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My Biggest Decorating Mistakes

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A few of my biggest decorating mistakes and the lessons I’ve learned.

No one likes to admit when they’ve made a mistake, especially me, but I’ve learned over the years that you can’t find out what you really like (when it comes to decorating) if you don’t make mistakes.

cutting board on granite countertop in white kitchen with tile floor

Some of my mistakes are small ones, like buying a lamp and cutting the tags off only to find out that I didn’t really love it, but some of them are big…and expensive.

Let’s talk big mistakes, and trust me…some of them are doozies.

Decorating Mistake #1

Buying furniture because it’s trendy

The biggest, and costliest decorating mistake I ever made was when I bought a green and burgundy plaid sofa (remember the jewel tone trend?). Sure, I loved it at the time, but it wasn’t really practical for the long haul. Styles change, and tastes change, but an expensive sofa sticks around for years (in our case anyway).

Luckily for me we moved and I was able to sell the sofa to someone who really loved it. Of course, I didn’t make any money off the deal, and I had to spend more money on another sofa, so it ended up being a costly mistake.

Like I said, I tried to learn my lesson every time I made a big decorating mistake but sometimes it takes a few times for it to get through.

Case in point…my sectional sofa with a chaise (that I bought to replace the green and burgundy beauty).

large neutral sectional in sunroom

See, I learned my lesson with color but I still had a lesson to learn about size and shape.

This sofa wasn’t cheap, and I didn’t make the decision to buy it lightly, but I also didn’t consider how I would use it if we moved into another house. It fit the room, and our lifestyle, when I bought it but I had no idea that we would move, 3 more times, and it would be hard to fit in every single house. Our intent, when I bought it, was to stay in the house forever but, well… you know how that goes.

We moved into our current house and couldn’t get it to fit in our tiny 1946 living room. I had to go out and buy another couch (not an expense we had counted on) and the sectional was relegated to the sunroom. It did all work out in the end but it turned out to be another expensive lesson.

Decorating Mistake #2

Buying a burgundy leather chair

Let’s stick with furniture mistakes and talk about the hubby’s chair. It’s leather, which is great, but it’s a burgundy leather. I bought it year’s ago to match my green and burgundy plaid couch (see mistake #1), and I really loved it at the time. Fortunately for us the couch found a new home but the chair is still with us.

It’s my dirty little secret that I try to crop out of all of my pictures that I share on Chatfield Court. To say I hate this chair is an understatement, but the hubs loves it so, until it falls apart, it stays. Don’t worry though, I’ve learned my lesson…no more burgundy leather recliners. When we do get a new one it will be neutral, and it won’t be as massive.

white living room sofa in front of big window

Decorating Mistake #3

Buying stainless steel appliances

I always try to decorate with things that I love but appliances have been a different story for us. We always find ourselves moving for one reason or another so, when we have to buy new appliances, I’ve learned to take resale into account. These days, most people want stainless steel in their kitchens so it helps when you are selling your home.

Sometimes the choice isn’t easy…or cheap.

The last two houses we’ve lived in had some new appliances in place when we moved in and they were…you guessed it, stainless steel. Moving is expensive enough without buying all new appliances so we’ve chosen to match the new ones we inherited.

remodeled galley kitchen view of side of refrigerator and door to bedroom

Me personally??? I don’t like stainless steel. It looks great…when it’s clean, but it doesn’t stay that way for long. I don’t like that it’s so hard to clean and keep it looking clean.

If I could buy all new appliances, I would choose white colored appliances any day, to blend in with glossy, white cabinets. That would be my first choice.

Decorating Mistake #4

Paint color choices

Let’s talk paint.

Yes, paint is way easier to change than a plaid colored sofa or a stainless steel refrigerator, but let’s face it…who wants to repaint a room after you painted it?

I usually spend a lot of time trying to find the perfect paint color for a room. I’ll test several colors and hang swatches on different walls, checking them in different light. While I’ve had a lot of success with this method, and loved the colors I chose, I’ve also had some fails.

There was no bigger fail than the color I chose for our living/dining room in our Illinois house. This was a big room so it took me a while to paint it. I knew immediately though that it was the wrong color. It was just too dark for the space.

sectional in living room with gallery wall and dark gray painted walls

Don’t get me wrong, I love to paint but I didn’t like the thought of repainting the room.

Putting it off wasn’t going to make it any better so I pulled up my big girl pants and repainted it. I stayed in the gray family and just lightened it up several shades.

Even though it was a big job, lightening it up did the trick. It really made a huge difference!

white painted media cabinet with tv and picture frames hanging on the light gray painted wall

I learned my lesson with this one.

What did I learn? I don’t like darker colored walls in a room that doesn’t get a lot of natural light. It may work for some but, for me, lighter is better. Luckily I haven’t repeated this decorating mistake.

Give me time though, I’m sure it’ll happen again.

What are some of your decorating mistakes that you’ve made and what lessons have you learned?

Sure I’ve made some decorating mistakes but I’ve also had success! Check out our kitchen remodel and the new powder room that we built from a closet.

image of white galley kitchen with biggest decorating mistakes graphic