Tips to help you know if you should make that impulse buy or not.

We all know one of the ways to make our homes warm and inviting is to make them personal. The more they reflect who we are, the more we love living in them. Pretty simple, right? But have you ever bought a piece of furniture or an accessory for your home that you love the looks of but didn’t like to live with? I’ve done the same thing and I know first hand how frustrating that can be. So how do you stop yourself from making this costly and frustrating mistake again?

Let’s assume what you’re looking at isn’t similar to what you currently have in your home. But there’s something that you like about this piece and you don’t want to miss out on an opportunity to add something new and interesting to your home. Before you make that purchase, take time to ask yourself some questions.

The best place to start, is ask yourself what is it that you really like about this piece. Is it the style? The color? Is it something unique that you don’t see very often? Is this is a trendy piece that you’ve been loving? Or is the price so good that you think you really shouldn’t pass on this opportunity? Sometimes, just knowing why we’re drawn to an item helps us decide if we really should buy it. If the answer to the one of the last three questions is a yes, then ask yourself if you pass on buying this, will you regret it next week? If it was more expensive would you still want to buy it? Asking ourselves practical questions can cut through any emotional impulses that can cloud our judgement. (And who doesn’t let our emotions influence what we buy?)


First, let’s look at what to ask yourself if you’re wanting to buy something that’s a new color for your home. Ask yourself, could it be that your home is full of neutrals and you are craving some color? Or is this color new to you and you want to bring it into the mix you have already? If the answer is no, then maybe you just love the look of a new color but aren’t ready for a long term relationship with this color yet. If on the other hand, you’ve answered yes to either question, introducing a new color can be very easy to do as long as you make sure the new color will compliment what colors you already have. (Be sure to keep the undertones of all the colors you’re mixing together in mind too.) The key will be to add tints and shades of this color in several places around the room so there is a common thread of color throughout your space.

Tip: Tints are color with white added. Shades are color with black added.

Tip: Be sure when you add the new color in that you put it in at least three different areas of your room and on three different levels. If you do this, the new color will then be part of color scheme and won’t look like an afterthought.


What if you’re looking at something that is a different style than what you have? If you’re looking at a chair with curvy legs and your furniture has very simple, straight lines or vice versa, then as long as the color works in your home, this contrast could actually make your room more interesting. (Remember to make sure the color undertones are compatible and the colors play well together) A word of caution though, if you’ve got a mix of styles already in your home, make sure anything new you bring in has a style connection with something you already have. I like to use the example of a thread running through your design that connects everything together. Design orphans will stand out and be a distraction…and not necessarily in a good way.

Tip: A good rule of thumb when you’re mixing styles is to have more of one style than the other. The 80/20 rule is your friend. Select one style to make up 80% of your design. That leaves 20% for the second style you bring into the mix. This will keep the look fresh and interesting and at the same time give a cohesive look to your design.

Tip: Color is a great way to connect different styles. The colors don’t have to be exact either. Tints and shades of a color make pieces relate without being matchy-matchy, which can make a room feel dull or boring if you’re not careful.

I hope these questions and tips will help you make a better decision next time you see something that catches your eye but is a different style or color than you currently live with. Sometimes the best thing to do is walk away and let another shopper find this design treasure to take home and enjoy.

Beth ClarkComment