top of page

6 Home Decorating Mistakes AND How To Fix Them

Updated: Jul 23, 2023

Have you tried decorating your home but it just doesn't feel quite right? The living room seems disjointed or the bedroom seems to be missing that something to "pull it all together?"

woman frustrated over home design mistakes

You are not alone!

One of these common mistakes could be what's throwing off your space.

Here are 6 missteps I often see homeowners take when decorating their homes, and some easy tips to fix them!

1. Hanging the art too high

Homeowners regularly hang their wall art too high. This can make the piece look like it's awkwardly hovering over the rest of the room, rather than adding to the ambiance as a connected part of the space.

Pro Tip: Place the center of the art at eye level

Art in your home is meant to be enjoyed every day so when in doubt, hang it lower.

Bonus Tip: If you're placing wall art over a console table, consider having some slight overlap between the art and the items on the table so it feels even more connected to the space.

2. Selecting a tiny rug

Homeowners habitually purchase rugs that are way too small for the space. This one mistake can have a giant, negative impact in the room, making it feel awkward and disjointed.

A well-placed, right-sized area rug serves as a grounding element and helps bring harmony to the room.

Area rug is too small which makes living room look and feel disconnected
too-small area rug making living room look and feel disconnected

In a living room, a good rule of thumb is to have at least the front legs of all major pieces of furniture sitting on the area rug. This anchors the conversation space and literally connects all the pieces for a cohesive feel.

When in doubt, opt for a larger area rug.

To make the room feel larger, ensure the rug takes up most of the floor space, leaving about 12" from the edges to the walls.

In a dining room, aim to have all the chairs remain fully on the area rug, even when the chairs are pulled out for folks to sit down.

3. Hanging the curtains too tight around the window

Controlling the light and providing privacy are very important functionality needs, but drapes also add a homey feeling. They can bring together all the room elements for a finished, polished look.

How you dress your windows can make or break a space.

Oftentimes, homeowners hang drapes that are barely above the window trim (far below the ceiling), or are too tight on the sides of the window, completely covering it. This makes the window and the space seem smaller, and limits the natural light coming in.

drapes too tight to the window
drapes too tight to the window

Instead, hang 'em high and hang 'em wide!

Install the drapery rod up close to the ceiling, or at least half way between the ceiling and the top of the window trim.

The drapes should just overlap with the window trim on the sides, to maximize the amount of light coming in and make the window (and the room) seem larger.

4. Picking the paint colors FIRST

Another common mistake I run into is homeowners who've picked out paint colors and then try to decorate the room.

This either limits the options for furniture pieces that coordinate properly, or you end up with rooms that don't quite look right but you can't place your finger on why. (Sound familiar?)

Select your paint colors LAST!

Unless the wall color is the inspiration for the room, it should be chosen to coordinate with the items already in the space. (Think countertops, backsplash, sofa, area rug, or other large items)

It's wise to have a general idea of what color you'd like on your walls, but the actual hue should be picked last, after all the other elements of the room are selected (or even better, are already in place).

This way, you ensure a cohesive, harmonious feel in the space.

5. Buying the entire bedroom set

Too often, homeowners bring home every piece in the bedroom furniture set and then call it a day. I walk into a new client's bedroom and am hit in the face with a matchy-matchy group of night stands, bed frame, dresser, and tall boy. This lack of personality is a part of why the bedroom doesn't quite feel right, or why the furniture feels "too heavy."

window treatments, art, and decorative objects added to truly finish this romantic bathroom remodel
purchasing the matching furniture set isn't enough to create a finished space

PSA: You have permission to break up that furniture set.

There is no rule that you have to keep a bedroom furniture set (or a living room sofa/table set) altogether. You have permission to break it up, and in fact, I encourage it.

Your bedroom is your oasis. It should be a calming place of respite that reflects your style, not a furniture showroom.

If you're ready for a fresh look, start with simply replacing the nightstands. Pulling in a new pair that coordinates with your existing furniture can give the whole set a fresh feel.

  • For a soothing bedroom vibe, stick with symmetry and buy a matching set of nightstands.

  • For a more eclectic feel, look at coordinating pieces that reflect each partner's personality a bit more.

Either approach can liven up a stale bedroom set without breaking the bank.

This is an example of a room I designed around an existing furniture set, but replaced the nightstands with a white pair, more in line with the new Bermuda-inspired vibe we were working to achieve. It lightened up the space and made the existing furniture feel less heavy.

Bottom line: find pieces you love that relate to one another so your room looks more collected over time and has some interest.

6. Neglecting the details

The design mistake I see folks make most often is disregarding the importance of decor. It doesn't have to be fussy, but it can't be neglected if you want your home to feel polished, pulled together, and complete.

Homeowners will spend a lot of time, energy, and money on the major parts of a renovation, and still feel like the room is missing something because they didn't consider art for the walls, window treatments, or decorative accessories.

I was recently brought in to decorate a master bathroom that had just been remodeled beautifully, but still looked like it needed work. The owners had tacked a towel over the bathroom window because they didn't consider window treatments!

"Before" image of remodeled bathroom with towel tacked up in the window above the freestanding tub
"Before" image of remodeled bathroom with towel tacked up in the window

The marble tile in the shower, freestanding bathtub, and warm wooden double vanity were all gorgeous, but the bathroom still felt incomplete because the walls were bare.

It's the finishing touches that tie all the elements together and make a room feel complete.

Have you made one (or all) of these decorating mistakes? You are not alone! And now you know how to fix it!

Let me know how much better your space looks and feels after implementing one of these changes.

Which fix will you try first?

Happy Decorating!


If you'd like help pulling together the beautiful, comfortable, organized home you deserve, and making sure it gets installed the way you want it, contact us! (Richmond, VA area)

Our complimentary, 30-minute call is the best place to start:

Pattie Kelly is a Certified Interior Decorator, Certified Color Expert, and President of Inspired Home Interiors. She is passionate about designing beautiful, comfortable home living spaces that are organized and maintainable, and bringing those visions to fruition for her clients in the Richmond, VA area.

Related Posts

See All


Thanks for subscribing!

bottom of page