There’s not much that’s more disappointing than making decorating mistakes. They can be costly and aggravating. I’ve certainly made my share as someone who has lived in three houses. And I’ve learned some great tips and tricks to avoid them in the future along the way. Therefore, today I thought I would share my strategies to help you steer clear of making the same mistakes I’ve made too.
How Decorating Mistakes Happen
First, let’s talk a bit about the reasons decorating mistakes happen in the first place.
- You feel pressured to make a decision. When we remodeled our master bedroom, I was so excited to have a room finally done. I couldn’t wait to get some smaller scale rugs to put on each side of our bed. I knew I didn’t want to buy them online because I wanted to see their size and coloring in person. Instead, I did the tour of local shops including Pier 1, HomeGoods and TJ Maxx. As I scoured the shelves for exactly the right thing, I found myself getting overwhelmed and discouraged. So I did what a lot of people do and just found a pair that I somewhat liked. Once I got home, I put them in place. While they were the perfect size, I just wasn’t in love with the pattern.
- You buy something because it’s trendy. I am forever thankful that I didn’t jump on the farmhouse bandwagon and go overboard with chippy furniture and signs everywhere. In decorating, it’s important to keep in mind that trends come and go. Although it’s fun to buy into trends, they all have their own shelf lives. And sometimes that window of “in” is very short. Buying something trendy is okay, but consider accessory items like throw pillows instead of, say, a sofa.
- You buy an item on impulse. Ever been in your favorite store and found yourself with the itch to buy something that catches your eye? Maybe you think it’s the perfect thing for a certain room. Then you bring it home and it just doesn’t work in the space. Or you just end up having second thoughts about it once you see it in your home. I’ve done this too, and I hate that disappointed feeling. Not to mention the return process can just be a pain.
Tips to Avoid Them
Now that we’ve covered the main reasons you may be making decorating mistakes, here are my tips to avoid them in the future!
- Take your time on big decisions. In the market for a new sofa, for example? Research heavily first. Look at reviews on quality, size, and care before you shell out big dollars on a piece you’re planning to have for several years. You’ll want to pay special attention to what people have to say about how well items hold up, if a chair fits someone who’s on the taller side or not, and how easily the item cleans up. Compare a few options but not too many. You don’t want to find yourself in analysis paralysis. Before we invested in new flooring, we knew we needed something that was water and scratch resistant. Plus it had to have a timeless finish that we knew we would love for many years. We took our time to compare coloring and looked sample pieces in all kinds of lighting before making our decision.
- Learn your style. Some of the biggest decorating mistakes are made by simply not knowing your style. Take the time to sit down and assess what you’re normally drawn to, such as certain color palettes, fabrics, and finish colors. Scroll through Pinterest and create a board for design inspiration to keep you on track. Or even make a mood board. Learn how here. Love clean lines? That ornate chandelier is not for you. Do you like lots of color? Muted tones will likely never make you happy. I love classic patterns and shapes. When we remodeled our upstairs bathroom, the black and white tile floor and antique dresser that we converted into a working sink and cabinet are timeless choices I don’t regret making.
- Ask yourself if you love it. Not just like it, but really love it. And then ask yourself if you can see yourself loving it for 5-10 years. Not sure? Pass on it. This tip has really served me well. Just taking the time to pause and think into the future ownership of said object can really help you make a decision. When you do love something, don’t question if someone else will too. That’s what makes it your style. Decorating with what you love is one of the best things you can do.
- Shop with intent, and a buddy who knows your weaknesses. Shopping for end tables? Before you leave your house, remind yourself that your goal is to find a style you love and it has to fit the confines of the space they’ll take. Take a tape measure with you and a shopping buddy to keep you focused.
- Don’t forget to shop your own home. I find that re-arranging furniture you already have or moving a vase from a dining room to a living room instead can refresh a room’s look without any cost at all.
We’re going to be shopping for new furniture soon, and you better believe we’re going to take our sweet time picking pieces out! I hope these tips were helpful to you. Do you have a certain weakness when it comes to shopping? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!