Don’t Do That! 20 Decorating Mistakes to Avoid

Before we dive into this article together, let’s get one thing straight: Design is highly personal. There is not one rule that everyone should or must follow – quite the opposite is true. Our homes should look as different and unique as our individual personalities. That being said, there are many mistakes that many people make that, frankly, could (and should!) be avoided in the interest of creating a stellar interior.

Traditional cozy Bathroom designView in gallery

So. Let’s talk about these mistakes, and then we’ll talk about what you can do to avoid them or what choices you can make instead of them. Onward – to 20 decorating mistakes to avoid (and lovelier alternatives).

AVOID repeating the same fabric throughout your space.

Avoid using same fabric around the living roomView in gallery

While once a decorating thing, matching fabrics for all parts of a room is actually borderline tacky. Of course, this doesn’t mean your fabrics shouldn’t coordinate – they absolutely should. But we recommend varying things up among the window treatments, throw pillows, upholstery, and everything else.

AVOID painting a room without testing the color.

Avoid painting a room without testing the colorView in gallery

I know, I know, you just want to get the job done and get it done yesterday. But it’s critical that you test out paint color variations in your room before you commit. For example, painted greys often look bluer than they looked at the paint store. You need to see the color at all times of day, in a variety of lighting situations, and with your furniture. This will save you time, money, and disappointment and will bring you ultimate color satisfaction.{found on leedyinteriors}.

AVOID too small, floating rugs.

Avoid to small rugsView in gallery

Throwing down a small rug in the center of a big room and leaving it at that looks weak and wimpy – it would probably be better to go without a rug altogether. Larger area rugs can be expensive, so sometimes a smaller option is the only thing that will work in your budget. Use as large a rug as works for your budget (and as is appropriate for your room), but if your rug must be smaller, pull your furniture up to it so that at least two legs of the furniture fits onto the rug. Ideally, the rug will touch all the furniture.{found on sarahgreenman}.

AVOID overlooking the entryway.

AVOID overlooking the entrywayView in gallery

The entryway to your home is the first thing that people see and feel when they enter your home; from this space, they will largely draw conclusions about the rest of your home. So make sure your entryway exhibits some sort of style! Use color, texture, pattern, and shine to your advantage here, just like you do everywhere else.

AVOID pushing all furniture up against the walls.

Avoid pushing all furniture against the wallView in gallery

This makes your space actually feel smaller, as it opens up a chasm of nothingness in the center of the room. Instead, arrange furniture away from the walls in strategic cozy conversational groupings.

AVOID choosing pieces based solely on looks.

choosing pieces based solely on looksView in gallery

Let’s be honest – the way something looks is important. (Begs the wife who wants to replace her husband’s broken-in, beloved-but-ragged rocker/recliner.) But it’s not everything. No one wants to hang out in a space where there’s no comfortable place to be. Consider the function, consider the comfort.{found on llhinteriors}.

AVOID decorating with too many small frames.

Decorate with too many small framesView in gallery

While it is true that strategically clustering several smaller items of similar style or proportion can read as a single larger piece, it is not wise to use this guideline throughout your space. Be selective, choose the very best of your photos, and display fewer, larger versions. The same holds true for artwork.{found on housebyhoff}.

AVOID buying cheap stuff.

Avoid buying cheap furnitureView in gallery

While we all love a good value, it’s important to not get caught up on the price of things more than the quality of the things. A home filled with cheap items is subconsciously (or overtly) uncomfortable, which is different than a home filled with quality items acquired inexpensively. Truly. You get what you pay for – buy the best you can afford for your home.

AVOID matchy-matchy décor.

Avoid matchy-matchy decorView in gallery

While furniture items tend to be sold as sets in retail, sometimes this dulls the charisma of a space. It can actually make your space look and feel like a catalog more than a lived-in place. Mix-and-match beloved pieces to keep things interesting. And, bonus, when you’re ready to replace a single piece, you can do so…without having to replace the entire set.{found on kbwinteriors}.

AVOID keeping décor that you dislike.

AVOID keeping décor that you dislikeView in gallery

If you have carpet that makes your blood boil every time you look at it, or a side table that makes no sense, or a piece of art that someone gave you that really just doesn’t speak to you…replace them with things you love. This will make all the difference in your home’s ability to represent who you truly are and to be a space in which you love to exist.

AVOID knick-knack overdose.

AVOID knick-knack overdoseView in gallery

Even the cleanest, most design-savvy spaces will seem cluttered when tchotchkes start overtaking the surfaces. You may love many things, you may collect many things, but this doesn’t mean you display all the things all the time. Choose, and choose wisely.{found on yatzer}.

AVOID curtains that dangle pointlessly.

Avoid large and big curtainsView in gallery

By and large, window treatments should either be cut off directly at the windowsill or reach to the floor – hanging out in “no man’s land” midway down the wall looks unpolished, unfinished, and (dare I say?) unattractive. Floor-to-ceiling window treatments can help make the windows themselves feel bigger, which is never a bad thing!

AVOID incorporating too much furniture.

AVOID incorporating too much furnitureView in gallery

While it’s fairly easy to keep adding to your décor, this habit doesn’t do anyone any favors from an aesthetic point of view. Be sure to take a step back and edit your décor regularly. This will maintain a fresh, roomy vibe rather than a cluttered, distracted one.

AVOID using fake flowers.

Avoid using fake flowersView in gallery

These really are just dust-catchers, and the vast majority look…well…fake. If you love flowers, rotate fresh blooms through your space. Or get creative with fresh, real items – think fresh fruit, for example.

AVOID using shag rugs anywhere near the toilet.

AVOID using shag rugs anywhere near the toiletView in gallery

This is not only a poor design choice, but it’s also quite gross. If you want a rug, opt for an easy-to-clean flatweave or outdoor rug, placed away from the base of the toilet.

AVOID hanging artwork too high.

Living Space decoratedView in gallery

A good rule of thumb is that art should be hung at eye level. This doesn’t mean that the bottom of the piece hits eye level, though. An observer should be able to comfortably view your art (or whatever framed piece) without craning his/her neck.

AVOID using disproportionate furniture.

AVOID using disproportionate furnitureView in gallery

Furniture that’s too small or too big for the space makes the entire room feel uncomfortable and off somehow. If you love an overstuffed sofa, make sure your room is substantial enough to pull it off. A large living room, conversely, needs more than a pair of small club chairs to make sense as well.

AVOID overwhelming pattern use.

AVOID overwhelming pattern useView in gallery

While mixing and matching patterns is fun and important in creating a visually interesting space, doing so with an unrestrained hand will only lead to a space feeling crowded and chaotic. Be sure to maintain continuity of some sort between and among your patterns – vary one thing while keeping another thing consistent.{found on ashleycampbell}.

AVOID too-formal pillow configurations.

AVOID too-formal pillow configurationsView in gallery

Perhaps you’ve noticed in photos or stores the throw pillows arranged in a “creased” want (kind of stiffly karate-chopped down the center), or you’ve seen a ton of gorgeous pillows on that display sofa. These touches are fine for the showroom, but they create a stilted, uncomfortably formal vibe in a real-life room. Make sure your seating looks, and is, ready for sitting on.

AVOID incongruent lighting.

AVOID incongruent lightingView in gallery

Just because your living room came with one overhead light in the center of the room doesn’t mean that’s the one-and-only light you’re stuck with. Quite the opposite, actually. You want to incorporate lighting options that take your space effortlessly through morning, day, and night. Having different levels of lighting – for example overhead, floor lamp, sconce, table lamp, etc. – is important.