Roll of White Out Tape in Dispenser

My Favorite Times to Make a Mistake

Photo by Charles Deluvio

I used to think there was no good time to make a mistake. In school, I was only satisfied with an A, and, at work, I strove for 100-percent flawless execution. I didn't achieve that, of course, but it was my goal.

Then, I became an interior designer. Interior design is art and science. Good art is the product of lots of "mistakes" that creatives call "drafts" or "sketches." I throw away many, many drafts before I draw a floorplan that works. I consider dozens of swatches before finding the perfect fabric. 

Here are some of my favorite times to make a mistake:

  • On paper - before I've committed to the design for a new room or purchased any furniture or fixtures.
  • With safe people - the ones who will shrug and say, "Wow, I'm glad we tried that but let's do this next time."
  • When I can easily fix it - like when I'm sampling paint colors rather than after I've painted the whole room.

The irony for an over-achiever like me is that making mistakes at the right time improves my work.

She didn't know it, but Jackie Lopey's days as an advertising executive were numbered when she bought and renovated a 1950's bungalow. She soon went back to school and started her own design studio. Jackie is an award-winning, certified interior designer and the founder of Wide Canvas.

Connect with Jackie by emailing

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