start where you’ll start

by | Sep 13, 2021 | Artistic Endeavors, Decorating | 9 comments

There’s a popular saying, “Start where you are.”  I’d like to tweak that a little bit.  Start where you’ll start.  

That has been the answer I’ve given several different people over the past few weeks who have asked me a variety of questions.

“We just moved into a new house and I’m not sure where to start decorating.  Where do you suggest starting?”  

There are a few different places you could start depending on the house and your situation.  Obviously, time, finances, and the bandwidth of life all play into working on a house.  So, here are a few possibilities…

Start where it’s easiest – the room feels like it would take the shortest amount of time to finish.  You already have most of the components of the room and finishing it would be relatively quick and low cost.

Start where you have the clearest vision.  Sometimes we know exactly what we want to do with a room and that makes it a natural place to start working while you’re pondering other rooms that aren’t as obvious.

Start in the rooms where you spend the most time.  We spend most of our time in the kitchen and/or a family room, so maybe start on one of those rooms, so the places where you spend the most time feel comfortable and inviting.

Start in the room that bothers you the most.  Sometimes it’s easier to get a feel for the rest of the house when a room or design feature that drives you crazy is removed from the equation.

And, lastly, start where you’ll start.  If it’s in one of those places suggested above or it’s painting color on a wall that might get repainted down the road, start where you feel excited and motivated and will actually get going.  Momentum breeds momentum.

Feels Like Home Book | Marian Parsons | Miss Mustard Seed | #feelslikehomebook

posts about decorating

“Where should I start if I want to learn to paint?  Should I draw first or can I dive right into painting?”

If you’re excited about painting, paint.  If you’re excited about drawing, draw.  Your technical skill will grow and you’ll reinforce your foundation along the way, but if you aren’t interested in starting with shaded graphite spheres, then start where you’ll start.  

Caillebotte sketchbook study | miss mustard seed

Pentelic watercolor sketchbook | sketchbook tour

“How do I start a creative business?”  

Of course, the answer is much more complex, but start where you’ll start.  For me, starting my business as a decorative and painting mural business was something I could do with very little overhead, which was important since I didn’t have any money to spare.  I only did that for a couple of years until it evolved into buying and selling furniture and antiques and writing a blog.  That’s not where I could’ve started, though.  So, you know your situation and where you can start.  You probably know a few baby steps you can take.  Take those.  Start where you’ll start.  

(You can read more about my business story HERE.)

art studio | antiques | creative space | miss mustard seed

my art studio

I felt compelled to write this post because we so often get in our own way, worried we won’t do things in the right order and that will prove to be a huge mistake down the road.  That thought can be paralyzing and self-defeating.  We’ll be so busy trying to judge the right conditions and waiting for them to be just right that we’ll never start.

isle of palms south carolina | miss mustard seed

Isle of Palms, spring 2021

As I wrote this, I imagined standing on the beach looking out at the Atlantic ocean.  My feet are sinking further into the sand with each wave and I’m just waiting until the sea is calm as glass to go out in it.  But, the waves keep coming.  There will never be a time when the conditions are perfect and I won’t have to duck under a breaker or two.

When we’re talking about decorating a house or doing creative work or starting a business, there are some things that can and maybe should happen first.  But there are very few cases where you’ll mess things up entirely if your order isn’t the same as what may be conventional.  So, don’t worry so much about starting in the exact right place.

Start where you’ll start.


  1. Babs

    Great advice! Starting is the hard part. Remember…it’s just paint! It’s just some fabric! If you don’t like it you can have a “do-over” and move on. It’s not rocket surgery.

  2. Peg

    Nailed it. Love this!

  3. mimi

    Thank you for this encouraging post!! I appreciate it.

  4. Andrea

    Great advice for what is a huge topic for succeeding in any worthwhile endeavor. Motivating advice can differ per the situation. Sometimes it’s big picture: “Begin with the end in mind”. Other times we just need to get off the dime: “Start the car even though you can’t see the final destination.”

  5. Wendy Y

    Wow! Thank you Marian ❤️ Even on a day-to-day basis I can let concerns about whether I’ve chosen the “right” project for the day or week ruin the joy I need to create. I love the “start where you’ll start” idea! This weekend I was torn between making a tote bag from a beautiful piece of Pendleton wool I bought at their outlet store several years ago and recovering a bench to place at the foot of our bed. Once I let myself dive into one I finally relaxed and enjoyed the process, and as I did I felt excited about doing the other project, whenever it is that I get to it. (Crazy side benefit from the breakthrough is that I gained enough energy from time spent creating that I ended the day vacuuming the whole house and washing the floors! 😆. Maybe I should start the day EVERY day creating something beautiful! 😁).

  6. Margo

    When it comes to embarking on a new endeavor I believe that the best way is to do one thing towards that goal. Sometimes planning out everything in advance is too overwhelming but taking small steps as you begin results in you doing whatever it is before you know it, even if it’s only finding the material you put away for a rainy day.

  7. LisaP

    I often find myself over-complicating things when considering how to start something. Thank you for the good advice!

  8. Ann Flora

    Beautiful thought!

  9. Krista

    When I first started reading this post, I didn’t understand “start where you’ll start”, but then all of a sudden, after saying it a couple times, I realized what you meant. This is a great post and can apply to so many things in life, whether it’s creative projects, house projects, hobbies, personal goals in regards to health and fitness, planning for our futures or retirement or even finding a new church to attend. I think we naturally look at the ultimate goal and get overwhelmed by the many steps it takes to achieve it instead of “starting where we’ll start” and taking that leap of faith by taking a first step. Especially in today’s world, it’s hard to plan too far ahead, so taking a first step and then another is a less scary option. I needed to read this post today…thank you!


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…


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