Home Styling Guide

Designer Pro Tip – 5 Essentials for a Successful Home Decor Shopping Trip

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Are you tired of spending countless dollars on home decor just to get it home and not LOVE it? You loved it on the shelf but it’s never quite right in your home. The problem likely isn’t that you aren’t capable of selecting the right items, the problem is that you aren’t preparing yourself for the shopping trip. Your trip is sabotaged before you even step foot in the store!

There is a RIGHT way to shop and a WRONG way to shop and most people shop the wrong way.

Follow these 5 Essentials for a Successful Home Decor Shopping Trip and experience the joy of LOVING what you buy. 鉂わ笍


Such a novel idea – a shopping list to take with you shopping! Most of us shop for groceries with a list but no so much for home decor. This is the number 1 reason shoppers end up disappointed after a home decor shopping spree which leads to buyer’s remorse – YUCK! You much shop intentionally to be sure you are only purchasing the items you need for your space. Your space should dictate the items you purchase. You should never purchase decor with this in mind – “I’ll just find a spot for it”. This is how you end up a bunch of stuff that is taking up space and doesn’t look great together. If you don’t have a list, you don’t have a reason to shop!

Every item you purchase will either add beauty to your design or will detract from it.

ESSENTIAL # 2 – Take Measurements

Since you have made a list, you know exactly what spaces you need to find items to fill in your room. It could be a rug, wall art, lamp, pillow, or accessory. Whatever you will be shopping for needs to fit nicely within the space for that particular item. That means you must measure your space to determine the size of item you’ll be looking for. Scale is important in design. Right Item + Wrong Size = Wrong Item.

  1. Measure the space for each item on your list and write down the minimum and maximum size so that you have a guide when shopping for those specific items.
  2. Also, take a measuring tape with you so that you can measure items as you shop.
ESSENTIAL # 3 – Take Pictures

Taking pictures of your space is a great way to narrow your options while in the store and select the best items for your space. This allows you to view the pictures beside the items to determine if the look is just right. If something feels off about the item in relation to the picture, it’s probably not the right choice.

  1. Take several pictures of the room from different angels. The best rule of thumb is to stand with your back up against the middle of each wall and take a shot. This means you’ll end up with 4 shots representing the entire room.
  2. Take close up pictures of each area in which you’ll be shopping for items to be placed. This makes it very easy to hold up your possible options to the close-up photo to determine if it’s the right choice.
ESSENTIAL # 4 – TakE Color Samples

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you how many shades of colors exists in the world. Which is why it is so important to take color samples with you when you shop for furnishing and accessories. For example, if you are shopping for pillows that you need to coordinate with a rug, it would be ideal to take the rug with you. However, if it’s too big and not possible, take a close up pictures of the rug in good light so that you can coordinate colors. If you are using pillows to add color to your room and you are shopping for a few accessories, you’ll want to take that pillow along with you.

  1. Gather smaller accent color items place in a shopping bag and take them along on your shopping trip.
  2. If accent color items are too large, take a close up picture in good lighting.
  3. If you’ve recently painted your room with an accent color, take a color swatch along as well.

Bringing along these extra items will save you time and return trips to the store. This allows you to be sure the colors will coordinate before purchasing the items.

ESSENTIAL # 5 – Set your budget

Now we are down the the last essential for a successful home decor shopping trip – the budget. Don’t leave home with out it! And we need to get line-item specific.

If you have unlimited funds and can spend any amount of any item on your list then you can skip this step. However, for most of us, that is not the case. It’s not enough to merely set a dollar amount for your overall shopping list.

The smoothest shopping trips start with a line-item budget. When you go only with an overall budget, you will likely get down to the last few items and realize you don’t have the money to purchase everything you set out to purchase. That can be frustrating and it’s likely you’ll say “to heck with it” and purchase the last few items and blow your budget. This is NOT the outcome of a successful shopping trip.

Setting a line item budget will help narrow your options for each item on your list. Anything you can do to assist with narrowing your options is a WIN because one of the most stressful aspects of shopping is the reality of too many options.

  1. Set a budget amount for each item on your list and write it down.
  2. As you shop, keep track of your spend for each item so you can allocate any unspent dollars to another item on the list.
My Shop-Smart Method It works!

I have just shared with you the very method I use when shopping for client’s decor and my own personal decor. Following these ESSENTIALS keeps me on budget and ensures a successful shopping trip every time. This method will minimize the stress that often comes with shopping and will reduce the amount of returns you need to make.

Happy Shopping My Friend!

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