I wrote about this years ago. That lightbulb moment I had when I heard a designer say that the best way to hone your style, to really figure out what speaks most to you design-wise, is to come up with a don’t buy word or phrase. It sounds a bit counterintuitive. Like how does one figure out what their style is simply by identifying a word or phrase that will signal to them when they shouldn’t buy something. But I went along with it for exercise sake. And to my surprise, this little practice really did work! My don’t buy phrase? This will work. Anytime that thought pops into my head when I’m out shopping for my home (and I do this even for my wardrobe) I know instinctively that I need to immediately walk away from whatever it is. Because no doubt, that particular item may work in the short term, but it won’t have staying power. It will end up being garage saled…..or worse, being stored away cluttering up my home and my life.
But following that instinct also means waiting. And patience isn’t always my strong suit. However I’m always happier when I wait until I find something I truly love! And by knowing exactly when I shouldn’t buy something, I’ve learned to know when I absolutely should pounce on something right away.
Case In Point
I fell in love with this little vintage throw rug on a recent thrifting adventure. There were actually three different styles that I really liked, but there was something about this one that kind of made my heart skip a beat.
Cue #1 – Heart is racing…..
That’s the feeling of…….you’ve found the one! I’ve learned to never ignore that feeling…….
Cue #2 – Trying to talk myself out of buying it…….
The practical part of my brain……was asking me well, where in your home are you going to use this? What are you going to do with this? Honestly, for me, those questions are like the path to the dark side. Because what I’m essentially doing is trying to talk myself out of buying something I truly love! Which is always my second cue to knowing that I should buy the thing. When it’s something I’m not totally crazy about I won’t waste the brain power trying to convince myself that I don’t need it. I’ll just walk away……..sounds crazy right? But this is my legit buying process. Ha!
And it works!
Thankfully I’ve followed my instincts enough to know what my process is….as crazy as it may seem. 😉
I bought this rug because I loved it. Period. I had no plan for it. No idea where I was going to use it. But I knew I loved it. And I’ve learned that love will make a way. 😉 When we buy what we love, we’ll figure out a place for it!
I think we all tend to overthink the “where’s this going to go” or “does this go with my house” or “I’m not sure this is going to match anything I have” ……..is this resonating with you at all? And while there’s nothing necessarily wrong with those questions, they can and often do knock us out of filling our homes with what WE TRULY LOVE. Those questions can be road blocks to finding/honing our style.
So often as consumers of online content we see bloggers and designers lay out room plans……I do this too…..but a best laid plan should never stop us from adding to or making little tweaks as we find things along the way that speak to us.
*Obviously, so long as they fit within our budget. 😉
Do you have a don’t buy word or phrase? Does your buying process look anything like mine? Please tell me I’m not the only person that knows that whenever I’m trying to talk myself out of buying something it almost always means I’m supposed to buy it.
(You can check out the before and after of this powder bathroom makeover here.)