1. Not testing paint colors before buying.
We made this mistake in our last house all because I chose a paint color from a fan deck while sitting on my parents’ living room sofa at night by lamplight (just so you know, picking paint colors in bad lighting that isn’t even in your own house is a bad idea). And after Robert and my father-in-law painted our entire downstairs in that dark, yellowy beigey shade, I knew I’d made a huge mistake. But there was no turning back.
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 being a cluttery looking mess.
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 finger on it until that “ah ha” moment. Oh yeah! Life… living things.
See those shelves below? Put your fingers over those 3 little plants and what does it look like? Blah. That’s what.
4. Having too many picture frames on tabletops
Any time I see “decorating tips” articles telling me to hang art and stay away from displaying family photos, I think, “You have lost your dang mind. People live here, not robots.”
But back when I filled up entire console tables with picture frames of family, I realized it was crazy overwhelming, sort of like the knick-knacky problem in decorating mistake #2.
5. Having exposed cables and cords
When we first put up our TV in our old 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.
Lesson learned: Pick up some cord covers, wrap them around your cords, stick them to the wall, paint them the same color as your wall, and ta da! Cords are disguised.
Do you see our cords on the left side of our window seat? Cord covers, baby. They’re just barely noticeable.
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.
See this corner? I absolutely despised this leather chair. (Also, that’s the infamous dreaded paint color from mistake #1.) I tried adding a million things to the wall behind that chair in hopes of distracting from it… and made the situation worse…
7. Not decluttering before redecorating
You know those “Love It or List It” shows on HGTV? Half the time, when the homeowners are walking around talking about how much they dislike their house and how “dysfunctional” it is, most of their problems would be solved just by decluttering.
8. Having too much furniture
In our dining room in our old 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 dining chairs, a large buffet, wall decor, accent table… I mean jeez! There was no room to move in there.
9. Using rugs that are too small
One time, I stuck a 4×6 rug underneath our dining room 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?
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.
11. Picture frames hung too high
I used to hang photos way up high and level with door frames until I started flipping through magazines and realized I was doing it totally wrong.
12. Not using any color
When I first started decorating our last house, the basic premise was beige on brown on gray on greige, and it was a total snooze-fest! (Adding in tip #3 by incorporating a couple of plants helped at first though, until I figured that out.)
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