!

  12. Cindy says:

    Preach it, sister. I love this post. Is it ironic if I go pin it?! ;)

  13. Johanne says:

    Ooh Serena -your post totally hit home. I’ve spent too much time being frustrated and questioning. I now am appreciative of what I have and take pride in the fact that I’m not in debt for fancy couches. I turn to Pinterest and magazines for inspiration. I no longer look at a complete picture in a magazine and wish I had it, I take bits and pieces and turn into my own. This attitude did not come overnight, it came after years and years or personal therapy-lol.

    • HAHAHA, personal therapy… I love it! I have a friend (who probably won’t read this, so I can talk about her, LOL) who I visited in June. Her apartment-sized coop isn’t decorated fancy at ALL. But she’s made it SUCH a reflection of what (and HOW) she values, that she’s got birthday and Christmas cards having on the walls….along with artwork from her 7 year old….along with shiny balloons that someone had given her for her baby shower months ago (that are now deflated and used as wall art). It isn’t by any means something that you’d ever see on a blog, per se, but it’s COZY, and it’s a reflection of what she cherishes. I am learning from her :)
      Thanks for commenting!!!

  14. Hi Serena! Guilty as charged with #3! As a blogger and in my own home, I get so frustrated sometimes that my house (or photos of my house, for that matter) don’t look like the magazine ready rooms I see all over Pinterest. But you know what my house is ME! And that’s all that matters! :) I just love this post!!

    • Thank you so much, Candace! We have to keep in mind that those homes are STAGED. I sure they’re beautiful in person, too, but we probably don’e see the mound of toys pushed to the side out of view! HA! :) Thanks for commenting!

  15. This is a great post! I’m guilty of comparing as well! I’m sharing this on facebook! ~Sonya

  16. Danneel Mitchell says:

    Thank you for this post!!!! I love junk, vintage and anything from the 50’s. However, I also have a love for vintage doilies! Of course I went a little over board and now my place looks like a old funeral home. Luckily, I have a few people who are willing to take some of them off my hand!:)

  17. Claudia says:

    #4 and $5 should be posted on my wall and in my truck so I can see them before I leave the house and get out of my vehicle to go INTO a thrift store! Sigh…maybe a tattoo would work better. ;)

  18. Jena says:

    Such great advice, Serena! I think all of these have applied to me at one point or another. I know I have a hard time not comparing to others and worrying about what people will think of my choices.

  19. Sarah says:

    I am totally guilty of the first two! Especially #2…I know exactly what you mean about cringing when you walk in the door. There are rooms in my house that I totally avoid for that reason! It’s ridiculous. :)

  20. Elizabeth says:

    Sounds like you & I are alike in our decorating/shopping woes. I recently had the same “talk” with myself about the decorating and picking up that “good deal” because it may look great…only to find it looked much nicer on display in that store.
    I like good deals, I love finding the special things that make me happy to see them every day in my home. They are harder to find when I am indecisive on colors, decor patterns, etc…
    It is my time to start the change process again in my home. I like so many different colors and heard quite a while back that is is best to use a nice color palette throughout your home and add shades of the same coordinating colors for accents. (Is that a perfect world, or what?)
    So glad I found your site. I am enjoying reading these posts because now, I don’t feel so alone in this decorating dilemma!
    I like your color choices.

    • OMG, Elizabeth, I just saw that you posted a comment to this blog post of mine and I don’t think I ever responded! EEK! I’m so sorry! :) Sometimes a comment will slip through.

      Hope you don’t mind me responding now? :)

      Yep, you’re not alone on the decorating dilemmas! I finally realize that I love soft color palettes that are pastel-y with light colors furniture. It feels so much more breezy and pretty than dark colors. BLEH! How has the change been going in your house? Are you making much progress? I still have a couple rooms in my house that haven’t been TOUCHED since we moved in 3 years ago! I”m talking GREEN, worn toilet in the kids’ bathroom! And the laundry room, don’t get me started on that…. LOL

  21. Tabitha Vos says:

    I fight with myself so much on decorating and find myself sitting in an undecorated room very often. I know what I want in my head, can see it there but for now the walls are still empty canvas’ One of these days I am just going to get inside this head and pull out the ideas that I know are in there and then smile as I pin MY CREATIONS on Pinterest. Great post!

    • So what’s stopping you? Maybe start with how you want to feel when you walk in the room. What paint color would make you happiest? I like a very simple style. I don’t do a lot of fussy stuff. Clean lines and soft colors, with a little pop of color here and there. Do you ever go to Houzz.com? You might find some decorating ideas there, too, that aren’t on Pinterest! :)

  22. Karen says:

    Serena I just love you! Love your down-to-earth take on life. I don’t do Pinterest or Houzz (much), but even watching HGTV I get so frustrated seeing 20 year-olds buying their first house demanding a 4 BR 3 B mansion, and turning their nose up at what they’re offered, because it’s not “good enough”. People have become way to focused on material stuff. Don’t get me wrong I love my house and what I’ve been able to do but I soooooooooooooo appreciate what you said in your video! Rock on!!!!

    • Yeah, Pinterest is like the ex-boyfriend you want to hate–you love looking at him because he’s so cute, but you makes you feel like crap! LOL After too long, I have to close out Pinterest because it’s overwhelmingly pretty and perfect and the light is “just so” on every shot. My house, there’s crumbs under the desk, discarded kids socks in the corner, and piles of toys dumped out of the toy baskets! But it’s my house, and it may not look like an HGTV feature, but I know that I’m doing the best I can with whatever resources I have (which aren’t many!). LOL Thanks so much for commenting, Karen! Hope to see you around on the next posts! :)

  23. Jo Scarpino says:

    I agree with your list mostly because I am guilty of all of them! Sometimes it takes reading them to realize, hey, it’s my house- I can do what I want!
    Also happy to see your use of Rainwashed in your room. I have been stalking that color for years! Lol!

    • Hi Jo! Yep, guilty here as well!
      Rainwashed is sooooo pretty. I used the one-lighter-color on the color card for my blogging room (aka formal living room area) called Window Pane. It’s just as lovely!!

  24. Allison says:

    Hey Serena, I love your craft room! I think that turquoise and design is fantastic. I also want to comment on your point that you should stop asking for permission to decorate your house a certain way.

    I’m sure a lot of people seek out approval from others to validate their own decorating idea. Perhaps they simply aren’t sure. But in the end, it’s their house and they can do whatever they want! If they don’t like it, then they can change it and you can have another project on your hands! But I agree, you shouldn’t be only decorating your house the way someone else approves of.

    • Hey there, Allison! Thanks for the compliments on my craft room! I think it’s because Pinterest is so popular now, that it’s easier to compare your space to someone’s online. And if you feel like your space doesn’t measure up, you feel bad about it. Well, you can only compare your space “before” to your space “after.” That’s all that matters! :) And if you feel comfortable in that space, you know? Thanks for the comment!!

  25. Kori says:

    I loved this! As a real estate agent, a pinterest junkie, a thrift shop queen and a fantasy decorator, I relate to all of this! I see a lot of really nice homes (and some not so great) and I always dream of having my home a certain way… but I can’t pull off those looks because I just don’t have the money. What I’m good at doing (and what makes me comfortable) is a slightly kitschy, whimsical, eclectic look. It isn’t the clean and polished Martha Stewart look by any means, but it’s cute, and it’s me. I have had a problem in the past with getting things I only like rather than love but they don’t really go with my home and they end up in a pile… now I plan in advance what I’d like where… and I wait until I find what I’m looking for exactly. Anyway, I like to know there are others out there like me, lol. Thanks

    • Hey there, Kori! Yep, I am limited, too! But then I realized that if I put all my focus into transforming that one space, I can usually pull out something really good! And you are so right, it’s about going with your own style. I feel that Pinterest has a certain look circulating around, and if you don’t have that look, your house isn’t “good enough.” But it’s just an image. We have to be true to our own decorating styles! Thanks so much for sharing your side! :)

  26. You’re spot on with all of these. I’m especially guilty of #1. I’m always terrified about wasting money on decorating disasters or putting stuff together that will end up looking hideous to everyone else. And there’s my decorating fantasy (unlimited $, time and the clean, uncluttered look I want) versus my reality (budget limits, 3 messy kids to homeschool, & the things we need to have in the house). My sister-in-law is a decorator and constantly changing & staging stuff in her house, and it would always make me feel like I needed to update things more or go for perfect Pinterest looks than what I put together myself. I’ve started to realize it’s crazy to decorate your house for people who don’t live in it. While she’s got a trendy magazine spread feel in hers, it’s not the kind of place I could really live in. Kind of like a stylish hotel lobby – it looks cool, but you’re not going to feel relaxed enough to hang out in your robe & eat snacks in it.

    • Oh, the KIDS……..I HEAR YOU! Loud and clear! This morning I trying to throw my hands up and proclaim that I would focus on my blogging and I was NOT going to clean and worry about how the house looked. THEN….I started stepping on crumbs on my floor and my OCD kicked in. LOL. At first I fumed, “Why can’t this house just be NICE and CLEAN?!?!” And as I was sweeping, I though, “You know….one day there won’t be anyone here to mess it up. The kids will be grown….I’ll be old…And it will be pristine.” And it was a sad thought. SOOO….with that being said, as moms with 3 kids, there is only so much “clean and perfect” we’ll ever have. And that’s okay. As long as we try our best, and learn to deal with pillows strewn over the floor or built into forts. :)

      Thanks, Cheryl!!!!!

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