Brave New Home

creating authenticity where it matters most

The 4 Most Paralyzing Decorating Fears and How to Overcome Them – Fear 2


Here’s the second part to a four-part series on identifying and overcoming the fears that inhibit people from home design.  Here’s part one if you missed it.

Fear 2: I just don’t know enough about designing a home.
Let’s talk style.  Look, style doesn’t have to be a label.  You don’t need to agonize, Am I farmhouse chic with a side of global eclectic?  Or am I more Hamptons meets Urban Outfitters?  Don’t go there.  Sure, there are fun little quizzes that can be found online or in magazines (which I delight in taking!  I’m apparently Urban Funk with a touch of Boho by the way) but you don’t  have to let your results dictate your style.  Style can be simple if you let it be.  It’s simply what appeals to you, what evokes emotion.  I get kind of hung up on this myself.  I feel like if I pick the wrong style it will be a misrepresentation of who I am.  Kinda deep, right?  I think I’m just over thinking it.   Example, Oops, that shelving unit is totally screaming college dorm room!  Solution: Return it.  See, not that hard.  Design is never done and once you overcome the intimidating part, the evolution becomes fun, exciting, and even liberating. Obviously, the style you pick today will not be your style 10 years from now.  We might all have different processes on how to develop a style but here are some ideas that work for me.  Start honing in on your style by gathering images from magazines, online websites or blogs, catalogs, wherever inspiration resides.  Don’t spend too much time analyzing your choices or limiting yourself, just pick out what you respond to.  Get enough images together and you will start noticing trends.  I realized I like jolts of cobalt blue/teal in the living room.  I never would have picked this color on my own (yuck! too saturated and dark) but the images I collected all had it in them.  The takeaway for me: I like that color in small doses and I need to be bold enough to incorporate it in a room.

Comb through your closet.  Could your favorite outfit be the basis for your bedroom palette?  Take a look at one of my current favorite outfits (above).  Kinda the color of my blog, right?  Inspiration abounds!  When developing a color palettes, keep the 70-20-10 combination in mind.  70% of your main color (usually something more neutral), 20% of an accent color, and 10% of little spots of one color.  Beyond color palettes, your wardrobe can give you clues about your style.  I (thought) I loved modern textiles, like chevron, hip style and lots of color but when I reflected on my wardrobe it was almost the complete opposite: lots of solid/basic pieces, neutral colors like grey and navy, and updated classics.


Another strategy is to start with something you love like a rug, a piece of art, or a plate.  I’ve seen designers do this all the time but for me, it just doesn’t work.  First, I don’t like things to be too matchy-matchy and I have a hard time trying to avoid that with this technique.  I’d always be going shopping asking myself, “Does this match the dish towel that’s inspiring my kitchen?”  If it works for you, great!  More power to ya.  Personally, I like a more collected feel where things don’t match but somehow work together.


Home stores like Z Gallerie, West Elm, etc. can provide another great resource.  You can take a look at vignettes to get an idea about how objects might be incorporated into your home and it can be easier than hitting up discount stores like Home Goods where you have to sift through things and have a clear idea what you’re looking for.  For me, turning to retailers is scary.  I’d like to move beyond being scared to being inspired but I’m just not there yet.  When I see those rooms I see dollar signs and that scares me.  It makes me feel like that’s so beautiful but I’ll never be able to afford that; it’s flat out intimidating.  Plus, the stagers are trained professionals so it’s silly to hold myself to near impossible standards.  Again, that’s just easily intimidated little o’ me.  The key of this strategy is to be inspired.

How did you identify your style?  Were you able to incorporate your design style into your home?

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.

7 thoughts on “The 4 Most Paralyzing Decorating Fears and How to Overcome Them – Fear 2

  1. Pingback: The 4 Most Paralyzing Decorating Fears and How to Overcome Them – Fear 4 « brave new home

  2. Jennifer, thanks for liking my post about Western food in Japan! Did you encounter such monstrosities on your travels to Japan? I tried commenting on your Fear 1 post, but Leave a Comment seems to have left as well… eating is good. I’m just learning the ropes;)

    • If by monstrosities you mean deliciousness, then why, yes! Japan can do me little wrong. So go back to that post and scroll scroll scroll down, past my signature, past the about the author, and right below “2 THOUGHTS ON “THE….” you will see Leave a comment -> in blue. Find it? Jonathan wants to comment on a food related post? Shocking!

      • Heh, I was trying to say, after clicking on “Leave a comment,” the reply box didn’t appear, so I moved on up to the other post. Don’t worry though, you’ll get more comments as soon as I correlate the colors of a chaise lounge to ANY mention of food:)

  3. Pingback: The 4 Most Paralyzing Decorating Fears and How to Overcome Them – Fear 3 « brave new home

  4. Great tips. Congrats on starting the new blog. Such a fun adventure. Love the tip about looking to your closet for inspiration!

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