The Struggle Is Real!!! How to find what you love and create your own haven.

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If you are reading this blog I am going to assume that you care about the decor of your home. Creating a warm and beautiful home is a journey. In my case it has had many ups and downs. It took me several years and lots of “do overs” and it’s still a work in progress. Fortunately for me, I am blessed with a husband who, when it comes to decorating the house, only really cares if I am happy with whatever we have done. If I like it, all is right on the home front.

When my husband and I first got married and started to decorate our first home, I hired a decorator from a local furniture store (not smart) to “help” me. It was a disaster. I did not listen to my inner voice, I let her sell me what she thought we needed (a lot of red and I don’t even like red) and we ended up with a bunch of stuff that took me a year to get the courage up to tell my husband that I hated! Yikes!!! I thought I was saving money by getting advice from a professional, when actually I wasted a lot in the long run. Now, there are some fabulous designers that have shops or work for design centers or furniture stores. My point is, take your time. Even if someone is helping you, do your research and select things that YOU love and always listen to your gut. Don’t spend days “trying” to like something. I find that your first instinct is really the way you feel. One thing is certain, if you spend money on things you love, your house will always feel like home. If you follow that golden rule you won’t waste a dime.

Ok, so how do you avoid my mistakes. Let me share with you the few things I have figured out over the years and hopefully you can avoid having lots of “do overs”.

Get Inspired

Inspiration is absolutely everywhere. Even if you think you have no idea what your style is, you can figure it out fairly easily in this day and age. Find spaces you love and hone in on your style. Now more than ever, there is no right or wrong way to decorate your home. You want people to come to your house and immediately think it feels like you. You can also look to nature and your homes surroundings.


When working on the house I live in now, I used the view for inspiration. The goal of the interiors was to only compliment this view and not compete or distract from it. It did not dictate the style of the interior, but rather the feel and color scheme.


I took this photo on a trip to Longwood Gardens in Philadelphia, PA. I have always loved the colors in the greenhouse and have looked to this for inspiration as well.

Use Social Media

Social media is a great tool to research and learn about design. It’s free and a fabulous way to discover fresh design/art/lifestyle sources. Finding gorgeous interiors is just a click away. It may be ridiculously obvious, but make a Pinterest board of the spaces that you love or a collection of IG images. Follow people on Pinterest whose taste you admire. I guarantee you will begin to see what you gravitate toward and common themes will emerge.

Blogs, Art & Designer Websites

Well, I for one am so thankful that you are reading my blog. Hopefully, I am able to offer you advice and inspiration. The sky is the limit when it comes to info available on the world wide web. Here are just a few of the blogs/ designer websites that inspire me:

Sarah Bartholomew, Mark D. Sykes, Paloma Contreras Design/La Dolce Vita, My Soulful Home, Collins Interiors, Blue Print Store, Christian Ladd Interiors, Bozzuto Greene Art

I could go on for days.

Design Books and Shelter Magazines

There are countless design books that do double duty. They inspire and entertain and they are beautiful accessories as well. The following are some of my current favorites.she

Shelter magazines like House Beautiful, Veranda, Elle Decor, Luxe, Milieu, Southern Living, Better Homes and Gardens…and many more are also excellent sources of up to date interiors and seasonal decor.

Train Your Eye

Do your homework and use the tools above to train your eye. You are interested in design or you wouldn’t be reading this post. It’s not rocket science to figure out what you like and what you don’t. Once you have that worked out, hone in on what is the best of what you like. Do a little research and educate yourself so you will be able tell if something is of good quality. If its worth the splurge or if it is a fantastic knock off that fits in just fine. As a general rule when it comes to upholstery work horses like your den sofa, you usually get what you pay for, so this is definitely a category where you want to be well informed. On the other hand accessories such as lamps and mirrors can often be picked up at a bargain. The fact is, and you have heard it 1000 times before, knowledge is power. There are websites such as Decor Pad and Copycat Chic that have entire sections devoted to knock off bargains and “look for less” options.

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You will never regret investing in quality upholstered pieces. This Lee Industries sofa is in my keeping room and gets tons of traffic. I love that the slipcover can be thrown in the washing machine and that it’s a neutral color so I can change the pillows whenever the mood strikes.

Above images via decor pad

Tip: Always check dimensions when comparing options. Often the size is different and can the scale may not be right for your project.

When To Hire A Professional Design Partner

I think there is an immense amount of value in hiring an expert for any project. Even the best designers want to bounce their ideas off of someone. A fresh set of eyes can come into your space and immediately solve something that you have been pondering for a long time. I just want you to be informed. There are soooo many uber talented design professionals that can help in number of ways. The key is taking the extra time to follow the steps above so that you are informed and in tune with what you like. If you were hiring a specialist for a medical problem, hopefully you would do your homework and make sure the doctor was a good fit and well qualified. While picking a decorator is not a life and death situation, spend some time and effort making sure that you have the right person to help you with your home. Believe me, you won’t regret it. I had a wonderful, talented designer help in my last house. We were a great team and I learned a lot. I did a lot of my own research and she steered me in the right direction and showed me how to edit my choices. In contrast to the first go around, I still have countless things that I purchased with her. Below is a picture of my living room in my last house. Everything except the drapes moved with me and is somehow integrated into my house today. They are all good quality, classic pieces that were well worth the investment.

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Above you will see some of the vary same pieces reworked into my living room today.

Whether you do it yourself or hire someone to help you, take your time. Do your research and fill your home with things you love. After all, your home is your most intimate space… where your memories are made, your children grow up and your life happens!