Interior Decorating Mistakes

by Joshua Lavelle

Today I am going to share with you some of the most common mistakes people make when decorating their homes.

Now don't worry if you have made any of the below. I am also guilty of a few of these decorating mistakes but it is about learning from these mistakes as you pick up more knowledge along the way.

Hopefully, with today's tips, I can help you can rectify any of the following mistakes you might be guilty of too!


Most people hang curtains way too low and by low, I mean hanging curtains too close to the window which makes the room feel smaller than it actually is, instead of close to the ceiling.

You want your eyes to be drawn up, which will create a sense of height in the room. A general rule of thumb for hanging curtains on a pole or track is 15cm above your window and 15cm each side. I would also suggest staying away from busy fabrics and opting for light coloured fabrics that can be easily matched with your main pieces of furniture in the room.

Measuring The Space

The second mistake people make, and I am guilty of this also is not measuring your space before making a purchase.

Everyone knows to measure the length of a potential new piece, but also important (and often overlooked) is its depth. Especially in a tight space, the amount the piece will stick out from the wall is an important factor. You may technically have the space, but if it’s blocking a pathway or difficult to get around in a room, it will be a furniture fail.

My top tip for this would be to always have a friend/ family member to help you measure your space at home as it can be tricky!

For a bigger piece of furniture, marking out the space using newspaper or, anything that will allow you to visualise the piece. Whether your shopping for a new dining table or mirror, by using newspaper it will allow you to get a feel for the size that would work.

Another helpful tip for this would be, once measured write it down in the notes section on your phone. So that whenever you’re out shopping you will always have the measurements to hand.

Wrong Sized Rugs

Rugs are great for defining spaces. However, many people make the mistake of choosing the wrong size rug for a room. If you pick a rug too small it can actually make a room seem smaller as opposed to widening it which is what you want it to do. Another thing to keep in mind when choosing rugs is to make sure your rug goes under the furniture, it doesn’t have to go the entire way under but about 2/3 inches under would work, this will pull the entire look together.

Friends In Low Places & Artwork In High Places

The fourth mistake is something I think everyone has been or is guilty of and it is hanging your artwork/mirrors to high.

In theory, art should be close to eye level. The centre of the piece you're hanging should be at eye level which is about 60 inches depending on how tall you are. Another great way to make sure something is at the right height like a mirror or clock is that the top of the piece is around the same height as the top of the door frame.

The Line-Up

I call this the ‘line-up’ mistake it sometimes interiors can resemble a police line-up. This mistake happens when all of your furniture is up against the walls in a room. Instead, you will want your room to feel conversational.

This will stop the space from feeling starkly open. But you need to make sure you aren’t blocking walkways, doors, etc. So, it will just be a matter of playing around and finding something that works best for you. Once you get into the practice of spacing out your furniture the right way that suits your room size, you won’t look back.

Matching Furniture

A pet peeve of mine; going to a furniture store and buying matching furniture sets.

Now don’t get me wrong there isn’t anything wrong with buying a furniture set if that’s what you are used to doing, but you want your house to reflect your style and each piece to tell a story as opposed to having everything matching. These days there is so much choice and selection out there to furnish a room and incorporate your style or different styles into it that compliment each other so that you don’t need to revert to buying everything in a set.

Instead, if you love buying sets you should try to purchase only one or two pieces and style them with some separate items, this will help to tie your room together.

Check out my top tip below on how you can match pieces that aren’t from the same collection!

“When it comes to blending pieces together it’s about choosing pieces that have things in common as opposed to being identical. For instance, if you were to buy a wooden dining table and a console. They don’t have to be made from the same wood or even have the same finish. It could simply be choosing a table and console with the same grain effect. So, in this instance, the grain effect would be the piece that unifies them and makes them look as if they belong side by side, this is a great way to decorate as it will cause the eye to wander and create tons of visual interest and won't allow the eye to settle on just one piece of furniture.” - J.Lavelle.

As you have read, there are a lot of common mistakes that can be easily made when it comes to interior design.

Luckily, there are also plenty of easy solutions to fix these mistakes—sometimes it’s as easy as getting rid of a hand-me-down that you hate but felt obligated to keep, while other times you may need to enlist the help and keen eye of a friend.

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