“Once Day I’ll Do Something with The House”: Overcoming Your Fears of Redecorating

I hear this phrase all the time from people when it comes up in casual conversation that I’m an interior designer. “Someday I’ll do something with my house.” People say this because they realize that they’re not content with the state of their home but for some reason they are held back from making any changes.  Almost 50% of Americans haven't updated their home decor in 5 years per. Only 20% of Americans said they felt satisfied with their home’s current décor per Joybird.

I always accepted that some people would never do something with their home, but I wondered why.

The most obvious excuse is money.  It does cost money to embark on a renovation or design project but I’ve met with clients who have money but are paralyzed by fear of taking the first step to improve their home’s decor.  Below are the most common obstacles to updating your home and how to overcome them.


Overspending or getting scammed is a valid fear.  You can overcome this by doing research on how much services and furnishings cost before hiring a contractor or shopping.  With today’s technological resources it’s simple to take the mystery out of budgeting for a project.  Sites like Home Advisor’s True Cost Guide will empower you with information on budgeting.  In my experience clients often form a budget by picking a figure out of thin air and hoping they get the result they want or rely on their contractor to guide them in budgeting. You lose control when you let your contractor dictate how much you should be spending.  As a designer, I’m accustomed to educating clients on how much things cost but you will be happier and not suffer from sticker shock if you seek out this information on your own.

Fear of Making a Mistake

If you’re not creative or able to visualize how things will look in your home you may put your project on hold because you don’t want to make a mistake.  I utilize software that creates 3D renderings of the client’s space with the selected furniture, colors, and finishes.  Homestyler is a program available to consumers that provides results like what professionals use.  If using software to visualize your space isn’t enough, do you project in small phases.  If it takes 6 months to decorate your living room you’re still ahead of the percentage of the population who do nothing at all.

Conflicting Advice

Everyone has an opinion on what looks good in your space and what you should do.   I’ve worked with clients who loved the design we created only to request a do-over after they shared the concept with their family, friends, neighbors, etc. Your loved ones usually have good intentions but they can undermine your decisions and your confidence.  If you have poor taste, then seek the advice and opinions of others to get you on the right path. Once you have a clear vision and concept for your space, believe in yourself and limit seeking the approval of your decorating plans.

Bad Contractor Experiences

Everyone knows someone who can tell a tale of an unscrupulous contractor. There’s even a TV show about it: Catch A Contractor.  Unfortunately, I have been hired as a designer after the client has hired a bad contractor. This usually leads to the client abandoning the project or not receiving the result that was originally planned.  This experience is traumatizing and shared with others so they do not repeat their mistakes.

Some homeowners delay projects out of fear of having a bad experience.  There are more good contractors out there than bad ones. Check Angie’s List, The Better Business Bureau, and other review sites before hiring. An extra step of protection is hiring a contractor that accepts credit cards. When I renovated my own home a few years ago, I made sure I hired a contractor that accepted credit cards. I had an extra level of protection and I earned enough airline miles to take two trips.

Overwhelming Shopping Experience

I recommend visiting furniture stores to get inspired and compare prices. Homeowners often start shopping after deciding to redecorate immediately after buying a new home.  I’ve met with clients after they got frustrated with the shopping experience.

Furniture store employees are sales people even if they are called “designers.” They’re job is to make sales. When I was in furniture sales I would have loved to work with every customer to properly plan their space. If someone walked in desperate to fill their home with a 4-piece living room set my sales quotas could not allow me to inquire if it would fit into their home.

I always loved it when a customer entered the store with plans, magazine cutouts, and paint chips. I knew that they were prepared. Consumers and salespeople benefit when you shop with the intention of making informed decisions.

What’s your challenge for moving forward with updating your home?