I recently underwent a small renovation at my home combining two guest bedrooms into one larger one.  Easy breezy for a high end interior designer’s home, right?


When it’s your own nest that you are shaking up, making design choices can be a mind-boggling experience.  Nobody wants to make a mistake.   Mistakes are money.  And everyone wants a great space (or at least those of you interested in reading this).

So how do you make the right choices?

It’s natural and very common to be confused when trying to determine what you want for your personal space.  It is, after all, the one place where you can be you; where you can shut your door and shut out the world if you wish.  It’s also the one place that represents your lifestyle, your vibe, and your personality.  Not easy stuff to play around with.

When I first meet a client, they usually fall into one of three groups:

1.     They know what they want but can’t convey it

2.     They think they know what they want but are all over the board

3.     They know exactly what they want

Group #3 is a rare breed. Most people fall into Groups 1 & 2. That’s why you shouldn’t get frustrated if you don’t know what you want.

More often than not the reason someone doesn’t know what he or she wants is that too much research has been done.  In our world of Pinterest & Houzz, it’s so easy to get inundated with beautiful ideas.  But when you’re that overwhelmed, how do you figure out which of those ideas are right for you?

Selecting a design direction isn’t any different than buying clothes.  Just because the model looks amazing in the photo shoot doesn’t mean you will as well.  Appreciating beauty is different than living with it.  So how do you avoid the trap of only getting ideas from looking at what you love based solely on your reaction to its beauty?

Hate (or at least dislike) is a strong emotion.  It’s a primal feelings that comes from the pit of your stomach.  That’s why by editing out what you know you don’t want, you lighten the stress of wondering what you do.

Let’s use another analogy:  going to a restaurant while starving.  With eyes big and the back of your mouth salivating, you could eat just about anything.  What’s the first thing you do with the menu?  You go through the selections quickly, don’t you?  Scanning the menu, you say to yourself, “I am definitely not in the mood for seafood.  Nope, not pasta.  Maybe chicken but I can make that at home…”  And all of the sudden you have narrowed down your choices to a few delicious items.  The stress is off.  Let’s order!

So how do Groups 1 & 2 get on track?  All they need is a little push; a little “homework.”

The homework is this:  grab some quality interior design magazines, search the web, dust off some coffee table books, look at top high end interior design blogs, whatever works.  But instead of taking your time and pondering over each page, RUN through the material!

Each time your gut says stop or pause, take note of what raised your brow.  Tag what you hate as well as what you love.

Why?  It’s simple.  When you dislike something, you usually know instantly.  By scanning quickly through images and making fast judgments, you create patterns.

In the end, you will be able to say “I guess I hate chairs with patterns,” “I like bright rooms but not bright colors” or “I like gloss and shine but not necessarily glitz”.   You prevent yourself from getting lost in a maze of beautiful rooms that may not be right for you.

Try not to focus on the fact that this is your haven you’re messing with.  Stay primal and listen to your gut. Everyone trips. But with the right guidance or with the help of a high quality interior designer, you will be in great hands. And who knows? You may find that you are going to have a whole lot of fun discovering yourself.