Published November 22, 2012
There are many resources out there that offer suggestions on how to create a home you love. Perhaps you've bought an expensive hardback full of gorgeous photos of beautiful rooms in the hopes of re-creating a space with the same wow factor. Maybe you succeeded but later realized something was still missing, or maybe you missed the mark completely and wasted money.
It may take a bit of reverse thinking to accomplish your desired outcome. Instead of focusing on the design dos, first consider what not to do. This new approach could be just what you need to open your mind and release your own creativity. Let's examine the six ways you might be blocking your creativity and some tips for gaining decorating confidence and independence.
DON'T: Ignore your heart. Choosing to go against your natural instincts often leads to regret. Don't be afraid to trust yourself regarding a design decision you are truly passionate about.
DO: Start small. If you have always loved yellow, or any other color, do not subdue your affection by going with something that's second best. A small powder room is the perfect testing ground in which to go bold until you become more confident in your decorating choices.
DON'T: Follow trends religiously. Constantly redesigning your space to reflect the latest trends leaves no room to insert your own creativity. It can also be both expensive and exhausting.
DO: Design a space that contains the classics you love. Then accessorize with a few trendy pieces that actually speak to your design aesthetic. In this family room, blue slipcovers and pillow covers allow for versatility when the next cool trend arises.
DON'T: Overcrowd your space. Outfitting a room with items that are traditionally found in the space can sometimes be too much of a good thing.
DO: Be selective. Decide what items you need in a room for it to function for your lifestyle. Next decide which of those functional items can dually serve as decoration. In this kitchen a bright collection of cookbooks demonstrates what's essential for this cook and adds jolts of color to a blank canvas.
DON'T: Work without a plan. Designing a space without a plan is like a novice cook preparing a meal without a recipe. The end result has a greater chance of being lackluster, unpalatable and a waste of ingredients.
DO: Gather your resources. A recipe for a well-designed space contains a list of desired functions, a space plan, inspiration photos, a budget and a list of fabulous finds. Having these in one central place will keep you focused and on the path to a delectable design.
DON'T: Try to do it all at once. A weekend shopping spree provides instant gratification. While you may be in love with the newness of the room, it will eventually wear off when you realize the room is full of thoughtless purchases. The framed flag shown here has great significance to the homeowner. It's a wonderful focal point for the beginning of an elaborate gallery wall.
DO: Be patient as you build a collection. In the same home office shown in the previous photo, a trio of framed black and white photographs also makes an impact as the homeowner waits to acquire other meaningful pieces.
DON'T: Be a copycat. Grossly duplicating someone else's design essentially means you re-created a space for them in your home. By doing this you have satisfied their wants and needs instead of your own.
DO: Do your own homework. There's nothing wrong with using a designed space as a catalyst for your project. But then take the next step and ask yourself what attracts you to it. Is it the vibrant Missoni rug that makes your heart leap, or is it the perfect furniture plan for your family room? Then build your design based on your own wishes.
Houzz is the leading online platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish -- online or from a mobile device. From decorating a room to building a custom home, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals around the world. Erika Ward is a contributor to Houzz.