I have recently had conversations with several people who seemed baffled about decorating their spaces. "I can't afford to redo everything." or "If I buy that chair I will have to change all of the furniture." were repeated.
I had a few ideas that I thought would be helpful to share here.
1. Keep the expensive stuff simple
The priciest items will stay in you favor longer if you keep them simple. For instance, custom window treatments can be the most expensive item in a room and chevron pattern that was trendy several years ago will seem super dated in another five years. Opt for fun fabrics on pillows or throws.
The same goes for flooring and upholstery.
2. Choose a "floating" color
What the heck is a floating color, you ask? My best example is an heirloom chair I had recovered in black velvet. It has lived in five different rooms in my house in five years. It works everywhere for me.
I also painted a bamboo dresser in black that lives in my breakfast room instead of hot pink so that I could use it elsewhere without a new paint job.
It does not need to be black. White, beige, gray and navy can work really well as your "float" color just make sure that you don't end up with everything in that color.
Rome wasn't built in a day and your living room will benefit from patience. Thoughtful consideration of your lifestyle and aesthetic are a start but it also helps to shop without expectations. If you go sofa shopping with the goal to choose that large piece by the end of the day you may regret that decision.
I once went into a junk shop (and I do mean junk) and there sat a gorgeous Sheraton style settee.
I inspected it for damage and even sniffed it. It was a very high-end piece for $350!! I was not shopping for furniture that day but took home a prized possession that I still love.
I have been guilty of the opposite only to find myself unloading that funky bowl or lamp that I bought because I was looking for accessories that day and bought just to avoid coming home empty handed.
So to recap, keep the most expensive items simple by choosing solid colors or subtle pattern. No trends unless you can afford to change them when you tire of them. Choose a color that works with everything else for items that you might move to other rooms. This includes tables, single chairs, ottomans and dressers.
Lastly, have patience. You never know what you will come across if you wait. Rushing out to fill your house will mean that you won't have a spot ( or funds) for the truly fabulous items that you will find over time.