Take Risks with Your Decor Rather than your Clients

In 2011 when we were living in our townhouse in North Vancouver, I chose the wrong fabric for my new chair and ottoman.

I was so embarrassed.

That’s why it’s taken me this long to tell you about it.

Take Risks with Your Decor NOT your Clients

I had my yellow sofa (above) and that was an easy choice for me to make. I love yellow. But I was having trouble actually committing to a second colour.

Designers hate making decisions on their own house. Something more fabulous could walk in the door with the fabric rep next week, or while sourcing for a client, we might see something even better than what we bought last week.  Most of us would rather leave the decisions for our own interiors until the end of time. But, I couldn’t do that, I have a blog.

Terreeia likes black and white so when I found this sundial pattern, I thought, ‘It’s kind of Colour Me Happy’ so I shipped it to my upholster.

Take Risks with Your Decor Rather than your Clients

When it arrived on a Friday, my housekeeper was there that day and she said “Maria, where black was the accent colour before your chair came, now it’s the main colour”. ‘I know’, I said, horrified.

Take Risks with Your Decor Rather Than your Clients

The most interesting part about this mistake was that I could literally FEEL all the black in the room. The area rug was black and white, my vintage outdoor dining set (above) was black and white, my entertainment console and now the black and white chair. I have never actually felt any colour as profoundly as I did that day.

Well, I couldn’t stand it.

Monday, I immediately shipped it back and ordered this green fabric from Robert Allen instead.

Take Risks with Your Decor Rather than your Clients

And here it is and I was very happy.

In our new house, we didn’t have room for it in the living room so it’s now happily sitting in Terreeia’s office.

So here’s the lesson of the day:

Do NOT let something you don’t love hold your decor hostage. Mistakes are a part of life especially in the world of custom. And if you’re a designer, the place to experiment and take risks is your own house.

How many dinners, weekends, flowers, and trips have we spent money on and it’s gone. But suddenly we make a decorating mistake and we operate like we have to live with it forever because, well, we paid good money for it, and look, you can see it, it’s right in front of you. That’s harder to do with dinner or flowers.

Better to have the space be empty than live with something you hate is all I’m saying.

I really love my green chair now. It’s why I sell colour over neutrals as often as possible to my clients.

PS. After I finished writing this post today, I decided not to publish it again (because I was worried about looking bad) but then I got a call from my workroom saying that the fabric for my bedroom drapes was all crooked and was not lining up. After I spoke to my fabric rep for 40 minutes and she assured me that the look was ‘relaxed’ and wasn’t designed to match, we decided that instead of taking 3 hours out of my day to drive to my workroom tomorrow to look at them, we’ll finish having them made and install them and see what we think. Then we got to talking about how hard it is to decorate your own house and she told me about a chair and ottoman she recently sold a friend because she found a better one for her living room somewhere else.

So I figured, it’s a sign, I’m posting this even though it makes me look bad.

Related posts:

Managing Client Expectations

Authenticity. . . The Currency of the Future

What to do Before you Get Fired from your Corporate Job

If you would like your home to fill you with happiness every time you walk in, become a client. On-line or In-person.

Download my eBook, How to Choose Paint Colours – It’s All in the Undertones to get my complete step-by-step system on how to get colour to do what you want.

To make sure the undertones in your home are right, get some large samples!

If you would like to learn how to choose colour with confidence, become a True Colour Expert. Vancouver in September and October in Toronto. 

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  1. You’re absolutely right, Maria! There is no greatness or braveness to be stuck to something that we don’t like or just hate. Specially if it’s related to decoration or painting, no compromise with the beauty. Time and often, we make mistakes in choosing stuff, doesn’t necessarily mean that still we will keep it. I appreciate your thought to change it for sake of beauty and truth. Cheers!

  2. Hi Maria: I like the mirrored fireplace doors. Where can I find them? (I’m near Washington DC) I’ve been looking online and don’t see it.
    Thank you.

    • They were not mirrored, just glass but they do seem to be reflecting like a mirror in that picture. That would probably be something you’d have to get custom made. Maria

  3. Oh, I don’t think this “makes you look bad” at all! If something in your design is incorrect or less effective, do something about it. Ignoring the problem doesn’t make it go away, lol. (I laugh because that’s one of my Mother’s favorite sayings.)

    Well done, Maria!

    <3

  4. While not an Interior Designer, I am in the paint business. I struggled with the paint color for our master bath for over a month. There was approximately 50 sq ft to be painted. I now feel better about it taking me so long.