How To Get Out Of A Decorating Rut

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The biggest reason for finding ourselves in a decorating rut is the lack of a vision.  We may have big dreams, but we waste time and money on small, insignificant things that don’t help us achieve the space that we want.  These tips will help you jump out of that rut and move forward!diy board and batten wall


You may feel like your entire home is stuck in a rut from yesteryear, but trying to tackle the entire place at once will leave you feeling overwhelmed and indecisive.  Instead, choose just one room.  Try to pick the room that bothers you the most and try not to move on to the next room until this one is complete.

Remodeled kitchen with white cabinets


Oh, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t make any structural changes to your home, but that often takes quite a bit of time and money.  If you’re just looking to update your overall decor, start with a room that will have an impact on you every day, such as a foyer, kitchen, family room or even a laundry room.


laundry room with white cabinets



It isn’t only about how a room or your home looks – that’s just the surface stuff.  Think about and identify how you want your room to feel.  Do you want your home to feel cozy, minimalistic, eclectic, welcoming, modern and so on?  Keep the overall feeling that you’re after in mind as you consider changes.

Farmhouse style bedroom with gray upholstered headboard, ticking stripe duvet set, diy painted furniture and gothic arch wall decor #farmhousedecor #cottagedecor #shabbychicdecor #bedroomdecor #decoratingideas #bedroomdecoratingideas



Pull out those magazine pages you’ve been hanging onto, examine what you’ve pinned on Pinterest and narrow them down to the top three that appeal to you the most.  Don’t worry too much about the specifics, such as different architecture or room layouts – you’re simply selecting rooms that appeal to you.  Refer to these choices often to keep the vision for your “new” space fresh in your mind.

Martha Washington side chairs upholstered with gray and white buffalo check fabric



Once you have your room chosen and your vision, it’s time to choose your colors.  Start out with two core colors, which you’ll use on walls, floors and large furniture pieces.  Remember that the core colors need to be ones that will act as flexible background colors.  Then, add up to three accent colors.  The accent colors will be used for draperies, pillows and accessories in the room.

Painted Brick Fireplace



Unless you have a bottomless wallet (I sure don’t!), consider painting instead of replacing cabinets, furniture, accessories, picture frames and so on.  What they say about the power of paint is totally true!

painted bedroom nightstand



This one tip is essential to breaking out of a rut!  See a new trend that you like or have an idea of your own?  Don’t be afraid to give it a try.  If you’re feeling timid or unsure, start out by trying it in small doses at first.

home office decor with painted furniture



I think that one of the key secrets to being happy with the looks of your home is to only fill it with what you love, not with what the magazines or design shows claim the latest and greatest trends are!  Have you ever heard the expression, “do a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”?  Well, the same thing can be applied to your home too – “fill your home with things you love and you’ll never be dissatisfied”.

Spring decorating ideas

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  1. Great advice. I have a problem with not finishing one room before starting another. It’s hard for this ol’ dog to learn new tricks.? But I’m working on it. I have always been in love with your desk. Love the gray!

    1. Oh, I can SO relate to that! I have to literally force myself to finish one room or before I know it, I’ve got twelve pans in the fire! lol

  2. Hi there, I would like to know if the desk in the picture is painted the same gray that you used on your dining room table. I am planning on painting my bedroom set which is cherry and I’m thinking this gray may be the answer for me. I’ve recently painted the room with what looked to me like a neutral color (Sherwin-Williams Oyster Bar) but it definitely has a green cast to it. Mind you, I was trying to get away from green,replacing a deeper olive green on the walls. We used 2 coats of primer so I know it’s not that, but I am stumped now on choosing a color for the furniture. Although several people have advised using a cream or linen on the furniture, I’m afraid of the original finish bleeding through. Sorry for such a long post, but your rooms are so lovely they make me want to duplicate some of your ideas. Thank you!

    1. Hi Margo. I’m sorry for taking so long to reply to you! Yes, the desk is painted with the same paint as the dining room furniture.

  3. I think it is the best decorating I have ever seen. The room looks very pretty and full of beauty. Now I have to apply something new rather than replacing them. Thank you for sharing the good ideas and your effort.

  4. The painting point is great. With some pieces, it may not be worth completely replacing them to get a fresh look.

  5. I have a piece I would like to paint. Would it change the value of the piece if I did?

    1. Hi Betsy. I’m really not an expert at all, but I would be hesitant to paint an antique.

  6. Kathy Sheehan says:

    Your ideas are very helpful, but why do so many rooms have gray as the predominant color. Gray seems to be the trend. Gray is a nice neutral and is the most popular color and easy to find in almost every magazine and home improvement project. I would like to see some ideas that include other colors that show something other than what everybody else is using. Branch out and show other ideas that include bolder colors.

    1. Hi Kathy. If you’re looking for bold colors in home decor, this probably isn’t the place for you.
      When we remodeled our current home, I purposely chose to use a neutral backdrop (on the walls, my rugs, my large pieces of furniture), so that I could bring in any colors that I wanted to through draperies, accessories, bedding, seasonal decor, etc. In every other home that I’ve lived in, I always had color on the walls, rugs, furniture, etc and found it to be very limiting in what I could do. You might be interested in taking a look at the rooms in our previous home to see what I mean, which you can do at this link: I’m much, much happier with my choice to go with a neutral backdrop in this home and the flexibility that it gives me!

  7. Oh my..I wish I had an eye for “something” when it comes to decorating. I have a brand new home and I cannot get it to come together at all. I have nothing hung on the walls. I have an absolute blank palette (painted my walls white as in “my mind”, I would add pops of colour) I tried that (I guess) with cushions, but nothing really impressed me and I just don’t know what to do or where to go from here. I would say I want modern cozy, but, just don’t know how to build on that. I feel that the longer it stays like this, we will just get use to it and it won’t matter anymore.

    1. Have you tried looking on Pinterest for rooms that appeal to you? I have literally found an image that I liked in a magazine (pre-Pinterest days) and tried to copy everything that was in the image. If I couldn’t find an exact match to items that were in the picture, I just got a close as a could. Going that route taught me SO much and helped to improve my self confidence over time.