And how to avoid them
12 of the most common decorating mistakes most people make when choosing paint colors, furniture layouts, and styling tips on how to avoid them.
Goodness, there are times when I think about all the mistakes I made when I first started attempting to decorate our house, and part of me wishes some one would have warned me!
Like yes, the colors on the little paint chips in the paint store do look totally different then they will painted on the walls in your dark bedroom.
No, do not decorate around pieces of furniture you know you really hate.
This post contains affiliate links. I can make money if you make a purchase after clicking on one of my links.
But, apparently, some times you have to learn things the hard way. Or at least I did!
So, here it is. 12 common decorating tips and how to avoid them.
1 Not testing paint colors before buying them.
We made this mistake! (and just so you know, picking paint colors in bad lighting isn’t a good idea.
Pick out a few favorite paint colors from the swatches, get some samples, paint them on a piece of white foam board. And take a day or two to look at the colors through out the day in all kinds of light before making your final choice.
2 Decorating with too many small accessories.
I used to cram 20 different little decor accents on a dresser or end table or shelf because I liked all of them individually. And I figured, well, hey it’ll all look cute together. But it ended up looking like a cluttery mess.
Less is more. Vary heights and sizes of accents you use on table tops.
3 Not having plants.
Before I figured this one out, I’d look at a room and think, “something is missing” And I could never put my fingers on it. Until that aha moment. “oh yeah, life! Living things”
Even if you have a black thumb and have to use artificial kind instead, plants brighten a room and make the space feel alive.
4 Having too many picture frames on table tops.
Any time I see “decorating tips” articles telling me to hang art and stay away from displaying family photos. I think “you’ve lost your dang mind”. People live here, not robots.
Back when I filled up entire console tables with picture frames of family. I realized it was crazy overwhelming, sort of like the knick knack problem in decorating mistake #2.
Display family photos in a gallery wall. And if your extra particular about wanting it to look clean, simple and modern, opt for simple black and white prints in black frames. Instant stream lined decor but still sentimental and timeless.
5 Having exposed cables and cords.
When we first put the TV up in our house, it was a tangled mess, but I didn’t really know how to resolve it. So we just lived with it for a while.
Pick up some cord covers, wrap them around your cords, stick them to the wall, and ta da!! Cords are disguised!
6 Decorating around something you hate.
If I had a dollar for every time I tried to decorate around a piece of furniture I hated instead of just selling it and using the money to buy something I actually liked, I’d have quite a few bucks. Decorating around something you hate to make it work – an entire room you’ll hate along with it.
You don’t have to have the money to buy a new replacement piece of furniture to swap out the piece you don’t like. Thrift stores, facebook, trade groups and consignment shops are packed full of potential.
7 Not decluttering before redecorating.
You know those love it or list it shows on HGTV? Half of the time, when the home owners are walking around talking about how much they dislike their home and how dysfunctional it is? Most of their problems would be solved just by decluttering.
Before I can fully wrap my brain around how to decorate a space, I remove everything. Sort, donate, and come up with a way to organize what you keep, and then the pretty decor can follow.
8 Having too much furniture.
In our dining room in our house, I tried to put way too many pieces of furniture in the space because I thought there was some kind of rule that a dining room just had to have a big table, 6 bulky chairs, accent table… I mean geeze! There was no room to move in there!
Rooms crammed with furniture feel smaller. Figure out what pieces you use most and try to scale back the rest.
9 Using rugs that are too small.
One time, I stuck a 4×6 rug underneath our dining table because hey… it fit! But the chairs didn’t and it got in the way and looked awkward. And seriously… If it just creates an obstacle every day, why have it.
I discovered this handy little trick one day and hello! Light bulb moment! Generally, I use a minimum of 8×10 rugs under beds and in living rooms and at least 6×9 under a dining table.
10 Too many patterns.
I think I used to have a phobia of solid fabrics. Because at one point, every single rug, curtain, and pillow had some sort of print or pattern on it. And it was the busiest mess ever.
Stick to about three fabric patterns at a time. I like to use a vintage style rug because the print is fluid and very forgiving and combine it with a nature inspired print, a geometric print and a solid fabric or two that still have some sort of interesting texture.
11 Picture frames hung too high.
I used to hang photos way up too high and level with door frames until I started flipping through magazines and realized I was doing it totally wrong.
Hang wall decor and art at eye level.
12 Not using any color.
When I first started decorating my house, the basic was beige on brown on gray on greige, and it was a total snooze fest.
I still love neutrals, our living room is totally white at the moment. But the fun part about neutral walls is you can have fun with color in the accents, if your scared to go too permanent.
I love incorporating blue and green for my color timid self because both are widely found on nature and they don’t feel quite as shocking to the eye, if your shy about getting too bold. Maybe eventually your color phobic self will even find the courage to paint your kitchen cabinets a deep green.
If only I figured out all of these things before I started on this decorating journey.
But, then again, thats the fun part of adventure. We all have to start somewhere. Make mistakes, figure out what speaks to you, and keep on going with what you love. The rest will follow.