Nesting: I’m Doing This Decorating Thing Backwards

Decorating my soon-to-be new bedroom in my new “single again!” apartment has been some of the most fun I’ve had in months. (Boy, have I needed it.) These days instead of whittling away the working hours clicking around Bluefly, I’m all over Crate and Barrel, Pier 1, and the W Hotel store websites.

Interior design is a new interest of mine, but it’s mostly confined to Apartment Therapy lust. When it comes to actually decorating, I’m about as bamboozled as I am by parallel parking and trigonometry. How did I get to be 27 years old barely owning any furniture? I’ve always either lived in furnished apartments or borrowed furniture from my parents’ guest bedrooms. However, the slats on the guest bedroom bed fall apart if you have sex in it — sorry, Mom — and I’m done dealing with that. So I’m budgeting myself $1,000 to $1,200 to decorate my entire bedroom, which has to include a bed frame, a mattress, a dresser, a bookcase, a bedside table, curtains, and a rug. While lamps, sheets and a duvet are not necessities — I own some of those items myself — I was also hoping to include them in my budget. (I’m not especially keen on using the same duvet and sheets that Ex-Mr. Jessica and I used together. That’s just got “bad juju” written all over it.) Anyway, that’s a lot of stuff I need, so $1,200 has to stretch a long way.

I found my first “gets” this weekend at Pier 1 and Target. I’m the type of person who usually strongly knows what she wants, or doesn’t want, when she sees it. Immediately upon walking through the door at Pier One, I found pillows I absolutely loved and promptly bought three. Now, pillows, especially “home accent” pillows like these ones, were not on my original list of things to buy. But the fabric is so soft! And the color is so gorgeous! And they were 20 percent off! I had a similar moment of weakness at Pier 1 for a geometric rug, which was also 20 percent off and looks amazing with the pillows.

While I initially worried if the funky black and white design would be difficult to match, all my fears evaporated when my mom and I visited Target and they randomly had a lampshade in almost the exact same pattern. Sold! Target has a million different different “bodies” for their lampshades, which I hemmed and hawed about for ages. Fundamentally, I went with a clear body, justifying that it would be easier to mix and match with different lampshades in the future. (Strangely, I can’t find them online.)

I also hemmed and hawed about the mini ottoman. I wanted a brown one, but my mother — who, it must be said, is extremely bossy — insisted that brown, black, white and turquoise are too many colors. She suggested this fuzzy teal mini ottoman because it sorta matches the pillows. I thought it looked too “college.” I put the brown one in the cart. Then I took it out. Then I put it back. Then I took it out again. I bought the turquoise one and while I still think it looks too “college,” the fact that it’s plush and turquoise is growing on me. Lastly, I bought two decorative shelves for candles or possibly small books.

I’m happy with my most of my purchases as independent pieces. However, as I’m trolling aisles and web sites for bedding and a duvet, I realize that I’ve done myself a big of a disservice. The pillows are bold. The lamp shade and rug are also bold. Now I can’t go bold with my duvet or curtains because that’ll be too “busy.” And whatever sedated design I go with has to be a shade of blue or green or maybe purple that matches the “accent” stuff I’ve already bought or else it’ll look like rainbow barf.

That’s turning out to be hard. I’m doing this all backwards: I probably should have bought the base pieces and then matched the accents to them. Otherwise I wouldn’t have wasted hours and hours this weekend trying, and failing, to find the right bedding. I cannot tell you how many duvets I looked at and rejected. Probably a hundred.

Should I take some of the pieces back? I still have all the tags on and the receipts. Right now I’m so confused. Tell me what to do, Frisky readers!