Interior Design and Remodeling Projects Require You to Make So Many Decisions - Prevent Design Decision Fatique (DDF) with these Designer Tips
When my husband and I purchased our first home we moved from a one bedroom apartment to a five bedroom house. I didn't fill our entire house at once, but I did have to make a substantial number of purchases in order to at least fill some spaces so we could have people over and offer them a comfortable place to stay. Did I mention we were planning to host Thanksgiving and a holiday party just a month or so after moving in? No pressure there.
With so many decisions, from backsplashes and cabinet hardware to headboards and bedding, I found myself, someone very accustomed to making these decisions daily, becoming overwhelmed by my own project. Between filling the spaces in our own home I was pouring myself into my interior design business, bringing the very best of my skills to my clients. By the end of the day I didn't have any bandwidth left for my own home. I found myself stalling on some decisions and making other decisions simply because it was the easiest choice in the short term. I was suffering from Design Decision Fatigue (DDF).
Even though furnishing a home is not a life or death decision, it's a lot of decisions and decisions require mental effort. The unfortunate news is that we all have a limited amount of mental energy to expend in a day. I'm guessing you have a few other things on your plate. With this in mind, here are my top tips for avoiding Design Decision Fatigue and preventing burnout during your next project.
1. Create a Mood Board or Inspiration File
This little bit of extra effort up front will pay off big time in the long run. Start to collect images (from magazines, Pinterest, Instgram, etc) to bring awareness to your personal aesthetic. As you proceed, patterns will emerge reflecting your tastes and what you are naturally drawn to. Throughout the design process, refer back to the Mood Board. Do your selections fit with your vision? If yes, move forward. If not, consider an alternate. Need more convincing? Check out my article Why You Need a Mood Board for your Next Design Project.
2. Stop Second Guessing Yourself
Once you make a decision stick to it. It can be hard enough to make the decision for the first time so why torture yourself with revisiting the topic over and over again.
3. And Stop Polling the Audience
Once you have a better understanding of what you like, trust your instincts. Ask a friend if you are really torn between two items, but remember, you don't need anyone's permission to love what you love.
4. Give Yourself a Deadline
Set a reasonable amount of time to make decisions and work towards that date. This can be a day you put on the calendar for your knowledge only or you could set a more public goal of inviting friends over for dinner. Having a deadline ensures that you can't keep looking for something that might be incrementally better. At some point you just have to make a decision.
5. You Don't Have to Do It All at Once
It's not the end of the world if your space is not 100% complete before you share it with the world. If you have the major pieces in place and the thought of accessorizing is causing you stress, take a step away and gradually pull together finishing touches as you're inclined. This can be more fun anyways as it allows you to collect items when traveling or are out and about and find something especially striking.
Are you suffering from a case of Design Decision Fatigue? If so, I'd love to hear your challenges, questions, and antidotes!