7 Major Decorating Mistakes... and How to Totally Avoid Them

Sometimes something that seems so simple can totally ruin the look of a room. So here's some mistakes to avoid when you start decorating, or redecorating any room in your home.



If you're anything like me you fantasize about how you would redecorate certain rooms in your home almost daily. I think I redesign my kitchen in my head 100 times a week. I think a lot of us don't actually get started with some projects ($$$ aside) because we're almost afraid to commit to an idea or make a really costly mistake. I'm writing this to give you not only a boost in decor confidence, but myself too. After a lot of research and talking amongst friends and design experts I realized there are a few mistakes you can make that can really screw up your entire project- so I’ve put together a list of seven major design mistakes and how to AVOID them! I also recommend when feasible, find a great interior designer who understands your vision, understands your 9000 Pinterest board ideas and can help make your dreams a reality. There are some amazing designers right here in Morris County.


1. Never Letting Go of the Past

It can be hard to get rid of "stuff" from your past, but it can be even harder to lose some bad design habits. However, the fact that you’ve lived through an awful trend (like green shag rugs) shouldn’t deter you from trying something new and fantastic. If you find the farmhouse look totally not your thing, go for a new modern look with trendy and fabulous matte brass fixtures that are all the rage and I personally love! Keep in mind, they are one of the easiest things to replace when you outgrow the look too. without redesigning the entire room.


Solution: By now you've probably lived through a design disaster or two, but now that you can get an idea of what things look like online all put together, it makes this so much easier to do nowadays. Remember, everything old becomes new again too!


2. Choosing Paint First

I used to think I needed to pick my paint first then design around that, but turns out I've been decorating backwards for most of my life- who knew! While paint is in many ways one of the biggest parts of your design (particularly in terms of square footage), that doesn’t mean it should necessarily be the first thing you pick. I fact once you find your favorite pieces to use in a room you will actually find that you have an enormous array of paint choices.


Solution: Once you’ve settled on some of your essential fabric ideas (rugs, pillows, window treatments, upholstery, etc...) it’s relatively easy to pick a coordinating color from a fan deck or set of paint chips. It's actually much more difficult to find fabrics you truly love after already committing to a paint scheme. I learned this the hard way when I recently redid my living room...so trust me here!


3. Buying Furniture Without Measuring-Guilty!

It’s hard to judge the scale of furniture when it’s sitting on a huge showroom floor or looking at countless websites. That’s why when you actually get your new piece home it sometimes looks as though it eats up the entire room or is totally lost in your space. I know it sounds like a no-brainer, but I'm totally guilty of making that rush decision and getting overly excited before I ever even measure.


Solution: Measure (or even mark with tape) the area you're redesigning. Try to map out where you want your new pieces to go and then you will have a pretty clear idea of what size pieces you need. Sometimes a sofa and loveseat look so much better than a sectional in a living room.


When you hit the stores make sure you actually bring these measurements with you and don't guess-timate! (Is that a word?) If you fall in love with something out of your size range, ask if it comes in different sizes, or have it measured and bring the measurements home to tape off in your space to make sure it’s a size you're happy with. Remember these are pricey decisions and really annoying to return, so take your time! Custom orders can't be returned normally either!


4. Shopping in Just One Store

Did you ever walk into someones home and feel like you just entered a Pottery Barn Store? One-stop shopping and anything quick and easy is all the rage these days, but furnishing your entire home (or even just one room) from the same store tends to result in a sometimes bland or boring look. Mix it up! Have some fun!


Solution: Try boutiques that carry different design lines, or online stores that draw from different manufacturers and brands. This way, even if you have one preferred style or period, your home still won’t look cookie-cutter. Another solution is to work with an interior designer who has access to a wide range of custom options that won't break the bank.


5. Buying the Whole Set

Speaking of one-stop shopping, another designer no-no (although some would disagree) is to settle for purchasing furniture in a matching “set,” such as a bedroom set or dining room set. I did this when I first got married and have regretted it ever since. My entire bedroom is all the same and it drives me nuts. (Next room on the list to redo) While this may be a shortcut to achieving a coordinated style without too much thought, the results tend to have less appeal than a little mixing and matching.


Solution: My advice is to find that one major piece you love and then look at different manufacturers for items that coordinate without feeling matchy-matchy. The end design product will look like a picture from Architecture Digest if done right.


6. Never Make a Quick, Bold Decision

Let's face it, we are all busy and the last thing anyone wants to do is spend an extra weekend painting over last weekend’s mistake. So, rather than painting an entire room bright red, try an accent wall instead or find a great wallpaper to use on one wall.


Solution: Take a risk every now and then. Rest assured that if you do choose a dramatic wall treatment, you can always layer over it with light and breezy pieces (such as white wall art or neutral-colored furniture) to tame the look until it feels livable. And if you ultimately grow tired of it, you can change it someday too.


7. Making Everything Bold

The opposite of the previous mistake is to expect every piece you invest in to be a dazzling showstopper. Even in very dramatic spaces, some elements must be the simple staples that take a back seat to the focal points. Think of it like your wardrobe, you wouldn't wear a leopard shirt with zebra pants (At least for the love of god I hope you wouldn't.)


Solution: If you have a bold art piece, beautiful curtains or some vibrant fabrics, let other pieces (like your sofa upholstery or a large rug) be beautiful and super simple.


When choosing new items for your home, make sure they fit your personality and make you smile when you look at them. It's your sanctuary and you should love every investment piece you own...just like your wardrobe!


If you need more decorating tips or some contacts for some great local interior decorators reach out to kbrechka@gmail.com.



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