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Design + Decorate

A Simple Concept to Reduce Home Decorating Overwhelm

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written by:

Carrie Barker


Do you ever feel overwhelmed and maybe a little incapable of decorating your home? Do you feel anxiety when it comes to purchasing the perfect home decor pieces? Maybe you fear you’ll make the wrong choice?

Do you ever wish you could just make the “right” decorating decisions the first time … like the pros?!

NEWSFLASH … only unicorns make all the right design decisions the first time! We ALL dabble in trial and error when decorating a space … even people with a so-called design eye! This, my friends, is a simple concept that can do wonders to reduce your home decorating overwhelm feelings!

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reduce home decorating stressDECORATING IS ALL ABOUT TRIAL AND ERROR

Recently I was having a conversation with a friend and she mentioned that she was surprised about a certain popular interior styling blogger she follows on Instagram. This blogger shares her decorating journey on Instagram; she’ll buy a rug or another home décor item, and return it if she doesn’t like it in her home.

My friend assumed interior stylists know inherently what décor items to use without question. This is SO not true! Designers get lucky and do get it “right” the first time on occasion, but interior decorating is all about trial and error!

decorating shelves

It took LOTS of trial and error to decorate my book shelves!


I can’t tell you how many items I have purchased and returned, or taken out “on approval” and returned to the store. You can do this too! Simply purchase an item and return it within the allotted time if it doesn’t work. Make sure to check the return policy before purchasing! Obviously this works best with smaller pieces of furniture and home accents. There is really no way to know if a piece of décor will work in your home unless you bring it home and give it a shot!

Typically local boutiques will allow you to take items out “on approval”. You just need to provide your credit card info (in case you don’t return the product!) and you can take the item home for a certain period of time to view it in your space. I do this ALL the time! I actually took my sectional pillows out on approval TWICE! The first time I didn’t like them in my home. I apparently LOVED them one year later when I tried again!

throw pillows blue and white

The “on approval” TWICE pillows! Blue + Gray Spotted Pillow


When you look at photos of beautiful homes on Instagram, don’t assume that these rooms were decorated in one fell swoop! The more accurate assumption is that the homeowner (or decorator) tried various options before deciding on the “perfect” décor. This is why I don’t re-decorate my home often. It takes me a LONG freakin’ time to get it just right, and I don’t want to change it once I get to that point! You can see more of my home decor HERE.

Tip: take photos of various décor options and vignettes in your home. It can be helpful to scroll through your photos and see which items you truly love and you REALLY feel like fit into your style and your space! Keep what you love, and return what you don’t!

decrease home decorating overwhelm

Lots of trial and error in my kitchen! gray backsplash I marble utensil holder I knife set I similar cheese board


It is almost always a series of trial and error before finding the perfect accent or piece of furniture … this goes for ALL interior decorators or designers (unless they are unicorns, as mentioned above)! There is nothing wrong with trying out different items before settling on the best option. I do this, you probably do this, and I imagine 99.9% of all interior professionals do this!

We don’t get it magically correct the first time (except on occasion)! Regardless of how much of a knack for design a person has, there is always an element of trial and error in decorating. When I remind myself  that “I don’t have to get it right the first time”, this automatically reduces MY home decorating overwhelm! So get out there, friends, and get your decorating on! I have full confidence in YOU!

Oh … p.s. if you saw home decor items above that you love, you can easily shop my HOME DECOR!

  1. Wonderful tips! I’m planning home decorating and I feel anxious just preparing the plan. Sometimes it takes lot of energy and nerves to do it.

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I designed my own custom home from the ground up, inside and out. A home that is cozy, comfy, laid out perfectly for the way my family lives, and makes us happy every single day. Oh, and did I mention I did this all without blowing the budget?! 

Yep, it’s true. I’ve been there, done that, and actually lived through it … and you will too. Pinkie promise!

a.k.a. Caroline on Design

I’m Carrie Barker.

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