When it comes to making a home your own and really styling it to your liking, I have a lot to say. My thoughts generally include angst toward those who just can't seem to make up their mind on how they want to style their home.
Styling the place you spend all of your nights sleeping (well, mostly all of your nights, unless you travel and such) and all of your weekends baking and brunching (I wish) should not be hard. It should not be a task. It is a straight-up hobby. Something you do as you go along in life and find what speaks to you.
Where people first go wrong is when they say "I need pillows" or "I need a nightstand." Let's be honest - you don't need it. That tupperware bin that you've been using as a nightstand will suffice until you find the right thing and you are 110% happy and excited with your purchase. I have lived with odds and ends of furniture all through college and can honestly say I did not care.
The second area in which people go wrong when furnishing their home - caring. People really really really care about what other people think about their home. Albeit Pinterest and Houzz have sparked this care, you should genuinely not give a shit about whether or not someone will judge your decision of interior furnishing. Why does it matter? They aren't living there. You are. You need to be the one that loves and cherishes that space most and the journies that lead you to the things in there.
Nothing bothers me more than when someone insists on having their hand held when shopping for home goods. "Is that going to look ok?" "Can I do that?" To which I often want to reply, "Is your home being photographed by Domino in the next month?" To which their reply would 99 times out of 100 be "No." Rule #1: There are no rules.
So why does it matter? I believe (and am certain) that this all stems from the want and need to be accepted by our peers. You want them to pat you on the back and think you have the coolest home on the block, right? Right...
I style my home because it makes me happy. Maybe I have some talent I was born with that allows me to have a better eye than others when it comes to this thing called "decorating." The truth is that I am no better at it than anyone else - I just know what makes me happy inside. My kitchen is a happy place because I love being in there. Every room should reflect how you feel.
If you find the need to have a status (say, if you are a housewife in a million dollar mansion with a husband that makes 6 figures), hire a designer. Hire a professional that knows what they're doing. Designers are really good at doing all the worrying and nitpicky things that come along with furnishing and styling an entire home. Trust me, I deal with them everyday and have vowed to never become one of them. They will design a space to a tee and make sure it's presentable enough for the President of the United States (sup Obama) to have dinner. All while you just sit back and relax (and pay the big bucks).
If a designer is not in your realm of affordability (seriously, who can afford a designer before age 40?), do your research. Get on Pinterest. Start boards. Find what inspires you and look for a common thread amongst the pins you like. Then, start doing things. This next part is very important:
Do not treat every decision like it's the end of the world. Because, guess what? It isn't. The world will not come to a close just because you buy the wrong size end table. If you are genuinely happy with something you buy because it is a good representation of who you are and how you style your home, that will not matter. You thought it would work well next to the sofa, but now you realize that maybe it would be awesome next to your random old hand-me-down chair in the bedroom. Boom, swapped. Problem solved.
Serial shopper & returners are retail workers worst nightmare. It's okay to change your mind, but it should not happen with every purchase. You do not need your "designer friend"s second opinion on the mirror you bought. There's a reason you bought it - you like it. Keep it. They will not judge you for your purchase.
So please, friends. Trust your instincts. Furnish and style your home the way you like to. After all, it's a representation of who you are, just as the way you dress. Not someone else's representation of you.