What to do when you’re contemplating home improvements after a move and you don’t know where to begin

I recently received a desperate email from a friend. For a variety of reasons, school and work related, she and her husband and two little boys had been bumping around the globe for years. They had just moved back to the States and bought their first home. As excited as she was to be close to family and settled down, she was also exhausted from the move. In her email she wrote, “I am feeling crazy because I need to furnish a house and pick paints and it is all so overwhelming for me. I’ve been a nomad my entire adult life. Do you have advice?”

Most of us don’t know what it’s like to change continents with a family. But a big home project can feel like too much for anyone starting out or going through a big life change. Adding to the pressure, in this age of instant everything, it’s easy to think that you ought to have a perfectly appointed home within seconds of moving in. I think we’ve all seen the before-and-after articles in which a designer gives a house a makeover in less time than it takes most of us to buy a can of paint. If you are in my friend’s shoes, looking around your place worrying and wondering, this is what I recommend.

This article was originally published at Houzz.com.