Combating Design Indecision

I kinda had a moment early on while S and I were discussing an expensive upgrade/repair we want need to make to the house. I was waffling back and forth, procrastinating like it’s my job, and just out right delayed calling for quotes/consultations as long as I possibly could. Picture me telling him that I’d call around for estimates tomorrow but “tomorrow” turned into next week and the “next week(s)” just kept on coming.

The problem? I didn’t know what I wanted. Therefore…I didn’t know what to ask for.

S is kinda the guy that would prefer an already “finished” house (one he doesn’t have to renovate, rip apart, just to put back together) – but he’s also smart enough to know that, for me (lover of all things interior and design), no house will ever be “finished”. Through this entire renovation journey, he islearning to love the process and realizing that no cookie cutter house could ever be as great as the one we’re creating with our own two hands. But he has moments where he gets stuck in that “what-did-we-get-ourselves-into?” and “I-can’t-see-the-light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel” state of mind and just can’t grasp why I’m so frozen with indecision sometimes.
To him, a door is a door. Grey is grey. But no, my friends, it’s not. Po-tay-toe, po-tah-toe.
So when it came time to make this decision I was undecided about what it was I wanted vs what we could afford and I just couldn’t – as he put it – “hurry up and decide”. At first he didn’t understand and was annoyed but I was feeling pressured and rushed into making a huge (not to mention expensive) decision about OUR house that I just wasn’t ready to make. I hadn’t thought it out long enough, gathered enough inspiration, researched all the options, the best materials, contractors…and frankly, I just wasn’t well informed.

After explaining to him that even though my indecision was stalling our progress and as he put it, “annoying”, it was for good reason. I want the decisions I/we make (especially the really expensive ones) to be well thought out and purposeful. The last thing I want to do is pour money into a decision that we end up hating or regretting. For the very first time in our lives we have the opportunity to give these decisions the time and consideration they deserve because when you buy a house, there really isn’t (and shouldn’t be) any rush. We’re here for 30 years.

He finally gets it.
I’m enjoying the renovation process and this stage of life that we’re in right now. As a renter, I never had the freedom or 30 years laid out before us to take all the time we could ever possibly need to make the right choices for us, for this house. By far the best thing about buying this house is that I don’t feel rushed. And I’m sorta digging it.

But if you’re like me a need a little help from time to time to get over that hump, here’s 5 ways I combat design indecision:


It’s always the first stop when starting a new room but it also helps pull me out of that funk too. I log onto my Pinterest boards to re-confirm that “hey girl, you got this”! Pinterest is a great source for inspiration and does a heck of a job compiling all my likes into one place. It’s a great at-a-glance tool to see that I pin a lot of light/bright/all white spaces and orange/red food (haha) so if I’m designing a super moody room and suddenly feel like this “isn’t me” betcha Pinterest will agree.

This isn’t to say that you can’t/shouldn’t divert from your normal aesthetic but Pinterest can also help you hone in on your evolving style too. It’s a great tool to really narrow down what you like but more importantly, what you don’t. I turn to Pinterest a lot when I’ve hit a wall and need another jolt of inspiration to push me over that hump.

Build a Board

I’ve mentioned this a few times before but after browsing Pinterest, putting together a design board is usually my next step. I’ll virtually build my room right there on the page and swap items in and out all day long. This can be very time consuming, sometimes taking me hours/days to get it to a good jumping off point. But the great thing is that it can be tweaked along the way and all my rooms usually end up with 3 or more versions of its original design after all is said and done.

Putting together a design board is a great visual road map that can be used to trigger product purchases for the room or what needs to be DIYed / hired out in order to complete your vision. Nothing is off limits here either. If in my searches I find an out-of-budget item that I just have to have, I’ll still throw it into the design and either a) find a more budget friendly look-alike option, b) scale back other aspects to afford that item, or c) save up until I can purchase my dream piece.

Sky is the limit here and when you’re paralyzed with making those design decisions, nothing’s worse than being strapped down with limitations.

When in doubt, try it out!

We’ve all been there.

You go to Target for deodorant and leave with one of everything. We take a detour down the home décor aisles, get distracted by the “pretty” things, and suddenly what started out as a $5 shopping trip turns into a $500 one. Target décor is on point these days and it’s OK to drink that Nate Berkus/Threshold kool-aide. I ain’t mad-at-cha girl!

This is by far one of the best ways to help me combat design indecision. I call it auditioning. While searching for a particular item I’ll bring home two, three, or even four options (because they’re just thatgood!) and audition them at home in their would-be-space. As a visual person, this helps me immensely! So go for it. Fill your cart up with 97 pillow options and then try them out at home. See what works and what doesn’t – what you like or don’t like. Your husband/wife might think you’re nuts but that’s what a 30 day return policy is for.  
It’s OK to change your mind

Even after I’ve done all the pre-planning and auditioning sometimes things still don’t work out and it throws me for a loop. Instead of getting stuck, I give myself permission to change my mind, course correct along the way, and you should too. Just because you put it in the basket and brought it home, doesn’t mean you’re committed to it forever. If you hate it, get rid of it. Most things aren’t that important to keep around for the sake of keeping around. You’ll love your space a whole lot more if you allow yourself a few do-overs along the way.

Spaces rarely come together over night and instead, the best spaces evolve over time. Don’t feel pressured to get it right the first time because for me, half the fun is trying.

Wait it out

Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was your house. There have been many rooms I started and then abruptly stopped because I just “wasn’t feeling it” or didn’t like the direction it was going. In fact, half my apartment sat semi-finished for most of the time we lived there and I’m prepared so sit on these rooms in our new house if I need to. That’s life.

There’s no reason to force your design choices or to make rash decisions. Some of the most well styled and put together rooms happened over time…not overnight. If you’ve hit a brick wall and don’t know what to do, buy, DIY next…wait it out. Turn your attention to another room, space, project and inspiration will come soon enough and you’ll have a clear enough vision to pick back up where you left off.

And that’s it, blog friends! Sorry for such a wordy post this Friday but we’ve all been there before and sometimes we just need a little help to get over the fear and design indecision. Anyone out there been here before? What did you do to jump start that creativity and get the ball rolling again? Do tell…

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