10 biggest interior decorating mistakes people make

May 9th, 2011

Decorating is such a fun thing for me that I have developed confidence over the years to help others. It’s a knack that I love. It started small with just family and friends, and escalated to helping many. It is fun for me to help others overcome their challenges in the decorating process. During this process, I have noticed barriers that people struggle with. Interior decorating mistakes are easy to make. Today I’d like to discuss the top ten biggest decorating mistakes that I have seen become a pattern. 

1. FEAR
I’ve seen this one the very most out of all of these mistakes. People are afraid. They are afraid to paint their walls a color that they will hate. They are afraid to buy the wrong couch. They are afraid to paint their furniture because they might “ruin” it. So, instead of having a decorated, stylish, fabulous home that they so desperately want, they don’t decorate at all. My answer to this is simple, YOU WON’T KNOW IF LIKE IT UNTIL YOU TRY IT! Do you think I’ve LOVED every color I have painted my walls? Nope. I haven’t. But, paint costs $25.00 a gallon. If I paint a wall, and I hate it, I paint over it. Have I painted furniture and hated it? Yep. Then I change it again. I have even reupholstered a chair…it took hours and hours….and got almost done and HATED it. So, I redid it. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake. No one is perfect. If you try something new and it’s terrible, try something else. Look at it in a trial by error experience. Don’t be afraid. Just do it, I know you want to!

2. Lack of a plan:
Do you have a room that you want to decorate, but you don’t have a plan? Well, you are not alone. In fact, you have a LOT of company. A lot of people need help to plan their decorating. Some are better are visualizing than others. No worries. Get a few magazines and start looking at them. Make notes as to what you like in those magazines. Inspiration is always key when you are trying to plan your decorating.  Soon, you will find yourself thinking, “Man, that would look great on my wall!” If you don’t have a plan, it is easy to get side tracked. Soon you could find yourself five years down the road in the same boat you are today. It’s amazing how fast time flies when you don’t have a plan.

3. Unrealistic plan.
Try to stay grounded in your plan. Remember that decorating may take time, and a plan that is too vigorous or labor intensive is a disaster waiting to happen. For example, if you find yourself thinking:
“I have a plan, I’m going to replace all of my carpet with hardwood flooring, replace all my kitchen cabinets, and knock out this wall” your plan is probably unrealistic (unless you are in the middle of a massive remodel). Start with deciding what color to paint your walls and move forward from there. It may help you to focus on one room at a time. After that room is decorated, move to another room.

4. The “When I…” mentality
When I have a house I will decorate. When I have more money I will decorate. When my kids are older I will decorate.  REALITY CHECK: If you have the “when I” mentality, you will probably NEVER decorate. Just sayin’.

5. Decorating the “necessity” anxiety
Some people feel guilty for spending money on decorating and say that it isn’t a “necessity.” They calculate those costs into “wants” instead of “needs.” I understand what makes people do this, but I enjoy having a decorated home. It helps me enjoy life. I realize that everyone may not be similar to me, but if my house isn’t decorated, it seems unfinished. This in turn, makes me feel unsettled. A decorated home can make your home feel like it’s YOUR HOME. 

6. Lack of confidence
A lot of people have expressed concerns about making decorating decisions. If you lack confidence in this area, don’t fret, you are not alone. Just like anything else, practice makes perfect. Plus, if you can’t seem to make a decision, hire an interior decorator to help you. That is what we are there for. A lot of people can’t visualize the entire room by themselves. 

7. Consistency
In order to keep your home up to date, you need to decorate a little bit at a time. If you have a room that has had the same decor for the last 20 years, you may want to think about changing it up a bit. If you consistently change a few items each year, your home will continually stay in style.


8. Money is key
In my experience, most people out there think they have to spend a LOT of money on decorating their home.  If you know me at all, you know that this is not the case. BUT, I am willing to do the grunt work myself. In DIY decorating, you eliminate most costs by doing your own work. All Things Thrifty teaches you how to do things yourself and it will save you a LOT of money on decorating your  home. You don’t need thousands of dollars to decorate your home, but you do need SOME. I have noticed that some have an expensive taste for wine, but have a beer sized budget. Remember that purchasing an entire bed set from Pottery Barn may seem tempting at times, but you have to evaluate your budget. To most this is a huge mistake. You will end up with furniture and nothing else.


9. I know what a “don’t like” but not sure what a do like
When I hear this, I silently chuckle a bit. Some feel pressure to like what everyone else likes. PLEASE don’t do this. You have every right to have your home decorated the way YOU want it to be decorated. It may take some time and effort to decide what you like though. Inspiration is key here. You need to get a few magazines and start searching for your likes and dislikes. If it helps, take a black sharpie marker and circle the things you like. If you are a computer savvy searcher, start saving photos into an “inspiration” folder on your computer. If you hate everything you see, I would be VERY surprised.


10. Unsure of decorating style
Don’t fret. This one is pretty common also. Those of us who are decorators don’t expect you to know the difference between contemporary and traditional decorating styles. The GREAT thing is that mixing styles is A ok. You don’t need to stick completely with one style in your decorating anyway. Having a distinctive style is ok too.  But, if you really want to know your style, check out this fun style quiz from Ethan Allen.

Have you made any of these mistakes? I know I have!

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