The key to making mistakes? You don’t let them stop you. Here are 21 decorating mistakes that I made and how I fixed them.



I’ve made a few decorating mistakes before—just a few. 🙂

Extra truth?



Every. Single. Day.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I get stuff right, too. But here’s the thing. Most of the stuff that I get right now? I got wrong once upon a time. It’s all about trying and figuring out what works and what doesn’t and replacing things and discovering what you did right and what you did wrong.

Because just like my mother said about stirrup pants, bright blue eyeshadow, and legwarmers.

It’s always a good idea to learn from your mistakes.

Here are 21 decorating mistakes I’ve made (and how I fixed them).

decorating mistake dining room


|| multi-colored rug || dining chairs || blue and white curtains ||

Mistake 1: Picking the paint color first

This world is full of amazing paint colors.


You can see some of my favorite blue paint colors here and my favorite neutral paint colors here and my favorite white paint colors here.

Paint is an easy and inexpensive way to change up a room.

But here’s the thing—starting with the paint color is a decorating mistake. You will be in for a world of frustration trying to find accessories and furniture and fabric that goes with that paint color. Start with your statement piece and choose the paint color from that. For example, in this room, I started with this rug and picked the paint color for the walls, Naval SW 6244.

Solution: Start with your statement piece first and use that to select your paint color

decorating mistake couch


Mistake 2: Not checking to see if your sofa’s cushions are removable

This is the living room from the farmhouse. When we remodeled the room, I wanted it to be symmetrical after we added the built-ins and I thought two love seats would be perfect in the space.

The only challenge?  Telling your husband you want two love seats after he just found the extra money to refinish your wood floors.  Yikes.  

I knew they had to be affordable and neutral with nail heads and heavy upholstery to stand up to kids and pets and red Kool-Aid.  These mini-sofas fit the bill.  They were under $500 each and I got them from the Chris Madden Collection at JC Penney years ago.  I was in such a hurry to order them that I forgot to check and see if the cushions were removable. When they showed up, the stationary back cushions didn’t seem like a deal-breaker.

Until I lived with them.

Stationary back cushions are hard to clean and kind of slump down after a while and oddly push the bottom cushions out.

Solution: You can fix those attached cushions with this one simple tip.


|| blue and white chairs || blue and white rug || coffee table ||

Mistake 3: Don’t forget about the ceilings

Did you know that ceilings are the fifth wall?

It’s an entire decorating opportunity that so many of us forget about.

Sometimes it’s as simple as painting them with a decorative border like I did here.

But sometimes?

The ceiling can make an entire decorating statement. Here’s an entire post with 7 design ideas you can use for your ceiling inspiration.

Solution: Include the ceiling in your decorating plans. Add a ceiling medallion or paint a pattern or use flat ceiling paint to freshen it up.

decorating mistake greenery


|| blue and white chairs || blue and white pillows ||

Mistake 4: Not adding enough greenery

I’m not sure why I forgot about greenery.

Hello captain greenery obvious.

Forgetting the greenery is a common decorating mistake. Greenery is good for the heart and the soul and the neutrals in a room. It gives a room air.  It helps it breathe. You want to add a little greenery to each space to create movement and life in the room.

Solution: Here’s a simple tip to add greenery to your room for free.

decorating mistake bedroom


|| gray and white rug || round gold mirror ||

Mistake 5: Forgetting to add pops of color

I decorated this bedroom in almost all white.

We lived with it for a little and realized something was missing. All it needed was a hint of color.

Nothing too overwhelming.

Nothing too much.

Just a little bit of blush and gold to make it feel alive. Oh.  And we added greenery.

For that—please refer back to decorating mistake number four.

Solution: If your room is neutral, add a pop of color to the space to make it feel finished.

decorating mistake ceiling fan


|| side tables || similar rug ||

Mistake 6: Underestimating the ceiling fan

When we first started redecorating the bedrooms upstairs I knew that I knew that I KNEW I was getting rid of the ceiling fans.

Ceiling fans are so 2011 I told anyone who would listen and promptly took them out of most of the rest of the house, too.

Except? Except I live in TEXAS. The land of the 100-degree days. It was a giant decorating mistake. My electric bill did not thank me.

And so? I went back and put in ceiling fans like these.

They have so many amazing options for ceiling fans now that are industrial and beautiful and farmhouse or simple fans like this one that you don’t even notice.

Solution: Sometimes ceiling fans are a necessity in a space.


|| eucalyptus stems ||

Mistake 7: Forgetting to add mirrors

There are so many spaces that I decorated in this house that felt like a decorating mistake. They felt a little flat, like the original design for this back entry.

I wanted something that would bring a little light into the space.

And then a commenter suggested a mirror.


Here’s the entryway and a mirror that came from my mother and used to hang in the old butler’s pantry.

Sometimes a mirror doesn’t have to reflect everything perfectly like this mirrored staircase project.

Just the light.

Solution: When decorating the walls in a room, try to add a mirror to the space.


|| natural fiber rug || blue and white rug ||

Mistake 8: Choosing the wrong size area rug

It’s so easy to skimp on an area rug.

They can be a little expensive.

But truth? Nothing makes a room more awkward than a too-small area rug in a space. Make sure to choose an area rug that covers your floor with about a 12″ border around the room (you can adjust this for random room sizes.

Here are a few suggestions to help your rug budget. You can layer rugs like I did here or even combine two smaller rugs to create a larger rug like I did in this room.

Solution: Make sure your area rug covers the floor in your room.


|| gray and white rug || dining chairs ||

Mistake 9: Following a trend that isn’t your house

Case in point.  When we moved into this house, I wanted to decorate it just like the farmhouse and decorate the space with farmhouse neutrals.


Except this house isn’t a farmhouse

It’s different.

The rooms are a little fancier and all that farmhouse decor didn’t really work in the space. It just felt like the house wasn’t happy. It needed color.


|| multi-colored rug || dining chairs || blue and white curtains ||

So I listened to the house.

And changed it up.

And gave it color.

I kind of surprised myself with the bold choices in this room, but it worked.

Solution: Sometimes it’s important to understand that you have to listen to your home to figure out what works for it.

decorating mistake not controlling clutter


Mistake 10: Not controlling clutter

If your surfaces in your home are covered with clutter? It’s hard to see the decorating underneath. Not controlling clutter can be a simple decorating mistake.

Here are some simple tips to control clutter in your home:

Solution: Find a place for everything and keep everything in its place.


|| curtain rods || curtain rings ||

Mistake 11: Not using enough curtain rings

This is a mistake I’ve made over and over and over again.

I’ll hang the curtain up and it’s glumpy.

It hangs down in places and doesn’t look right.

It’s because I didn’t add enough curtain rings to the curtain.

Solution: Use 2 packages of rings per curtain to make sure the curtain hangs properly.

decorating mistake pillows


Mistake 12: Choosing design over comfort

This is one decorating mistake I make all the time.

I design a room and then forget that we have to live there.

If your rooms are pretty and people can’t use them? It’s a design fail.

Solution: Look for ways to incorporate comfort into your design, like adding down inserts to pillows like these.


|| blue and white chairs || blue and white rug || blue and white pillows ||

Mistake 13: Pushing furniture against the wall

The natural inclination is to push furniture against the wall.

The challenge?

This makes a room feel stilted.

Instead? Pull the furniture into the space. Pull chairs into the room. Pull your couch away from the wall. Give the room space to breathe.

Solution: Add your furniture to the conversation.


Mistake 14: Not having an anchor piece in the room

Every room needs a conversation piece.

Something that anchors the space and helps the room to feel important.

It can be a hutch like this one in the kitchen.

Adding the hutch against the wall draws the eye to the end of the room and helps provide a foundation for the design.

Solution: Build your design around a statement piece for the room.


Mistake 15: Not having enough lighting in the room

It took me a while to discover this mistake.

I’d add a ceiling fixture and call it a day.


Except every room needs at least three points of light.

Don’t forget about table lamps. Look at what tasks you need for a room and add light accordingly.

Solution: Add three points of light in every room.


Mistake 16: Forgetting to add unique architecture to a home

You want to add a little bit of architecture to every room.

It doesn’t have to be a giant project.

The key is to add features to your home that help it stand out in a crowd.

Solution: Add architecture to your home to create a unique design for your spaces.


Mistake 17: Forgetting that every seating space should have a surface

This goes back to mistake #12. Designing for real life.

It’s important that everyone has a place to put their drink.

Or their phone.

Or anything they have in their hand.

It’s important that each seat has a flat surface it can have access to.

Solution: Make sure to add side tables or coffee tables in a seating area.


Mistake 18: Spending too much money on furniture

There is NO need to spend a lot of money furnishing your home.

Not. One. Bit.

Especially when there are thrift stores and yard sales and your attic to shop.

Here are a few simple furniture transformations to get you started:

Solution: Shop thrift stores and yard sales for bargains and then add your own personality to them.


|| blue and white chairs ||

Mistake 19: Hanging your curtains too low

When hanging your curtains, you want to hang them above the moldings. Hanging them too low can be one of the simplest decorating mistakes.

This pulls the eye up and makes the room feel larger.

You can make curtains yourself to the right length and here’s a simple, easy tip to line them.

Here’s a simple hack for no-sew curtains, too.

Solution: Make sure your curtains are hung above the molding or window.


Mistake 20: Choosing artwork that’s not unique

Find interesting, creative things to hang on your wall.

You want your artwork to show off your personality.

Here are some simple ideas for artwork in your home that you can create yourself.

Solution: Let your personality show through when choosing art for your walls.


Mistake 21: Forgetting that each house is unique

I hesitated to put this one.

I know it sounds a little like I’m writing a Hallmark card for a house.

When I arrived here I decorated with what I knew.  Neutrals.  And I love neutrals.

They are my go-to.  They are my friends.  They calm down my heart and make me smile and want to sink into a chair with a really good book and the sounds of violins filling the air.  I loved them in the farmhouse.


But here’s the thing.  Each house has its own story.  Each house has its own vision.  It’s not like any other house on the planet.

The house knows it’s heart. This house needed color and mirrors and light and pattern and texture mixed in with vintage design. It was different than the farmhouse, but it knew what it needed.

A house knows what will make it soar.

Solution: Sometimes the key is simply to listen.


|| blue and white chairs || blue and white pillows ||

All these decorating mistakes.

All these lessons learned come down to one message:  Be true to who you are

Don’t follow rabbit trails on Pinterest.

I get it.  I understand.  It is so easy to do.  But at the end of the day, there is only one you and what you love for your home will always be perfect no matter what someone else dictates with the latest trends.

Trust your heart.

After all, you are a rock star.

PS  If you have any decorating mistakes you’ve made, share away.  It will make my mistakes feel better. 🙂


Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Kay Kay

    When you refreshed your office, I immediately fell in love with the two prints between the windows. The bright colors are exactly what this room needed, something a bit different and something to catch your eye. Please give the information about the source. Also, I haven't read anything about your sons in several months, Are they still on this planet? Maybe they are away at school just like your daughters, it woild be fun to read what is happening with them.

  2. Image for Maris Maris

    First off, I totally love you. Whereever you are, if I knew where and could get there, I would sit on down next to you. HOWEVER...I wondered if you would consider a slight criticism...? Most of your articles has a beautiful picture first, then the content related to that picture. So, when I read in a downward manner, I look at the picture, then the title of the comment about the picture, then the rest of, or detailed content about the picture, then have to scroll back up to the picture to see the application you are discussing. My suggestion (how nervy of me!): place the title then pic, then details. OR title, a little of detail, then pic, then rest of content. What this does is intro whatever idea the pic illustrates, b4 getting to the pic. Then you know what you're looking at. Maybe if i read your stuff on larger laptop screen it wouldnt matter, But I am usually on my smartphone. Just something I noticed, you dpnt have to pay it any mind.🙂

  3. Image for Michele M. Michele M.

    Great advice! You know another one to consider? I honestly think black is a good choice for neutrals for that "pop!" It's not a pop of color - but it soooo helps ground the space and break up neutrals well. That's my addition to your wonderful advice on this post, KA!

  4. Image for JC JC

    Great advice. Numbers 1 and 12 ring especially true for me right now. We are in the process of building a home to be closer to my daughter, son in-love, and new granddaughter. YIPEEEE! I'm reminding myself, as I'm selecting things to to think ahead of the practicality of a little one running around in the future. I'm trying to keep in mind to select those things that are pretty, but also functional, which is no small task! Number 1.....picking paint, friend, is stressing me out to no end! You see the house we are building is about 1500 miles away and I can't run over to the lot and hold up paint square stickers, and run across the street to look at it at different angles as I wave to all my new neighbors. I can't see how it will be on a cloudy day verses a sunny day. I can't stare and tilt my head at the half built house with the framers giving me strange looks wondering what in the world this crazy lady is doing. Isn't white paint white paint? NOOOOO! perhaps I can push the painters back until I'll be there, in person, at the end of summer beginning of fall. Any ideas on design decisions from afar? What is a girl to do?

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