I know people who live with all white interiors their entire lives. In most ways, they’re perfectly normal; they marry, have children, and a successful career. Yet they are unable to commit to an interior style. They fear color and get short of breath at the thought of buying new furniture. Sadly, they suffer from the heartbreak of Decoraphobia.
If you’re one of the many people who have decoraphobia, don’t lose hope. You can overcome this condition. You don’t have to live in a black and white world forever, but only you can cure your phobia. Here is what you need to do.
Admit Your Fear
The first step is to admit you have a problem. Acknowledge that you are paralyzed by the fear of decorating and what really scares you is the possibility you will make a mistake. What’s the worst thing that will happen if you do make a bad decision?
If you hate the color you paint, paint over it. If the couch you picked out is uncomfortable, sell it. Remember, nothing you do is permanent. It can be fixed. There’s no need to be afraid because you can always make decorating mistakes go away.
Educate Yourself about Your Taste
The unknown is scary, so find out more about interior design. I don’t mean the entire subject; I mean find out what appeals to you. Bring home a pile of decorator magazines and flip through them. When you see a color, a piece of furniture, or room design that appeals to you, rip the photo out. When you’re finished, study the pictures you’ve chosen. You’ll probably see a theme developing.
Do one or two colors predominate? Have you selected mainly contemporary settings? You’ll soon get a sense of what you like and what you would probably enjoy in your own home.
If you keep the items that are hardest to replace in neutral shades, you’ll be able to have more leeway with color and accessories. Paint, pillows, and lamps aren’t big investments like flooring and sofas. By keeping big items in neutral shades, you give yourself the freedom to bring in a variety of colors and textures over the years. And remember, neutral doesn’t always mean white, beige, or black. Subdued hues of almost any color can take a neutral role in a room’s décor.
Take Small Bites
When you look at an entire house or even one room, considering changing everything at once can feel overwhelming. Break the task into small steps. Pick one room to start in. If it makes you more comfortable, choose a room not usually seen by visitors, like the office or master bath. Start by decluttering the room one weekend, stripping it of everything unnecessary. Now you have a bare canvass.
During the next work session, paint one wall a color you’ve been afraid to use before, like chocolate brown or turquoise blue. Live with that for a few days and see how it feels. Starting to like it, right? Now you can paint the other walls and bring in accessories and accents in that color that harmonize.
Don’t let fear paralyze you. If you do, decoraphobia will rule your life and you’ll pass your affliction on to other family members. If you still can’t get past your panic, consult with a professional. Many decorators will do consultations by the hour and for around $100 you can talk over your concerns with them. If you’re buying furniture, numerous stores have decorators on staff that are willing to help you with decisions.
There is a cure for decoraphobia. It’s called action. Take action, paint a wall, and heal yourself.
Kelli McDonald considers her favorite part of the house the dining furniture. It is here that she usually writers blogs articles about her passion for interior design and home decorating.