How To Get Out Of A Decorating Rut and Love Your Home Again

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Are you stuck in a decorating rut? Here is practical actionable advice on how to get out of it and steps to get you back on the inspiration train.  

living room decorated for spring with colorful accessories in a white entertainment center with two colorful chairs in frontPin

It often comes from a mix of being unhappy with your current decor, falling into the habit of making the same old choices, being hesitant to try new things out of fear of mistakes, and feeling overwhelmed by too many options. 

It’s a common phase where you want to refresh your space but just aren’t sure where or how to start.

Did you know that even interior designers can get caught up in a design rut? Yup – it can happen to all of us.

And boy, oh boy, have I been there! I even had to hire an interior designer when I fell into a deep rut while trying to redecorate my breakfast room.

I consider myself a pretty capable decorator, but I was stuck and just could not move forward.

fabric swatches laid out on a table by hired interior designerPin

How do you get out of a decorating rut?

Sometimes, it can seem like a hopeless situation, but there are things that you can actually do to get the inspiration flowing once again.

  • Reflect on what’s not working. Take some time to really look around your space. Make a list of what doesn’t feel right anymore. Is it the color scheme, the furniture layout, or just that everything feels outdated?
  • Look for fresh inspiration by diving into sources of new ideas. Browse Pinterest, Instagram, home decor blogs, or magazines. Save images and concepts that spark joy or excitement in you, even if they seem a bit out of your comfort zone.
  • Create a mood board. Not only are these easy and fun to create, but seeing everything together can help you visualize what you want your space to become and can spark your creativity once again.
  • Break down your redecoration into small, manageable goals. Maybe start with something as small as decorating your coffee table or even just one corner of a room. 
  • Experiment with small changes such as rearranging furniture, adding new throw pillows, etc. Little tweaks can provide a new perspective and might just spark more extensive ideas.
  • Ask for feedback. Sometimes a fresh set of eyes can offer valuable perspectives. 
  • Celebrate progress, no matter how small!

These steps are designed to guide you out of feeling stuck and lead to being excited about transforming your home once again.

woman sitting in a chair in front of a window looking at a decorating bookPin

Where do you start when decorating?

Now that you’re feeling inspired once again, what’s next?

Before getting started, it might be a good idea to interview yourself. Knowing your motivation can help you determine when it’s time to take the “decorating plunge”

Even though you may feel like your entire home is stuck in a rut from yesteryear and you’re ready for a new fresh look, work on just one room at a time.

China cabinet in a home office filled with office type accessories - very on trend for 2024Pin

I can almost guarantee that 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. 

Once you’ve identified the room you want to work in, start out making simple changes. Pretty soon, you’ll be ready to dive in with both feet!

In what order should you decorate a room?

Okay – you’ve climbed out of that rut and are feeling inspired once again. That’s a reason to celebrate!

But where to start? What is the correct order to decorate a room? 

kitchen with white cabinets and a white tile backsplash and white quartz counters decorated with blue and white accessories and oranges stems in a vasePin

Following a structured order can help keep you from getting overwhelmed, save you money, prevent you from falling right back into that rut again. And helps to ensure that every element comes together cohesively

I’ve already touched on some of these, but here’s a handy step-by-step guide on the correct decorating order, whether you’re only doing a room refresh or taking on a full-blown redecorating project:

1. Create a vision and a budget

  • Pull out those magazine pages you’ve been hanging onto. Examine what you’ve pinned on Pinterest. Narrow down 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.
  • Creating a budget involves allocating funds towards various elements, based on their importance to you. Typically, for a full room redecoration, allocate 40-50% to furniture, 10-15% for paint and/or wallpaper, 10-15% to flooring, 10% to lighting, 5-10% for window treatments, 5-10% for textiles, 5-10% to accessories and art and 10-20% for installation and labor costs.
  • Focus your budget on essential items that you need before spending on decorative items.

2. Plan and design

  • Determine what the primary use of the room will be. This guides all your subsequent decisions.
  • Identify any decorating challenges that may exist in the room.
  • Sketch a floor plan or use design software to arrange your furniture and ensure everything fits and flows well.
  • Create a mood board, also known as a design board. It does wonders when it comes to visualizing all of the elements together. Your space may wind up looking much different, but a mood board is a fantastic jumping off point. Referring back to it as you go can help you to stay on point.
pinterest image showing details for a transitional cottage breakfast nook refreshPin

3. Settle on a style and color scheme

  • Decide on the overall aesthetic – will it be modern, traditional, colorful, neutral, etc.
  • Choose a color palette to create a cohesive look. Start 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.

4. Prepare the room

  • Remove old furniture and decorations, or move everything to the center of the room and cover it to protect it from dust and paint.
  • Fix any imperfections on the walls or floors, and ensure surfaces are clean and smooth for painting or wallpapering.

5. Paint and/or wallpaper

  • Ceilings first, walls next, trim last.
chippendale style chairs around a double pedestal table in a dining room decorated in new trad stylePin

6. Install flooring

  • Painting before flooring assures there won’t be any mishaps should you have a spill.
  • If you’re changing the floor, do this before bringing in any large furniture pieces to avoid damage.

7. Major installations

  • Install any major fixtures like lighting or built-in shelves.
  • Hang blinds and window treatments.

8. Add area rugs and furnishings

  • Put large area rugs, that will be under furniture, in the room first.
  • Place large furniture before positioning smaller pieces such as chairs or tables.
  • Add accent furniture such as footstools or plant stands.
  • Position floor lamps
a variety of colorful accessories in a new traditional style living roomPin

9. Time to decorate!

  • Add table lamps.
  • Add decorative items such as artwork and accessories.
  • Add pillows and throw blankets.

10. Enjoy your space!

beige couch against the wall with a blue recliner beside it and colorful pillows on the couch and accessories on the tablesPin

Above all, fill your home with things you love.

I believe that a key secret to being happy with the look 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”.

This quote from Scott Adams, the creator of a famous comic strip, can be applied to ourselves and to our homes as well: Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Design is knowing which ones to keep.”

Pinterest graphic for how to get out of a decorating rutPin

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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.