Brave New Home

creating authenticity where it matters most

The 4 Most Paralyzing Decorating Fears and How to Overcome Them – Fear 1


If you feel like you’re always apologizing for your home saying things like, “Uh, you can put your drink right over…let me clear this off…here,” or if your home doesn’t feel like your favorite pair of jeans (on a good day), you might need a little push to help you get started.  Or, more like myself, a nice firm kick (we slept on a mattress on the floor for about two years.  And yes, I still do consider myself an adult).

Some apologies are fine (hey, scouring Craiglist for the perfect zebra print king sized headboard takes time) but you shouldn’t have to substitute successes with apologies your whole life.  If you’re not lacking in ideas (if you have a Pinterest account then consider yourself not lacking in ideas) but it’s acting on them that’s a whole other story, keep reading, sistah!

So what’s so daunting about taking your living room from theory to real life?  Fear.  Of course, that can be broken down into lots of little sub-fears: the fear that you’ll get tired of that wing back chair you splurged on, the fear that even a dark colored rug will still be a sure fire stain attractor, the fear that decorating from places you can afford (hellooooo Big Lots!) will look cheap, or the fear that, gasp!, your starter home won”t look identical to a home on the cover of Architectural Digest.

Let’s go over the four main fears that create decorating paralysis (sounds like some sort of life-threatening disease, maybe “decorating cold feet” is more appropriate?) and debunk them.  Just like that!

Fear 1: I just don’t know know where to start.
This is the most common source of anxiety that has the potential to overwhelm people (myself included) before they even start.  I remember when we first moved into our home, days after welcoming Anak into the world, and having the thought, “I can’t even find the time (or strength for that matter!) to take a shower (okay, I really wanted to say ‘sit on the toilet’ but talk of toilets has a gross factor of +10 so I’m told), how am I ever going to get around to making this place livable?!”  So lots of things stayed in lots of boxes and stuff found make shift homes wherever they wound up (like stuffed animals in the bathroom).  When The Hubs and I got married, we both came from living with family.  That meant we had nothing in the way of furniture, household appliances, much of anything to help furnish our new lives together.
Our very first meal together in our new place was soup.  We opened the container and then asked each other, “How are we going to heat this up?  We don’t even own a pot!”  (Answer: microwave!  Duh!).  You can see from the above photo that we did, however, have a bottle opener.  I call that priorities.

If your task at hand is to furnish an entire house or condo, like ours was, and you ask yourself, “How the heck am I going to furnish this whole place?!” you’re just going to freak yourself out.  So don’t.  Ask yourself, “How am I going to go about creating seating in the living room?”  Or, “How am I going to get the basics of my bedroom, a bed, nightstand, and armoire by the end of this month?”  Be realistic and give yourself manageable timelines.  If Turkey Day is around the corner and you’re planning on hosting, make a goal to have the dining room area set up by the holiday (and start in July if at all possible!).


Basically, you divide and conquer.  How does Adam Richman of Man Vs. Food Nation (who, by the way, ate his way through San Diego, w00t w00t!) conquer unthinkable food challenges like eating a 12 lb. hamburger?  One bite at a time :P  But also, he cuts up the burger into sections in essence creating mini (or, for most people, normal) sized burgers.  An aside:  I love food.  I love watching other people eat food.  I love men (well, one man) who love to eat food!  Consider yourself introduced to my love of food.

Here’s how this might work:  Let’s say the previous owners gifted you with lovely wall-to-wall yellow/orange flower wallpaper circa 1970.  Joy.  Instead of thinking, “Ahhh! This is gonna take forever!,” which further lends itself to a feeling of being overwhelmed, take on tiny tasks each day.  Pick out one room to start with.  One week, spend some time deciding how you want the room to look and feel.  Friday, drop by the store to pick up supplies.  Saturday, prep the room by getting all the furniture in the center, read over all the directions of the supplies you bought.  Sunday, move into the current century and by that I mean remove the darn stuff!  Next weekend, touch up the walls and paint.  You get the picture.  And if you need little things to get excited about and motivate you, by all means, indulge a bit and jump back and forth between steps.  It might not be the most logical thing to buy accessories before tackling the wallpaper but,  Removing wallpaper = not fun.  Getting my hands on some Martha Stewart color samples and snagging a Nate Berkus urn from Target = happy face.  I’m delineating each tiny step here because that’s how bigger projects get done.

Did fear keep your inner decorating diva stopped dead in her tracks?  How did you take that first step?

Author: Jennifer @ Brave New Home

Hi! I'm Jennifer from Brave New Home ( I blog about overcoming fear and transforming a house into a home one DIY project at a time.