Why Living in a Space Before You Redecorate Is So Important

Interiors & Decor

Redecorating. Modern kitchen with black lower cabinets, wood table, wood bench, black leather chairs, white tile, and picture window.
Photo by Bluewater Sweden on Unsplash

We moved into our new house right in the middle of winter—a Minnesota winter. House projects surfaced quickly as a fun way to settle into the snow and keep us busy with the adventure of shopping for new items to fill our new space.

While some of my favorite pieces from past lives and spaces found new homes quickly, I found numerous empty spots—walls waiting for new artwork, spare bedrooms waiting to become a dreamy guest oasis, shades of green in the lower level that should have never been there to begin with. I quickly began to feel overwhelmed, thinking, so much needs to get done, like now, but, with what budget?

After a few weeks of asking myself the same questions, I decided to pause and map out a more feasible, enjoyable path to redecorating our new space.

I share some of my humbling learnings with you below so you can enjoy a more peaceful journey in your own new spaces, too.  

Sometimes it pays to wait to paint.

One of our first house guests said, the week we moved in, “You know, paint looks different in all lighting and all seasons.” While it was tough to look at that light green downstairs over those long winter months, I realized as spring came around that a) the light green wasn’t as bad as I thought and b) the warmer months and brighter lighting made me open up a larger vision to our lower level rather than a single new shade of paint as a temporary solution.

From trim, to carpet, to flooring, to artwork, I found myself enjoying the process of visualizing an entirely new space through lots of online and Pinterest inspiration. Now, a full year later, we have a clear picture of what we both want for the space and a better approach to our budget to slowly piece together a bigger plan that we know will provide more lasting satisfaction.

Live in a space for a while to discover what you really want from it.

“Oh, this will be the perfect room for a home office.” Well, the “home office” is now our beloved workout room we use daily. Why? Because the proximity is perfect—right next to our bedroom and bathroom so it fits into our daily routine and serves as a “no excuse” space to get a quick sweat on. This fun twist happened with a few rooms in our house. And looking back, it’s pretty silly that I wanted to force specific ideas into certain spaces, without even living in them first.

We can all agree setting up a proper living space, bedroom, and place to eat (kitchen) are fairly practical and needed regardless of a space or size. Those other rooms and spaces can often be a great chance to see how your natural daily living patterns lend themselves to places that really suit your everyday life. For example, if you love to read and play games, consider a space that is ideal for those activities with your partner or hosting guests. It could even be a small area within a larger space.

This filter gave me the patience to hang tight before decorating certain spaces throughout our home because I knew when it was time to fill them, the approach would be fitting and lasting for our lifestyle. 

At the end of the day, this filter gave me the patience to hang tight before decorating certain spaces throughout our home because I knew when it was time to fill them, the approach would be fitting and lasting for our lifestyle. 

Don’t say goodbye too quickly for the sake of “new.”

Old things can feel new in a new space. We brought some very nice but traditional artwork into our new home and I put it into a back closet right away, thinking I would sell it all and find something shiny and new. After collecting dust for several months, I popped into the closet one fall day and had an “aha” moment, realizing the pieces were perfect for our entryway. I hadn’t made the connection when we first moved in because they were pictures that had prior been in a living/dining space.

Just because something you carried with you had one spot in a former space, doesn’t mean it can’t feel new in a new spot. Best of all, I found what I really loved is a mix and match approach of weaving in some new finds to complement my old favorites.

BY Brooke Domaas - March 10, 2022

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March 11, 2022 8:03 am

This is great! I know i’m going to be redecorating soon and I’ve ended up falling in love with things i thought i didn’t want at first.

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