Top 59 Home Decorating Mistakes and Risks You Can Take

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Don’t make these mistakes but take these risks. It’s a dangerous game but you can win big time playing it.

We all make home decorating mistakes, that’s just part of the game. And it’s OK, mistakes allow us to learn and improve, and sometimes a mistake can become an accent or a feature. But some mistakes are better avoided at all.

We’re making a list of common things that can go wrong when decorating your home and we hope you’ll find it useful. Below are the top home decor mistakes that we think you should do your best to avoid.

What's Inside?

What Are the Mistakes to Watch Out for?

Whatever you do watch out for these decorating mistakes.

Painting without Testing

wall paint

So you’ve decided on a color based on its psychology and the mood you want to create for the room, you paint the room and notice it doesn’t look how you imagined it would be. Test before painting the entire walls, use swatches and mood boards to get a good idea of what it will really look like.

Marble Countertop

Marble is a classy material and the idea to make your kitchen look expensive is a tempting one, but you will regret the decision to install a marble countertop when the first scratches and stains appear. Consider a more durable material like quartz.

Fancy Sofa

So you want to create an accent and go fancy with the choice of sofa. Colorful pattern explosion gives character to the decor, unfortunately, it’s very committing and you can’t switch the sofa as easily as you can replace accent throw pillows. Being stuck with a vibrant sofa that’s becoming boring can quickly become an eyesore.

Clutter of Photos

We all have a lot of memories to share, pictures of people close to us that we want to see every day. But keeping that many pictures in a cluster on a surface quickly becomes a clutter and that’s just no good. Instead, consider creating a grid gallery on the wall and moderate the surface displays.

Visible Cable Mess

Cables of the TV and electronics can add up to a mess very quickly and you should do your best to organize and hide that mess. Read about how to hide the cords and cables in your home.

Too Many Patterns

Your style may be eclectic and you may adore busy patterns but keep in mind that too many patterns that compete with each other make visually stressed decor that looks cluttered. Mastering pattern matching isn’t easy and we’re not saying you shouldn’t experiment to learn it, but begin with fewer patterns and soft hues.

Rushing to Decorate

You don’t have to attempt to decorate your home overnight as if there’s going to be a photo shoot for a home decor magazine the next morning (unless it really will). The real home decor happens over time as you bring more things to your home and your ideas evolve as you live into it.

Buying Old Furniture That Needs Reupholstering

You may find that cool looking vintage chair in your local flea market and you may get a good deal on it, but don’t underestimate the cost of reupholstering that it may take.

All White Rugs and Furniture

All White Home Decor

White is classic and elegant, so it may be tempting to get a white rug or a sofa and give your room a striking clean look. Unfortunately, even if you don’t have pets or kids and you really keep your home clean, that white will wear out and get discolored eventually. Try to limit the number of white pieces at home.

Uncomfortable Furniture

That piece of furniture looked good in the catalog and it may even look good at your home, but if it’s so uncomfortable that it becomes an item of display and nobody uses it there’s no point in getting it in the first place.

Going Too Trendy

Chasing trends is not the best idea for two reasons. For one, trends change and you may have to keep changing things up with them. And secondly, not everything that looks good in a catalog will look good at your home and you may end up with clashing pieces.

Oversized Furniture

That oversized couch may seem like the most comfortable idea but if you don’t spend that much time crawling up to watch TV it will just be this big piece of furniture that takes up so much space. Pick things that you will actually use, don’t buy into just the idea of them.

Unresearched Houseplants

Getting some houseplants for your home is a good decision but you have to do your research first. You don’t want them to die on you because your home doesn’t have the required conditions.

A DIY Project That Went Wrong

There’s a big community of DIY home projects and a countless number of ideas to try. The tutorials make it look easy but you may find that it’s more complicated than it seems when it goes wrong and you end up with something horrendous. Worse yet if you invest so much time into it that you don’t have the heart to throw it away.

Cliche Art

You have to decorate the walls but don’t resort to a random piece of art. What you hang on your walls must have a meaning, be it something personal or at the very least complementing your color scheme.

Professional interior designers see the strangest of interiors every day and besides the most obvious decor mistakes, they see more subtle things that an untrained eye might not even notice. While these mistakes aren’t big, avoiding them can improve your home decor in a sophisticated way.


How much is too much? If your home decor uses every inch of the room space and it looks like it might be suffocating, you’re probably overdecorating. A good interior makes use of pauses that direct the eye in a natural way without being overwhelming.

Too Much of the Same Material

Likewise, too much of the same material will look overwhelmingly boring even with enough negative space. Try to mix it up a bit and add furniture with different finishes.

Matching Too Much

Matching Home Decor

Matching every piece of furniture and every pattern is a sure way to make your home look like you’ve decorated it in a one-stop shop. Frankly, it looks “cheap.”

Missized Rug

Use a tiny rug and you make your room look much smaller than it is. Using a small rug in a small room is the biggest mistake to make, even though you might think otherwise.

Not Taking Risks

Taking risks can lead to mistakes too, but playing it safe is a mistake in its self. Do at least one risky thing in your home decor, be it a whimsical decor piece, a trendy piece of furniture or painting a wall in an accent color.

Clashing Furniture

While some variety of furniture is necessary, using an over sized couch with a small arm chair is totally off. Try to keep the scale of furniture similar without much contrast, keep accents to patterns, colors, and materials.

Going All Classic or All Modern

It’s rare that all classic or all modern home decor will work in real life. It’s just plain boring. Instead, mix and blend styles to make your interior look well collected and established over time.

Look vs Functional

Look vs Functional

Trying to make your home look too pretty in the expense of functional and comfortable design is a big mistake that can go unchecked. If your vignettes take so much space that there’s nowhere to put a drink, you’re probably doing it wrong.

Not Using Negative Space

Using Negative Space

Negative space is very important in aesthetic design so be sure to use it. Don’t feel the need to decorate every single corner and free space in your house, leave some space empty. As already mentioned above, decor pauses are essential.

Focusing on Living Room Too Much

Living room decor

The living room might be the main room of your home, but that doesn’t mean you should bring everything you have and put on display in one room. Decorate all your rooms equally.

Bad Lighting

Definitely the number one cause of discomfort at home is bad room lighting. It’s especially true if recessed lighting is all you have to light up the space. An easy way to tell if it’s not good enough is to look for shadows made by furniture and other pieces of decor. Think in terms of layered light to solve this problem, get a few table or floor lamps and experiment with positioning them for extra lighting layers below eye level.

It’s Too “Trendy”

Every year we get new trends of choice and to be stylish you may pick up one or two decorating ideas over time. But each year it adds up and different ideas clash, after a while some of these ideas may not seem that good anymore at all. If the thought “what were you thinking?” crosses your mind now and then, get rid of the gimmicks.

Inconvenient Layout

Home Decor Layout

Does your furniture block access to some areas of the room? Is there a clear path that follows to the doors? Without a convenient flow of furniture the place may look closed out and definitely uncomfortable. Experiment with different furniture arrangement with this in mind.

It’s Too Cluttered

Clutter is always stressful and nobody feels comfortable in an untidy place. It may be hard to avoid with a lot of small but useful items lying around, so get several attractive baskets and create drop zones around your home. This will help you cut down the clutter significantly and it will look good.

Bad Choice of Colors

Painting a room is a committing project so you may be quite tolerant about the current colors. However, do pay attention to how the current color scheme makes you feel. Dark or vibrant colors add character to the room but what good does it make if they make you feel uncomfortable?

Overdecorated Walls

So you’ve heard that leaving walls empty is not a good taste of home decor. However, your home is not an art gallery, so why would you want to dedicate a full wall for art and pictures? Keeping wall decor subtle may be not as striking but it is certainly comforting.

Too Many Decorative Throw Pillows

Getting more throw pillows for the sofa and chairs may be the go-to decorating technique, but stacking too many of them will make the place look cluttered and overdecorated more than anything. Keep just a few floor pillows around and stash the rest away, change them up regularly instead.

Electronic Gadgets Everywhere

In this day and age, it’s hard to imagine your life without electronics so no wonder your home is full of them. A phone here, a tablet there, and chargers everywhere. If you feel like you’re going to flip out if you stumble on another cord of a charger carelessly lying around, get yourself a charging station. Organize all advanced gadgets in one place and make it part of the decor.

Hanging Pictures and Mirrors Too High

Hanging Pictures and Mirrors Too High

If you have to look up to see a picture or a mirror, it’s probably too high. Pictures and mirrors should be hung at the center of the wall at about the eye level of an average person. If you hang them too high, they look out of place and destroy the integrity of your interior design. So find the center of the wall when hanging your pictures and mirrors.

Hanging Drapes Too Low

This mistake is more common than it should be. For some reason people hang drapes just above the window and it is just wrong. Remember, drapes decorate the wall, not the window. So you have to hang them just below the ceiling, or if your ceiling are too high, at least a foot above the window. Correctly hung drapes make the ceiling look higher and the space bigger, while hanging them too low makes them stick out in an uncomfortable way.

Pushing Furniture Against the Walls

Sometimes it seems that some people are building a dance floor, not a comfortably and tastefully designed room. Don’t push all of your furniture to the walls and leave the center space empty. Your home is not a warehouse and unless you really need that room for a dance floor, simply don’t do it. Move furniture around, find a balanced layout.

All Same Size Accessories

It’s an easy mistake to make and overlook especially when you have a lot of pictures or various collectibles to show off. A lot of even size accessories make the decor look uninteresting and boring, in other words, it becomes a distasteful clutter. So add some accessories of varying size for balance, make it pop so that it attracts attention in a good way.

Leaving Walls White by Default

Don’t get me wrong, walls can be white but only if that’s the style you’re going for. Perhaps you’re going for a clean modern look, or you have accents in your decor that pop in a white background. But if you just leave walls white because you can’t choose a color, that’s a huge mistake which destroys you entire interior design. Look for ideas and paint those walls, wallpaper them, make murals or wall art but don’t leave them blank.

Risks You Can Take

At some point, we have to take risks when decorating our homes, whether it’s to try something new or experiment with decor ideas. Not all of these risks end up working but those that do can create some of the most unique interior designs.

Mismatched Chairs

Yes, a set of matching chairs looks orderly in their uniformity but mixing things up can add variety that pushes the look off just enough to make it interesting.

Unexpected Art

Be confident in things that you like and don’t be afraid to show off. Like this combination of a map and twinkle lights.

Add a Wall Mural

A mural is very visual but that may be just what you need in your room. We have a great gallery of wall murals that just look stunning.

Create a Striking Accent Wall

Accent walls are popular but don’t settle with just an accent color, create a pattern that modifies the shape of the room.

Decorate the Fridge

Fridge decals are easy to add and they will really freshen up your kitchen. Try applying interesting and whimsical embellishments.

Use Fancy Fixtures

Fixtures are rather easy to change even if you’re not up for a complete makeover and having unique fancy lighting fixtures or faucets will have a huge impact.

Install a Sliding Door

Upcycled barn doors are trendy but I think we can step up the game. A sliding door provides a unique opportunity to add a mirror and expand the visual space.

Use Many Patterns

The general rule is to be careful with patterns and use them sparingly, matching many vibrant patterns takes an expert to pull off. But it’s a risk that we’re willing to take.

Go Dark

Dark colors create a sophisticated, mysterious and even dramatic look, so don’t be afraid to play with dark tones.

Paint Vintage Furniture

If you’ve picked up a piece of vintage furniture in a flea market or perhaps inherited one, it may be difficult to fit it in your home decor. And while painting is not the way of antiquing, doing so allows you to “force” it in.

Paint the Ceiling

The ceiling is usually left white to make it seem higher and leave the space open but painting it in a color or even a pattern can have a dramatic effect that lifts chins up.

Wallpaper the Ceiling

Yes, you can actually put wallpaper on the ceiling and while it’s not for everyone, it can have an amazing effect if things go right.

Use Non-traditional Furniture

This is a risk really worth taking if you’re on a tight budget. Look at this wonderful accent of stacked vintage suitcases and an old picture frame being used as a nightstand.

Add Hanging Plants

There are two main reasons why you’d want to hang plants from the ceiling. For one, you can soften the corners of your room and add depth. Secondly, hanging them over furniture will give its placement a purpose.

Add Unexpected Color in Unexpected Places

And while you don’t have to use such eclectic colors as this kitchen, painting a cabinet in a neon color for an accent can be an impactful surprise.

Use Quirky Decor

Nobody likes boring interior design – add quirky and whimsical elements around the house. I love this idea of a cup and plate as a light fixture.

Bring the Outside In

Nature makes the room look lively and it’s not only for a rustic look. If you like this tree bookshelf idea, we have more of them.

Paint the Door Trim an Accent Color

You don’t have to play safe with door color, paint the trim or the doorway frame in a popping color.

Lay a Colorful Rug

We’ve had accent walls and ceiling, now it’s time for the floor. A popping rug is actually quite a safe risk to take because it’s easily replaced, so you can’t afford to try it.

Toys as Decorative Accessories

Don’t just sell or give away old toys that your kids aren’t playing with anymore (or your own toys form the childhood). Toys, especially vintage, can make great decorative accessories for a playful look.

Add a Lot of Prints

Having a full wall of print art is not an easy arrangement to pull off but try it to fill in empty spaces.

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