Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate

14 decorating mistakes you’re probably making

Friday, 4th June, 2021 // Tips & Advice

Plus tips on how to fix them – by 

You have the accessories, the furniture, and the colour on the walls. But is something not quite right? One of these common decorating problems may be to blame. But don’t fear, these mistakes are easy to fix.

Decorating your home is a highly personal activity, and it’s not realistic to expect that everyone will love your taste! But there are some simple home styling principles anyone can employ to elevate their interior just that little bit further.

At the end of the day, if you’re happy with the way your home looks and makes you feel – then that’s what matters. But if you’d like to apply a designer’s eye to your humble abode, these helpful tips won’t go astray.

1. Poor lighting

We’ve all had to get over the tendency to light a room with one bright overhead and a big wall switch. The warmest way to light a room is to use layers.

Make a plan as you would with a furniture layout, with task lighting for work areas, accent lamps to add colour and personality, and put that overhead light on a dimmer to change the mood of the room throughout the day.

2. Pushing all the furniture against the wall

Maybe that’s not the official name for lining up every piece of furniture along the wall, but you get the picture. One layout alternative is to find a focal point in the room – entertainment centre, fireplace, each other for conversation – and build your design around that.

Move furniture away from the walls for a more intimate feel. Position a table within reach of every seating piece, with wide pathways to allow easy movement.


3. Clutter

It’s easy to pack your rooms with way too much stuff, but that look crosses over easily to clutter (and the next step is hoarding, so beware). When every surface is covered with stuff, nothing stands out as special.

Solve the issue by decluttering every surface in a room, one by one, and returning only half the things on it. Be your own tough editor and store the objects that didn’t make the cut this time. You can bring them out next season – or you can donate it!

4. Using the same colour everywhere

Whitewash walls in an art gallery serve a purpose: standing down in deference to the colourful beauties on the wall. But our own living spaces deserve a good dose of colour variation.

Even if it’s just a single deep-blue pillow amid a sea of neutral beige, adding a little pop of colour will spice up any room in a snap.

Pink cushions on bed styled with white linen

5. Hanging art at the incorrect height

Few things personalise a space like the things you choose for the walls. But hanging wall art can be tricky. The first step is to figure out the correct hanging height. Hang your art at the average person’s eye level so most eyes can look straight and see it comfortably.

6. Mis-matched frames

Maybe you’ve found the prints or photos that you love, but aren’t sure how to frame them to fit your room’s style. Unless you’re really good with mix and match looks, keep it simple and pick one style or frame colour for all. A streamlined look takes the guesswork out of the design and allows the viewer to focus on the art itself.

Blue sofa next to a peach coloured wall
Rachel Claire via Pexels

7. Making everything look perfect

So you’ve pored over the magazines, done your shopping, and put together a room that should technically be stunning — but, well, it’s not. What’s missing? Maybe a little bit of you? Add a few pieces that have a warm backstory, stack beloved books on the coffee table, or layer in some photos of the people you love.

It’s possible to make a room look too slick, more like a furniture shop than a home. Think about what speaks to your heart and be confident enough to add a personal touch.

8. Ignoring scale and proportion

Does your room feel sort of underwhelming? Or way too crowded? You may have an issue with scale, which means the visual size of things, and how they look in relation to each other and the space. For your pieces to stand out, rooms need big things and little things, tall things and short things. It’ll make things look a lot more interesting.

White bedroom with blue accent pieces


9. Forgetting about storage

Two words: storage problems. We all seem to have them. Take a look around your room and see where you can comfortably add more places to put things away — the easier to reach the better.

Consider bare wall space first – anywhere to mount shelving or cabinetry? Can you add side tables with drawers? Any missed opportunities for built-ins? To create more storage space in the bedroom, consider building shelving around the headboard and adding storage boxes beneath the bed.

10. Not paying attention to curtain length

Window treatments are readily available, so replacing curtains that are too long or too short is a job you can complete in a weekend. For quick hanging, choose tab-top or grommet styles, which slide easily onto the rod.

To find the right panel length, measure from the floor to just above the window casing. Mount the rod to match panel length, rather than the other way around, as you would for custom-made curtains.

Sheer white curtains in a living room


11. Buying rugs that are too small

We know it’s more expensive to buy the big rug. But the postage-stamp look really brings down a room. Luckily, there are great choices out there at a wide variety of price points.

In the dining room, measure the width and length of your dining room table and allow extra room for the chairs (include your table leaf in the calculation).

12. Being afraid of colour

Although neutral colours are timeless, a splash of bright or dark colour can do wonders for elevating a space’s style. Energise a room by incorporating a bold complementary colour into small accents, like throw pillows, artwork, and storage.

Colourful cushions on a grey lounge

Rachel Claire via Pexels

13. Ignoring comfort

We all have those furniture pieces — the couch or high-fashion chair that looks oh, so sleek but scores low on the comfort factor. When shopping for decor, keep an eye out for pieces that balance fashion and function, and don’t be afraid to give seating a test run! This will ensure a cozy, relaxing home that’s chic to boot.

14. Diving into trends or avoiding them altogether

Walk a fine line with trending decor. Delving too much into of-the-moment patterns and paint palettes can leave you with redecorating regret. But don’t feel like you have to deprive yourself! Dip your toes into trends with accent items that bring you joy.


You might also like:

20 Features that will sell your home

14 Ways to enhance your outdoor living space with lighting

The paint colour that will increase the value of your house

Disclaimer: The opinions posted within this blog are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate, others employed by Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate or the organisations with which the network is affiliated. The author takes full responsibility for his opinions and does not hold Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate or any third party responsible for anything in the posted content. The author freely admits that his views may not be the same as those of his colleagues, or third parties associated with the Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate network.