Top 10 Biggest Decorating Mistakes

Top 10 Biggest Decorating Mistakes

Have you ever walked down a busy street and counted the number of fashion faux paus that you see? I know I have and, sadly, there are a lot when you actually stop and take count. The same thing can be said about home decorating. There are hundreds of mistakes that you can make when you are decorating and it can be embarrassing when you try to show off your beautifully decorated spaces only to be told that maybe the space just isn’t that great.

Thankfully, fixing a decorating mistake can be pretty easy and it only takes a little bit of planning to avoid it completely. Although everyone has their own sense of style, you may be surprised over what are considered the top ten biggest decorating mistakes of all time.

Mistake Number 1: Too much is…well…too much!

The first decorating mistake that everyone has made at least once in their life time is when they use too much of any accessory. Accessories are a great way to add depth and character to a space but occasionally people will go overboard. This means anything that you use, by the way, from pillows on couches and beds to ornaments or frames on a shelf.

Too many things can look cluttered and messy and really, if you can’t sit on the couch or lay on the bed without a thousand pillows pushing you off, then maybe you should tone down the number of pillows that you use. The best rule of thumb is to keep items to a minimum so that you get the character but you don’t get the clutter along with it.

Mistake Number 2: Show room ready can be the death of style

Who doesn’t love wandering through furniture stores and seeing the beautiful displays set up. Each display look like exquisite rooms that anyone would be happy to have in their home. The only problem is that they tend to be too exquisite and don’t really translate well into a real home. Generally, once you get your room in a box unpacked, it looks forced, and lacks real character, namely yours.

Instead of copying the design from the store to a tee, make your own changes to it so that it reflects your personality. Borrow some of the ideas and leave the rest the only place they would look good; at the store.

Mistake Number 3: Pee Catchers

Okay, maybe they aren’t officially called pee catchers but a toilet rug might as well be. Those things are just disgusting for obvious reasons and they offer no sense of style or design to a space. Instead, what they offer is a carpet where you wonder how many little accidents occurred on them. If it was up to me, I would toss it out and put that matching seat cover in the trash can while I was at it. If you want a rug in the bathroom, go for one that is not shaped to fit snugly around the toilet and one that encompasses most of the bathroom.

Mistake Number 4: Too many prints

It can be difficult when you are decorating a room to choose between certain prints. There are thousands of truly beautiful prints available and with a little creativity; you could probably make them all match. The problem is that too many prints can look very busy and it detracts from the style that you are trying to achieve. A room that would normally be very inviting leaves people feeling ill at ease simply because there are just too many prints to be enjoyed.

Mistake Number 5: Enjoying a Fad

Now, I’m not saying that it isn’t okay to enjoy a fad or two when they come out but it is important not to go over board and buy something that you will regret later on. You know what I’m talking about. The beaded curtains, the lava lamps, the faux finish wall paper. Just put them down and walk away because as wonderful as they look for a short time, they will quickly fade into memories of style mistakes past and you will be left with something that you can never seem to get rid of. If you do purchase a fad item, make sure you get rid of it when the fad is gone.

Mistake Number 6: Only boats should float

This is often a common decorating mistake and there really doesn’t need to be a reason for it. When you are using an area rug, it is important that you anchor it to something whether it is a dining room table or the living room furniture. Don’t place a rug in the center of the floor and then allow the furniture to float around it like a sea of flotsam. Instead, make sure the carpet is big enough so the chairs and couches in the room can easily rest their front legs on the rug.

Mistake Number 7: Matching is not always the safe choice

Want to ruin an excellent decorating idea quickly? All you need to do is make everything in the room match. Same color, same shade, same lines, same, same, same. It might look great on paper but in a room it can be boring and just a little bit creepy looking if you chose a strange color. Having a base for color, shade and lines is perfect but you will want to punch it up a little with accent colors and accent pieces. Eclectic may be a style in itself but it can do wonders in saving you from a huge decorating mistake.

Mistake Number 8: Forgetting about the lighting

When it comes to lighting, there can be a lot of mistakes. First there can be too much, then there can be too little or maybe the lighting is in the wrong spot. It is important to really pay attention to the lighting and find something that not only provides illumination but also adds depth to your decorating plans. And remember, lava lamps are just a fad.

Mistake Number 9: Throwing in the furniture

Another common mistake is in setting up your furniture. For one, make sure that the furniture fits in your room. If it is too big or you have too much of it, the room will not only look, but will be cluttered. Also, it is important to really pay attention to how it is laid out. Furniture should complement each other and they should not be cluttered together or grouped into threes.

Mistake Number 10: Design would be so much better if everything was cable less

The last mistake that we are going to look at is exposed cables. One of the rooms that really offer a problem to decorators is the room with the television in it. For one, most electronics are full of cables and you can’t really get away from them and for the other, it can be difficult hiding all the cables if you need to get to an outlet but you should really try. Cables left out in the open can really destroy the style of the room so try to hide them. You can do this by covering them with matching cable covers or by hiding them under the baseboard.

Now that you are aware of some of the top decorating mistakes around, it may be easier to realize when you are making them.


  • Missy February 19, 2009 at 18:52 PMLogin to Reply →

    “And remember, lava lamps are just a fad.”

    a fad since 1960 is no longer a fad! It’s the
    real deal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    That’s right. I said it.


  • allison February 19, 2009 at 20:48 PMLogin to Reply →

    I don’t think that collection of wall art would look so bad if the arrangement were better. That’s the ugliest salon style I’ve ever seen.

  • Linda Paul February 19, 2009 at 23:43 PMLogin to Reply →

    As an artist my decorating pet peeve(and possibly mistake # 11) is placing too small of an artwork on too big of a wall. Here is a tip to help you figure out what size an artwork should be for a particular space. Take a piece of colored wrapping paper or newspaper and cut it to the size you think the artwork should be and tape it to your wall. You will see instantly if it suits the space and should be either bigger or smaller. This also works when trying to choose a size for a kitchen backsplash.

    If you like the more intellectual route. a 4/5 davinci proportion is perfect

  • April Force Pardoe February 20, 2009 at 15:13 PMLogin to Reply →

    the toilet carpets are one of my favorite things on your list
    (although they are all common mistakes). I had the hardest time trying to
    convince a client to not buy new toilet cover/carpet. She did it
    anyway. A little gross!

  • Indrazniti…si visati ! « Taramul fagaduintei March 3, 2009 at 18:31 PMLogin to Reply →

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  • Ximena G May 15, 2009 at 16:38 PMLogin to Reply →

    Hi, I’m the student the english in Colombia, I like to share with you this comment. We saw commons the decorate mistakes in the home and the office. The last week, we were in fair in Desing and building, the most of exhibition were exhibited the new ideas to correct mistakes no alone in decorate also in construction with accessories usefull for each case.

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  • Colin Hall April 20, 2010 at 06:58 AMLogin to Reply →

    I once made my own wallpaper by rolling naked over blank paper. I hung it on the wall and got shot of it within a month. It cost about £300 and took ages to create … and I had about 6 visitors who said they hated it.

  • Fazal March 27, 2013 at 14:39 PMLogin to Reply →

    Hi Mihai, I agree with you i really have done this mistake regarding too much in decorating my bedroom but now i am thinking about to decorate too simple. I was impressed with my room mate decoration. Thanks for your pointing these great mistakes.