Here’s a word problem for all the math whiz out there: What equals a growing to-do list, plus less free time, multiplied by a strong urge to continue home improvements?
Frenzy. This equals absolute madness.
This insanity, for me, manifested as an inability to make any decision that did not involve taking care of my 4 month old baby. However, that doesn’t stop me from trying. I feel like I’m riding a merry-go-round of insanity as I scroll through my to-do project list, spend a week or two researching options I have to accomplish the project, get exhausted by my options, and try to move on to something easier.
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Take for example the kitchen backsplash I’ve been planning to install for an embarrassingly long time. The problem is, I can’t decide which tiles I like. Do I go bold and moody with a shiny, deep green subway tile? Or do I want to show off a more handmade look with Zellige (an imperfect type of terra cotta) tiles? Or, maybe a funkier pattern would make a statement?
As you can probably tell, I tend to overthink things, and making decisions has never been my strong point. It’s also difficult when I make decisions that are more permanent — and, by proxy, more expensive.
A few weeks ago I came across an interview on Sheer Luxe with designer Sarah Peake, who discussed her design style and ethos. She said, “If you ask me, art lives in limitations and dies in freedom.”
Wow! If that didn’t hit the nail on the head. In that moment, I realized a big part of why it was so hard for me to make decisions: I hadn’t set strict enough parameters for what I wanted. Sure, a budget helps set a limit, but it’s not enough to combat the never-ending choices available online. My taste certainly doesn’t help either, as I like such a wide range of styles. Even the color palette in my home is open to numerous options.
Ms Peake was right: with all this freedom my creativity is dying.
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Since reading that quote, I started thinking about other parameters I could give myself. I put a lot of thought into not only color schemes and prices, but also the mood I want to convey. Creating mood boards on Pinterest helped me visualize how everything would look put together.
So far, I’ve found that focusing on creating a mood rather than sticking to a certain style is just limiting enough to help me narrow down my eclectic taste, but not so limiting that I’m stuck in one particular appearance is not forced.
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I think it pays off. I’m proud to announce that, after dreaming about chalk paint since we moved into our house about three years ago, I finally took the plunge and – drum roll, please – ordered paint samples. Please hold your applause.
This is a big move for me, folks. This means that not only have I narrowed down my color choices, but I’ve actually settled on one color to continue with. I feel renewed in my design endeavors, and it’s all because I set limits for myself. Who would have thought?
Now, let’s hope I make it far enough to order actual cans of paint.
Email your questions to Theresa “Tess” Bennett at [email protected] and keep up with Tess on Instagram @homewithtess
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