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Starting Fresh: Interior Design and Decor Tips for Divorcees


There is no doubt that going through a divorce is a logistical mess with one of the main questions being “where am I going to live and how do we split up our stuff?”

Whether you’re moving out of your shared apartment or home after a divorce, or staying in the shared space and your partner is moving out, there can still be a positive spin on this momentous change!

Start with a Blank Canvas

Starting fresh is my favorite place to begin when it comes to designing a space, especially after a divorce. I’ve been practicing interior design for almost a decade and starting with a clean slate is ideal. Considering that getting divorced means getting rid of splitting up many of your home possessions, look at this as an opportunity to figure out what YOU like without the opinion, budget, or inclusion of a partner.  

Create A Home Inspiration Board

The first recommendation I would give is to get a Pinterest account if you don’t already have one, and to start pinning ideas to a general “home inspiration board.” These can be images that you’re drawn to for any room of the house, or they can be organizational, or colors that you like. Basically, anything and everything that gets you excited.

The next step is to start creating individual Pinterest boards for each room or area of your existing house, your new place, or even your imaginary new place. When you create these boards, make sure that you label each item of furniture with dimensions and price. If you do this at the time you create the “Pin” then when you are looking at your bedroom board at a glance, you don’t have to click into each image and then click through to the link to get the dimensions or price. The reason this is so key is that those two elements; dimensions and price, are the key to making sure everything will fit into your space, and also making sure you aren’t blowing the budget.

Begin with the Basics

The next step is to start a google doc or excel doc with a list of items you need. Go room by room, item by item, and have a budget column and a price column. You can create your budget column based on your overall goal at the end of the budget document and just split the cost between each furniture or fixture you will need. Then, when you start picking actual items from your Pinterest board to buy, you can enter those prices into the actual price column. You will be able to do a side-by-side comparison that will help you manage your spending and help you understand the big picture of how much it will all cost.

If you’re having trouble figuring out what to buy first, I would advise that you start with the big stuff; sofa, bed, dining table. Next, move to task lighting; table lamps, floor lamps. Then move to accent tables; coffee tables, side tables, bedside tables. After all of the big things have been purchased, you can move onto the smaller items; pillows, blankets, rugs, candles.

Hang whatever art you may have in your possession for the time being and don’t go crazy on buying or framing stuff for the walls – you have plenty of time to fill them up and it’s usually better to really go slowly when it comes to collecting pieces for you walls.

Don’t just buy anything because you want to fill up your space. Instead, maybe paint the walls, or paint an accent wall. Do a stencil and make it a weekend project with a friend, with your children, or just put on some music and spend some alone time doing a fun project that will take your mind off of your troubles.

Enjoy The Journey

Interior design is not just about buying stuff, it’s about nesting and creating a safe-space that lets you breath. It’s also important to remember to be patient and understand that it’s not all going to come together in a few weeks. Good design can take a while and I always try to remind my clients and friends that it’s not about instant gratification, it’s about the journey - especially after a divorce.4-things-to-know-about-successful-divorce