40 Decorating Mistakes You Need To Avoid At All Costs

Everybody makes mistakes and it’s easy to fall in all sorts of traps when, for example, you’re decorating your place. Even professional designers do it so don’t feel bad. What’s important is to realize you’re making a mistake. Sometimes even that is difficult. But that’s what tips are for. Check out our list of common decorating mistakes and find out which ones you’ve been making and what to avoid in the future. It’s never too late to improve your home’s décor.

1. Decorating each room separately

Decorate with unique furniture and accessories

It’s ok to want each room to be different and unique. However, don’t exaggerate and decorate each space in a bubble, without nothing in common with the rest of the rooms. You need to maintain a certain level of cohesion throughout and to link the spaces through color or using other methods. After all, you want the whole place to feel like home.

2. Painting the walls before choosing the furniture

Deep blue walls painted

This is a very common mistake. We often get carried away and we decide on a particular color palette without taking into consideration all the details. You should avoid painting the walls first and then choosing the furniture for a very simple reason: there are tons of color tones to choose from when it comes to paint but not so many when it comes to furniture and accessories.

3. Using out of proportion pieces

Modern Grey Sofa for Living room - LED Lights

Size matters and it’s important to choose the right proportions when picking furniture and accessories for your home. You don’t want the rooms to look tiny or empty. So keep this in mind when visiting furniture stores. A sofa might look great in the store but it can turn out to be too big for your living room.

4. Not measuring things

Red Two seats sofa

The previous issue related to proportions raises another problem. You can’t just go out and search for furniture without measuring the space first. Whether you’re looking to buy a sofa or a potted plant, always measure the space to make sure it fits. If you’re just guessing you might regret it later.

5. Matching everything

Match furniture

It’s easy to get carried away and wanting to match everything in the house. However, this is never a good idea. An interior décor that’s too matchy matchy doesn’t really say anything except maybe that you don’t have a lot of imagination. So try instead to look for diversity.

6. Following trends/ fads

Walnut chair frames

It’s understandable to be tempted to decorating according to the latest trends and including all sorts of fads in your design. However, trends come and go so you’ll most likely realize a few months later that you no longer like your home. A much better idea is to opt for something timeless.

7. Using the wrong theme

Living room wall media furniture with a modern wallpaper

Let’s be honest. As much as you’d want your living room to look like a beach house you won’t get the desired results unless you have the right setting for such a theme. You can’t expect great views from an apartment building in a crowded city. It’s important to pick a suitable theme for your home and to make sure you can make the most of it.

8. Not testing colors before painting

Grey wall for living room

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is not testing the color before you paint an entire wall with it. Paint a small portion first and then decide whether or not the color is suitable. In addition, take light into consideration. You must see how the color looks like in both natural and artificial lighting.

9. Letting others make the decisions for you

Grey ottoman chair with a table above

Sure, you need to take other people’s advice into consideration. However, don’t let someone else make the decisions for you. After all, you’re the one who’s going to be living in that home and you need to make it feel like home for you. So find your style and do what makes you happy and what’s best for you even if it defies all traditions.

10. Settling for something you’re not completely happy with

Modern standing bar dressing with gold accents

Here’s a tip: when someone says “trust me, you’ll love it” don’t do it. Nobody else can possibly know what you love except for you. Sure, they may know what makes them happy but that doesn’t necessarily apply to others as well. It’s usually best to double check everything and to get what you want even if it doesn’t follow the rules.

11. Using your favorite color as the main color

Using like main color your fav

You might be tempted to disagree with this. After all, if you love a color why not want to see it in your home? Actually we’re not saying to not use it in the décor. Just don’t make it the main color. That’s because this is not the best way in which to highlight your favorite color. Try instead to use it in small amounts here and there. Another reason for this is that you’ll probably become tired of it a lot quicker if you see it everywhere.

12. Avoiding bright or dark colors

Avoid bright or dark colors

Sure, very bright or dark colors can be intimidating and not everyone is comfortable using them in their home’s interior design. However, if you only use neutrals your home won’t really stand out and will lack a certain amount of character. So don’t be afraid of strong colors. They can be very friendly once you get familiar with them.

13. Choosing looks without considering function

Glass top table with a wood base

Before you buy something such as a sofa, a table or a lamp, don’t just look at its aspect. You must also take into consideration things like function or comfort. Take a minute to see if that sofa feels right when you sit on it or you that lamp is really what you need for your desk or reading corner.

14. Matching furniture

Large leather sofa with a matching decor

When you’re shopping for furniture, don’t just buy the whole set. If all the furniture in your home is matching nothing will stand out. More than that, your home will look like a page from a catalogue and that’s actually not a desirable thing. You want your home to be special and full of character.

15. Pushing furniture against the walls

Pushing furniture against the walls

This is a very common mistake and we all do it without even realizing there are other options to take into consideration. By pushing all the furniture against the walls you make the space look like a hallway and you don’t really entice conversation or interaction between people. You should avoid that, especially in the living room.

16. Using inadequate lighting

Finding the right balance for lighting

Finding the right balance when it comes to lighting is difficult but also very important. You can easily use too much artificial light in a room or too little. Either way, the space won’t be comfortable. You can partially solve the problem with dimmers. However, there’s also accent lighting and task lighting to think of.

17. Cluttering rooms with too much stuff

black console table for bedroom

People often make the mistake of overcrowding a room with furniture and lots of accessories in an effort to make it more comfortable. The result, however, is the complete opposite. A space that looks and feels cluttered is less appealing and less inviting and a much simpler one where only the basics are included.

18. Buying cheap things

Wire lighting fixtures

There’s actually a different between cheap and inexpensive. Something can be inexpensive without being cheap and vice versa. It’s ok to look for sales and to want to save money but don’t skimp on quality and buy cheap things. It’s actually better to invest more in a quality item that lasts longer than to get something cheap that you have to replace in a short while.

19. Extravagance on useless pieces

High quality leather furniture

There’s no point in spending a lot of money on a piece you won’t be using or on something that doesn’t need to be really high quality. This type of extravagance won’t help you in any way. So figure out your priorities and don’t be a snob just because you can.

20. Ignoring the entryway

take in consideration the entryway with a console table

The entryway or foyer as some call it is a very important space. This area creates the first impression of your home and it’s the first thing your guests see upon entering your home. So don’t neglect this space. Make it as welcoming and as lovely as possible and don’t be afraid to personalize it.

21. Being too formal

Small living room design with a black sofa

People often make this mistake when what they really want is an elegant interior décor. There’s a difference between elegant and formal but, at the same time, there are also plenty of similarities. You don’t want to be too formal when decorating the living room or the bedroom for example. These are spaces that need to be comfortable and cozy.

22. Uncomfortable dining chairs

Frame dining chairs with a leather seat

Everyone should be comfortable at the dinner table. Obviously, this means you need to pick your dining chairs carefully. Make sure the backrest and armrests feel right and that the size and shape are good. If you don’t want to replace your whole chair set you can just add some new seat cushions or covers.

23. Rugs with the wrong proportions

Wrong proportion for area rugs

If a rug is either too small or too big for a room, it won’t look right. The proportions can be decided in various ways depending on the function of the room and its layout. In any case, avoid an awkward look by measuring the space before you purchase or order the rug. Use painter’s tape to outline the area where you want the rug to go so you can picture it better.

24. Ignoring windows

Natural light living room

The windows are your main and probably only source of natural light for the room so why ignore them? They often also provide nice views and you can take great advantage of that. But even if the views aren’t extraordinary, you can still take advantage of your windows with some nice treatments.

25. Forcing a color scheme

Purple deep bedroom and bedding

Making things match is not exactly a great idea. If you force a color scheme the décor won’t look right. You need to make each piece and each color look like it belongs in that particular spot. This can sometime mean you have to use various tones of the same color or to use texture to emphasize a certain element.

26. Hanging window treatments too low

Hanging window treatments too low

You may think that you let your curtains hang really low and touch the floor, maybe even form a fold down there, will give the room a sophisticated and elegant look. The reality is that this has the opposite effect. If you hang window treatments too low this makes the room look short and the décor look clumsy.

27. Hanging artwork too high

High artwork

This is one of the most common decorating mistakes. We often tend to hang artwork too high on the wall, forgetting that we actually need to feel comfortable looking at it. Ideally, the center of the artwork needs to be at eye level. A similar mistake is picking artwork or picture frames that are too small for the space. You need their dimensions in accordance with the proportions of everything else around them.

28. Keeping things you don’t like

Glassware on table

Don’t feel obligated to keep something just because it was given to you by someone you care about. If it’s ugly or if you don’t like it or need it, get rid of it. We’re often having trouble with this part and we end up collecting all sorts of things that just take up space. At some point, you need to decide whether or not it’s really worth keeping that thing in your home.

29. Getting rid of things too quickly

Clean dining table

Let’s say you’re thinking of replacing your dining chairs with new ones or that you move into a new home and there’s some old furniture in there. Don’t just hurry to get rid of them. There are a lot of interesting ways in which you can repurpose or recondition them. You can even give them a makeover. Just take the time to think twice about this.

30. Not giving the eye places to rest

Modern bedroom in grey

If you fill all the walls in your home with framed picture, artwork or furniture, you’ll overstimulate the eye and the space will feel cluttered and not at all as inviting and comfortable as you’d want it to be. Try to give the eye placed to rest. Leave some empty spots.

31. Displaying everything you have

Displaying all books

Just because you have a lot of decorations, a lot of collections and a lot of pictures doesn’t mean you have to display them all. You need to pick a few ones, the ones you like best and only use those. Keep everything else behind closed doors. You’ll still have them but they won’t be in your face everywhere you look.

32. No curtains or blinds

No curtains or blinds for windows

Let’s say you don’t want to cover the windows and that you prefer to let all the sunlight into the room. That doesn’t mean you have to leave the windows bare without any curtains or blinds. Window treatments are important and there are plenty of styles to choose from. They make a space look complete and they can be used to add texture and color to a room.

33. Too many photos in one place

Too many pictures in one place

Instead of having dozens of photos displayed on the mantel, on the console table or on all the shelves in your home, consider instead creating a gallery wall or a collage. This way you’ll save space and you’ll be able to display the pictures in a more organized and stylish fashion, using matching frames or creating interesting patterns.

34. Furniture that doesn’t fit

Colorful furniture for outdoor

This applies to furniture pieces that are either too big or too small for a space but also to those that don’t suit a space either because they feature the wrong style, wrong shapes or colors. It’s important to picture a piece in the room before buying it. Certain apps can let you do that but you can always just use your imagination.

35. Patterns used wrong

Patterns using wrong on sofa

When working with patterns, it’s easy to go overboard. However, keep in mind that too many patterns can make a space look cluttered. It’s also difficult to successfully mix and match them and there may ways in which you can go wrong. So pick one or two and stick with those.

36. A complete lack of pattern

Curved armchair with a tufted model

The opposite is also possible. We sometimes forget that patterns exist as well and that color isn’t our only option. This can make a décor look monotonous. Similarly, we sometimes ignore texture. All these things need to work in harmony, complementing each other.

37. Hiding the sofa or couch behind covers

Sofa covers

Covers are nice for a variety of reasons. They keep the sofa clean and can be washed easily. They can also be replaced and you can have several in different colors so you don’t get bored. However, some covers are simply too ugly to exist and all they do is hide the elegance and beauty of the sofa.

38. Too many pillows

Too many pillows for sofa

There is actually such a thing as having too many pillows. It’s understandable to want to make a space feel cozy and comfortable by decorating it with throw pillows but when these occupy almost the entire seating area then you have a problem. Use pillows as accent decorations and don’t exaggerate with their numbers.

39. Tangled cords and wires

Hanging lighting fixtures

Nobody likes to see messy cords under the desk or behind the TV. So what can you do about this? Well, you can organize your cords, label them, hide them in a box or turn them into ingenious wall décor. Either way, don’t just let them sit there, full of dust.

40. Odd-shaped toilet rugs

Toilet rug- bathroom

We agree that toilet rugs are nice to have around. They’re fluffy and warm and cozy but a lot of the times they just look awkward and ruin the whole harmony in the bathroom. You could avoid that with a wall-hung toilet or you could just get a simple rectangular rug and place it in front of the toilet.