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10 common decorating mistakes and how to fix them

By ,| 6 min read

Decorating your home can be a thrilling task, allowing you to personalise your home to suit your style. However, there are some common decorating mistakes that people often make. Here’s a list to help you avoid making these mistakes so that you can design the perfect home.

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1. Uncomfortable dining chairs

dining-chairs This mistake applies to furniture in general, but it’s most commonly seen in dining chairs. You might go to a furniture shop and think that a particular dining set looks amazing, so you immediately go ahead and buy it.

Your new furniture arrives and you take your lovely home-cooked dinner over to the dining table. You take a seat… and you’re immediately disappointed. No amount of shuffling around can make that seat more comfortable.


Test out the furniture before you buy it. There’s no point having a beautifully-designed home if it’s not comfortable to live in.

While you’re checking the comfort level of your furniture, make sure to also check its functionality. Another common mistake is buying furniture that looks great but doesn’t really serve its purpose.

2. Visible clutter


A home should look like it’s being lived in but it doesn’t need to look messy. A cluttered home can be a sign that you’ve got too many accessories or not enough storage. One common form of clutter is having a visible mess of cables and cords connecting to your appliances and devices.

Bedrooms especially should not look cluttered. This means that you need to avoid covering your whole bed in cushions.


Incorporate more storage spaces in your design and do not display every single trinket that you own. Choose a selection of accessories that look good together and put the rest in storage.

Organise your computer or TV cords so that they don’t look untidy and put away cords that are not in use. Consider arranging the layout of the room so that you can hide most of your cords behind larger pieces of furniture.

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3. Making everything match

matching-room Yes, there should be some consistency to your design, but you don’t need everything to match perfectly. You want a home that looks like a home, not like a page out of a furniture catalogue.


Add some personal touches. Put some family photos in a frame or buy a cushion in your favourite colour. Also, avoid buying all of the furniture and decorations for a room from the one shop. The more shops you buy objects in, the more diversity your design is likely to have.

4. Buying furniture that doesn’t fit

giant-furniture This ought to be a fairly obvious consideration when designing but plenty of people make the mistake of buying furniture that doesn’t fit the space. This could be a highly visible mistake if all your pieces of furniture are too big for the room they're in.

Or this might be more of an aesthetic mistake, where a room looks fine at a glance but on further inspection, doesn’t quite work. It might feel a little crowded because there’s not enough space or it might seem particularly spacious because the furniture is too small for the chosen room.


Measure the space you’re decorating and measure the furniture you’re interested in buying. Make sure your measurements match.

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5. Rugs that are too small

small-rug This mistake is sometimes referred to as a floating rug. A floating rug is a rug that doesn’t touch the nearby furniture, which makes a room feel too big and empty. Rugs are a good way of taking up a bit more space in a room so that it feels fully furnished.

There are some other common mistakes regarding rugs. Some people put rugs on top of carpets. Rugs do not sit very well on top of carpet and instead are much better suited to a harder floor covering, such as tiles or wooden floorboards.

Some people also make the mistake of simply not putting enough rugs in their home. If you’ve got a large area of floor space, consider putting in a rug to fill up some of the empty space.


Measure the space between furniture so that you can get a rug that touches the chosen pieces of furniture. Make sure to add enough rugs in your rooms, unless you have chosen to use carpet.

6. Unsuitable lighting


Many people do not carefully select the lighting for their home. Maybe some people figure that lights are just functional and not decorative. But they can be both!

Common lighting mistakes include only using overhead lighting, as opposed to floor lamps, wall lamps, and table lamps. Alternatively, some people have light fittings that are too high or too low for the space.


Choose your lights as carefully as you choose every other aspect of your design. Find lights that fit with your space and style.

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7. Art hung at the wrong level

artwork-level Now this is a less obvious mistake that your guests might not notice. All too often, though, people hang art in a way that detracts from the elegance of piece.

Other art-related mistakes include arranging your gallery wall in a grid. A gallery wall, where you have multiple pictures clustered together, should be scattered in a seemingly random arrangement. Similarly, make sure your artworks and frames suit the style of your room.

The biggest art-related mistake you can make is to leave out art altogether. Art might not be your top priority when you’re decorating your home, but make sure you get around to it eventually. A home without art looks impersonal, like an office or hotel.


Hang art at eye-level, so that when you are standing, you can see the subject of the artwork.

8. Putting all your furniture against walls

furniture-walls This one might not have occurred to you, but putting all your furniture against the wall can make the space feel like a waiting room. It is ok to have some furniture against the wall though, of course.

Other things to watch out for when placing your furniture include designing your lounge room around your TV. However, avoid putting your TV somewhere inconvenient. Make sure that you don’t put furniture by a hallway that’s going to stop people from moving around freely.

Finally, don’t block air conditioning vents.


Plan out where you are going to put everything. Make sure that furniture and appliances are in a place where you can use them suitably, but don’t plan your whole design around one object.

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9. Mistakes with colour

bright-colours Colours, patterns, themes, and trends can all be a bit subjective. But here are a few things that are commonly viewed as mistakes.

In terms of colour, don’t avoid colour altogether but don’t have too many bright colours, or too many dark colours either. Using your favourite colour as the main colour in a room can also be a mistake. You may find that making your favourite colour an accent, using it for the colour of the cushions and curtains, for example, will be more enjoyable.

Also make sure when painting that you don’t paint the walls before choosing your furniture. This could make it difficult to find the right furniture to fit the paint colour, or it might mean that you can’t buy the perfect piece of furniture because it won’t fit with the colour scheme.

Be sure to test your paint to make sure you’ve got the right shade. Some designers suggest painting a feature wall first if you’re going with a particularly bold choice. This gives you time to adjust and decide if you’d like to paint the whole room the same colour.

In terms of patterns, make sure you don’t leave out patterns altogether, but make sure you don’t have too many patterns, or patterns that clash.

With themes, it’s good to have a colour theme or style that you’re sticking to with your room and with the entire project. Be wary of trends since styles that are currently trendy might make your home look outdated very quickly.


Pick a style or theme for your whole project, so that there is some consistency between each room. Think about what this style looks like in each room. Consider the colour scheme and what patterns and furniture would suit. You may want to consult an interior designer for more advice on choosing a style or colour scheme.

Also make sure to leave space in the room for the eyes to rest. This means having some wall space or floor space that isn’t decorated, furnished, patterned, or brightly coloured.

10. Using curtains that are the wrong size

long-curtains Windows are an important feature of a room. They can be as much a part of the design as anything else. Try to allow as much natural light into a room as possible and make sure your curtains do not ruin the effect of the windows.


Your curtains need to fit the windows. Make sure the curtains are covering the whole window but don’t drag along the floor and don’t block out all the light.

Lots of these solutions come down to good planning. Plan what you want and where you want it, and everything should fall into place. Get some advice but also follow your instincts.

Read about our 7 decoration ideas for your home for more design inspiration.

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Tags: interior design, decorating or furnishing, buying furniture, renovation

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