Thursday, July 25, 2013

Decision Overload - 3 Simple Tips to Keep You From Going Crazy

When I sat back and thought about it, I realized we've renovated a dozen homes since we've been married.  That's a lot of decisions over the years.....and a lot of stress as well.  There is something so nerve wracking about having to choose something you're going to live with and look at every single day!  And when you're renovating a house, there are literally dozens and dozens of decisions that need to be made.

So, I've come up with a few tricks that help me keep my sanity during the decision making process.  They might not work for everyone, but hopefully you'll find them helpful:

1)  Try and focus on one room at a time.  Sure, you might be doing multiple rooms, or even a whole house.  But if you try and do everything at once, you'll make yourself crazy.  Break the decision making down into manageable 'chunks'.  Are you doing the kitchen or bathroom?  Make your cabinet and countertop decision - but then give yourself some time to think about tile and hardware.  Don't do it all at once.
2)  Remember it's about the WHOLE room, not any individual element.  For example, the first time we did a white kitchen, I obsessed over having every single white match.  It was a nutty attempt at something impossible.....there is no way you can match white cabinets to white appliances (we couldn't afford stainless for that house) to white subway tile.  Finally, I realized that as long as the whites are all in the same family - warm whites vs cool whites (blue tones) - they looked beautiful together.  When it's done, you don't focus on one item vs the other - you see the whole room.  In fact, it helps add a little depth and interest to the space.  So don't feel like one particular element is going to impact the entire design.  That reduces the stress level.

3)  Create an inspiration file.  Clip pictures from magazines, start a Pinterest file, create a Houzz file.  They're all great ways to capture ideas you like.  They will be invaluable as you start to make design decisions.  Can't decide if you want a light or dark vanity for your bath?  Go back and look at your file. You'll probably discover that you have examples that will help you visualize the look you're going for.  It can really help you sift through lots of design options and determine what's right for you and your space.

Do you have any other tried and true tricks to manage decision making?  I'd love to hear them!

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  1. Great tips. Chunking things up is the only way I get anything accomplished!

    Another way I keep my sanity when it comes to making decisions: When you find something you like, use it again.

    I often do this with paint colors. For example, for wall colors, my standbys are Benjamin Moore's Manchester Tan, Golden Straw, and Simply White and Sherwin Williams' Patience. I keep an envelope with the paint samples and a note where it was used. Also, when I visit someone's house and like a paint used on exterior, wall, or trim, I always ask what color it is and make a note of it. (I have a friend who is an interior designer and whenever I visit one of her project houses, I'm sure to take notes and photos on my iPhone.) This also comes in handy when selecting tiles, tubs, toilets, faucets, etc.

    Much to the chagrin of my family, I also do this when buying cars! Hey, when you find something you like..

    1. Thanks so much for the tips! I love the idea of keeping paint samples available. And isn't it amazing how ofter we use our phone to capture a good idea! must buy new cars often that you need to keep a ready reference of them!


    2. Haha... No patience for breakdowns or repairs, so every 3 years I get a new one as a matter of course. Once I found the Subaru Forester (black with black leather interior) that's been my go-to vehicle. Not only is it a great commuter vehicle, it makes the weekend drive from Massachusetts to the mountains of Maine a piece of cake! :-)

  2. We will have to have you come look at our new house! We could use a professional eye.


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