Decor Mistakes – 10 Common Decor Mistakes

Common Decor Mistakes

Decor Mistakes – 10 Common Decor Mistakes People Make

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As an Interior Decorator and Home Staging professional, I am often contacted by Real Estate Agents who would like me to consult with a client to address common decor mistakes.

For a faster sale, as well as a higher selling price, it is always best to be sure the home at its best before Realtors begin previewing the home, and before allowing it to be presented to prospective buyers.



This seems to be one of the most common decor mistakes that we see over and over again in the design profession.

All too often, we encounter homes with totally incongruous color combinations throughout the entire home.  The rooms in your home should look like they are all part of the same home.  This is most often accomplished by having a cohesive color palette throughout the home.

Kermit green in the family room, Elmo red in the kitchen, Cookie Monster blue in the bedroom and Big Bird yellow in the bathroom is not a cohesive color palette.  As cute as they are, the Muppets should not be your inspiration when choosing the color palette for your home.

Common Decor Mistakes

All of these rooms need to be painted utilizing a more cohesive color palette.  Otherwise, the home looks as though a kindergarten class went crazy with paint inside the home.

And, if you may be planning to sell your home anytime in the near future, it is even more important to be cognizant of these sorts of decor mistakes.

The new homeowners would be able to live with a neutral color palette until they get around to making it their own with all of their personal touches.  In the meantime, however, no one wants to live with someone’s garish color combinations.  Nor do they want to face the task of having to paint every room in the house before they are even able to get settled in.



How do you choose a color palette?   Where do you begin?   How many colors do you choose?

It is normally suggested to start in the formal areas of your home.. the Living Room and Dining Room.  Choose a neutral color, plus two other colors.  That is not to say you cannot bring in small pops of another color or two in your pillows, accessories, and whatever.

Begin by standing in the living room and then in the dining room. Take note of which other rooms are visible from these two rooms.  You do not want to see several different color walls as you view the other rooms from these vantage points.

If you have a visible burgundy accent wall in one of those rooms, that will work fine, so long as you have some burgundy accents in the room where you are standing.  The burgundy accents in the living room or dining room will help tie the visible burgundy wall together with the room from which it is visible.

Starting with your neutral, dominant color, paint this color on the walls throughout the home. Your secondary color will be in your upholstery, and perhaps on an accent wall.  Bring in the third color with your accessories.

Repeat this same color theme from room to room, mixing it up a bit.  For instance, you might choose to make your secondary color the dominant color in another room, like perhaps the Master Bedroom.

Following these guidelines should help you avoid one of the most common decor mistakes.



Another of the common decor mistakes is having solid color pillows that exactly match the sofa.  This is fine, so long as you add a couple of pillows with a pattern to break up the monotone look.


Changing out a couple of the plain pillows with a couple of patterned pillows, which complement the color of the sofa, will add interest and make a big difference in the overall look.

In this particular case, using the sofa above as an example.. consider how different the decor would be if we were to add a couple of the number 2 pillows from the selection below.

These pillows have some of the same color brown that is in the sofa.. as well as some shades of green and blue.  Adding a couple of these pillows, along with some accessories to coordinate with the green and blue in the pillows, and suddenly the room now appears to be much more pulled together.

Throw Pillows
1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |  7  |  8  |  9  |  10



Stark white, colorless rooms are great in hospitals, where it is important that everything appear hygienic and sterile.  However, unless you are going for a hospital theme in your home, choose a wall color with at least a hint of color.

There are some wonderful off white colors, as well as beautiful shades of grey, beige, greige, or whatever your heart desires.  Your home should have a warm, welcoming quality and not feel like an ICU.



Small Area Rugs

This is another of those extremely common decor mistakes. A little dinky rug serves absolutely no purpose at all. 

Area rugs need to be anchored to something.  If you have an area rug in front of the sofa, at the very least the two front legs of the sofa need to be on the rug.

Rugs are meant to pull a room together.  If the rug isn’t anchored to anything, it defeats the whole purpose of having a rug.  It just looks awkward.



This is one of those common decor mistakes that just about everyone is guilty of making.  You may think that putting the furniture as close to the wall as possible will make the room appear larger.  In reality, it does exactly the opposite.

This gives the impression the room is so small that everything has to be crammed against the walls to make the room livable.  Actually, all this accomplishes is to make the room extremely unappealing and make it look very immature.

Also, when furniture is touching the walls, the wood and/or fabric on the furniture piece will become damaged or worn.  This practice will leave marks and gouges on your walls, as well as take a heavy toll on your furniture.  Always keep furniture pieces at least an inch or more from the walls.

If you are careful to make sure nothing is touching anything else, you will avoid your things becoming scuffed and chipped. Everything will remain in better condition much longer.  And, your walls will look cleaner and neater as well.



Common Decor Mistakes

Linoleum flooring brings an outdated look to any home and serves to cheapen the look of any room in which it has been installed.  Keeping this flooring in your home is another of those huge decor mistakes.

Many times new homes come with linoleum in the kitchen and bathrooms.  Builders do this, of course, to keep costs down.

Most builders offer an upgrade to tile.  If there is a tile option you like, by all means, opt for the tile.  If you don’t care for the available tile options, you can always shop for tile and re-do the flooring in the kitchen and bathrooms after you have moved in.

I am frequently in homes which the homeowners have been occupying for 5 years or more.  And, in all this time they still have not gotten around to replacing the cheap linoleum flooring.  Tile is not that expensive and laying tile is not all that difficult.  This could easily be a week-end DIY project.  You just have to take your time, be sure to use spacers and a level, and pay attention to detail.

If your kitchen is a large space and you don’t feel comfortable doing this as a DIY project.. then by all means hire an installer to do the flooring in the kitchen.  However, a bathroom is normally a much smaller space. You should be able to handle this project yourself.



Window Coverings

Window coverings can be expensive, and for that reason, a lot of people continue to live with their very outdated draperies and matching valances.

Heavy draperies made from a brocade fabric or other heavy fabrics tend to make a room look overly formal, as do draperies with elaborate top treatments or tassels and fringes.

Draperies with floral designs or heavily patterned fabrics and draperies with extreme puddling are all terribly outdated as well.

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Almost as bad as outdated window coverings is the mistake of having no window coverings at all.

No window coverings may seem like a good idea as far as letting in more natural light.  But, being able to close the blinds on certain occasions definitely has its advantages.

Window coverings serve several purposes in a home. They may be designed to control light, create privacy, perhaps to frame a view or to add color and texture to the space.

In the winter, window coverings can help to keep the heat in, keeping your home warm and comfortable and lowering your heating bills.  In the summer, window coverings can help to keep the heat out, keeping your home cooler and decreasing your power bill.

Furthermore, the sun will damage your upholstered furniture very quickly.  It will also limit the longevity of your wood furniture.  The sun will dry out the wood, causing warping and cracking.

And last, but certainly not least, window coverings tend to give your home a more comfortable and inviting feel. The addition of window coverings will make your home feel less like a cold warehouse and more like a warm and welcoming home.



Decor Mistakes - Pillow Overload

Pillows are helpful, particularly if your sofa or a couple of your chairs sit fairly deep.  Shorter guests, whose legs are not as long may not be able to sit back all the way and might appreciate a pillow behind their back.

Other than that, you do not need an over abundance of pillows in the living area of your home.

It only serves to make guests feel uncomfortable, that should they sit somewhere they may disturb your showcase of pillows.

Save your passion for piles of pillows for the bedroom.



A home with artificial plants is even worse than a home with no plants.  Artificial plants make your home appear outdated and lifeless.

There are some great looking plants that do very well indoors.  Check the indoor plant section at Home Depot for some green leafy plants that will add life to your home.

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