How to Avoid the 10 Worst Home Decorating Mistakes

Follow these decorating tips to make your home happier, spacious and joyful.

Decorating your home is not just the act of buying items and displaying them, it’s creating a healthy lifestyle. In this article you’ll learn how to easily stay away from things like gloomy rooms, kid clutter, dull and lifeless environments, and the number one mistake in decorating – scale.

As an industry expert, I’ve gathered the ten worst home decorating mistakes to avoid, like lighting, chair no-no’s, textiles blunders to increase your quality of life.

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Image courtesy of Kelsy Dody / unsplash

1) LIGHTS, ACTION!

During the day, windows bring in natural light to shine through your home but as the evening looms, having too few lamps or overhead lights makes a comfortable space feel gloomy and creepy. Don’t go to the dark side! Bring back the light with overhead fixtures, table lamps and floor lamps.

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Image courtesy of Dan Counsell / Unsplash

2) KIDS, WE LOVE THEM BUT NOT THEIR STUFF

Anyone who has small children (and teens) knows that they have stuff. Toys, lots of clothes, cups, crayons, electronic equipment, etc.. and the abundance of items scattered around hampers your zen. Tidying up is an important lesson for every kid (and teen and adult). Use dedicated storage pieces to help your children organize their favorite toys, allowing them easier access and keeping them out from under your feet.

3) COME, LET’S SIT

My husband insists on keeping his parent’s dining room table and chairs from like, fifty years ago and wow, those chairs are horribly uncomfortable. I scarf down my dinner every night, not enjoying the food or partaking in leisurely conversation because the chairs are hard and they hurt.  A chair’s sole purpose is to allow you to sit comfortably for periods of time — choosing any chair based only on its looks, a trendy style, or your home style — instead of also its comfort will bring you pain for years to come.

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Image courtesy of Andres Jasso /Unsplash

4) YOUR TV IS NOT STYLISH

Humans spend more than four hours a day watching tv but that doesn’t mean that your television should be the focal point of a room. Watch the size of your television in relation to the room and furniture size. A huge television can overpower your beautifully designed space.

Blend your tv into your decor by designing the room first and adding the tv at the end. You want a room that speaks to your many hobbies and leisure activities, not just your obsessions with Fixer Upper.

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Image courtesy of Freddie Marriage / Unsplash

5) PLANT IT!

Interior designer, Amanda Curtis wrote about the need for house plants in her home office article and I couldn’t agree with her sentiment more. A home without plants is not as warm and can feel dull and lifeless. Don’t overdo the green but adding a few well placed and easy to care for plants will clear away toxins and bring your rooms to life.

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6) TEST COLORS FIRST

No one wants to waste money or time so why would you grab a small paint chip, tape it to the wall, say “yes, that’s it” and buy 5 gallons without testing, first? Buy a small container of the color(s) you’re considering and paint small squares on the wall. Live with the colors during the day and evening then choose the color that works 24/7.

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Image courtesy of Inside Weather /Unsplash

7) FABRIC SAMPLES ARE A MUST

Speaking about testing color, do not order furniture, especially big ticket items without seeing a fabric sample first. Online colors vary as monitor colors vary and if you’re in a store and the sample couch is green but you want burnt orange, ask for the fabric sample. If you can take it home, even better.

If you’ve already made that common decorating mistake, use accessories in complimentary or bolder colors to move one’s eye away from the offending furniture.

8) SCALE IS VERY IMPORTANT

Proportion and scale is the number one mistake that almost everyone makes when it comes to interior design. You never want everything in a room to be at the same height or the same size. Proper scale is a mixture of different shapes, heights and sizes. Using different sizes of furniture and placing art and accessories at different heights throughout keeps the room interesting and the eyes moving.

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Image courtesy of Simon Hurry /Unsplash

9) GROUP YOUR COLLECTIONS

I know, it started with one Lladró figuring now you’re up to 20 and you’ve got one or two scattered around your entire home. What’s the right way to display your coveted collection?

You’re proud of your accessories so group them in three’s so they tell a story and make a statement. The Rule of Three is a Feng Shui principle that’s very important in both art and interior design. This theory presents the idea that odd numbers expand and create more energy, while even number contract and condense. 

Bring your collection together, begin to tell their story and proudly display them in groupings in selected areas of your home.

10) LESS IS MORE

Your home is an ever-evolving story. You do not have to populate it with every nicknack and trendy accessory at once. There are two cardinal rules of design; Less is more, and contrast is interesting.

As you move through your life and adventures, purchase art and objects that tell your story and rotate them around your home. Continuing to collect without removing items will cause clutter, crampedness and overwhelm that can affect you and your family, emotionally and physically.

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BONUS! DISPLAY ART CORRECTLY

Of course I feel that everyone should display some form of art in their home and to avoid nasty nail holes from misplaced wall art, my advice is to measure the small to medium sized artworks and cut the shape out from kraft paper. Then tape the cut outs onto your wall with painter’s tape (less adhesive), changing the placement options until you’re happy.

Before you partake in this adventure, make sure your furniture and lamps are in place so you can play with the scale (see number 8 above).

As you have read, there are a lot of common mistakes that many people make in home decor. Luckily, there are also easy solutions to fix these no-no’s—sometimes it’s as easy as buying house plants but felt obligated to keep, while other times you may need to enlist the help and keen eye of a friend.

If all else fails and you are too frustrated with all the decorating decisions and obstacles, then hire a professional interior designer—they are knowledgeable, can help you avoid home decor mistakes and increase your quality of life.

What decorating tips from this article can you use to spruce up your home?

Share in the comment section!

This article was written by Andrea Bogart, professional artist, lead art consultant and the founder of Embrace Creatives, matching you with original art to love.

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