The difference between mistakes and opportunities

Sometimes the best learning experiences start out as tragic or uncomfortable situations. I have learned a great deal in my life and career often by the mistakes I have made. Errors in judgment can often result in a rich treasury of knowledge and wisdom; it all depends on your perspective. It is the same with designing a room or your whole home, you can gather a wealth of knowledge if you are willing to accept a few bumps in the road. Here are ways to have a few less painful bumps during your next project.

When planning a decorating project, do your research and plan a budget. Nothing frustrates people more than last minute, low quality purchases made in haste. In our emotional state we rush to buy things to finish a project and this often results in products we don’t really love.

Research your purchases to make the best decision regarding quality. Everything you put into your home has a good/better/best scenario and often you can get better quality items at a similar price to low quality if you do your homework. Products like flooring, paint and furniture are the most crucial ones to research as they endure the most abuse from our lifestyles. If it comes down to a decision to ‘spread out’ the budget and put cheaper items in several rooms, consider opting to finish one or two rooms very well with the best possible quality. Poor quality items will fail you within a few short years leaving your beautiful project less than desirable.

It is a good rule of thumb to trust the experts in these situations – if it requires a special ticket or permit to install, employ those professionals to put it in for you. Not only will you ensure a quality install but you also are safeguarded for insurance and possible failure in the future. That being said, it is good practice to work with certified installers and journeymen and make sure they have written warranties if you ever need to call back on a service issue. I think of it like shopping for a doctor, you wouldn’t want the one who is never busy and who has no referrals and no certification – skill and training is absolutely worth the wait.

Above all, stay true to yourself. Design with colours and items that bring you incredible joy and avoid the pitfall of being swayed by other people’s opinions and tastes. Everyone has a different opinion on pretty much everything and the more people you listen to the more confused you will become. If you want to be bold and daring, don’t let your nosy neighbour or pushy mother in law sway you away from what you truly love. Trust your own taste (get the aid of a designer if you need) and go for the gusto! Nothing will satisfy you more than pulling together a successful decorating scheme of your choosing, it will be such a rewarding project.

Planning, preparation and trusting your instincts are the keys to completing a successful and dramatic design project. It will also allow you to revel in the process instead of being anxious about your decisions. Decorating is fun – which is why I do it for a living! I hope you truly enjoy and embrace your next project with all the creativity you possess.

Kim Lewis is an interior designer in Red Deer with Carpet Colour Centre. Contact her at 403-343-7711 ext 227 or email her at