12 Common Decorating Mistakes

As a real estate agent in Vermont for over 25 years, I have sold a wide range of homes, from basic ranches to restored farmhouses to contemporary estates. Whenever homeowners prepare to sell their homes, a lot of cleaning and organizing transpires. So does a lot of home decorating, and some of that home decorating should have been done by a professional. When I thought back on what I’ve seen, I was able to compile a list of decorating boo-boos. In this blog I present 12 Common Decorating Mistakes that I have witnessed more than once, along with my recommendations on how to fix them. See if you can identify with any of them.

pictures on piano1. Too many photos

People who take a lot of photos tend to feel very sentimental about them. The photos are everywhere; on walls, refrigerator, tables, shelves. It’s too much and makes the place look cluttered.

The fix: Display your favorite photos in a gallery wall and switch them out whenever the mood strikes. Organize the rest of your photos in albums by decade or event, and keep them nicely arranged on a bookshelf.

2. Geographic themes

A home’s decor needs to reflect the region where it is, and provide a sense of where you are. Decorating too much in seashells, seahorses, and turtles is overwhelming.

The fix: Use accents to incorporate the region you love without going into overkill. If you have a house in the mountains and love the beach, display a collection of seashells or coral in or on a bookcase or end table instead of designing an entire beach-style room.

3. Outdated accessories

Don’t let your rooms feel dated by hanging on to older cabinets and especially hardware.

The fix: Make small changes like switching the hardware on your kitchen or bath cabinets and changing light fixtures. Remember, the design is in the details.

Formal dining room4. Too formal

A formal room is not a bad thing. Feeling uncomfortable in it is. Formal furniture that looks like it belongs in the White House isn’t welcoming or inviting.

The fix: Give your room a function. If it’s the living room, make it livable. If it’s the dining room, make people want to sit down at the table and eat. Which brings me to…

5. Uncomfortable dining chairs

There is nothing worse than eating a meal while sitting in a chair that hurts your butt.

The fix: Install seat cushions on wooden chairs. It’s an easy fix and your friends and family with thank you!

6. Everything matches perfectly

A room that looks like it’s straight out of Crate & Barrel catalogue is a mistake. Nobody lives that way.

The fix: Your rooms should look like you enjoy living there. I don’t mean a rumpled look, but a comfortable and practical look. Furniture should serve a purpose, not just look good.

7. Fadish furniture

Remember beanbag chairs? If you ever bought one, I bet you still have it, because you can’t even give it away.

The fix: Decorate in a style that is long-lasting. When it’s time to sell, you won’t have to invest in replacement pieces for those trendy things you now hate.

8. Tacky couch covers

This reminds me of one of my high school boyfriends. His mother covered all their couches in clear vinyl. It was the thing to do back then. Uch!

The fix: Find a nice throw blanket in an accent color that doesn’t overpower the couch. Keep it simple.

Sofa table9. Pushed-back furniture

Furniture that is pushed back back up against the walls makes a room look boxy and boring.

The fix: Use a sofa table. Now that was easy, wasn’t it?

10. Ignoring windows

Leaving windows undressed doesn’t feel inviting. Window treatments are the easiest and least expensive way to change the look of a room.

The fix: Hang window treatments two to three inches above the window frame. If you have high ceilings, hanging curtains all the way up to the ceiling. It will make the room seem bigger.

11. Colosphobia (fear of color)

Many people are afraid to use color. But too much neutral is boring and uninspiring.

The fix: Paint one wall in a room and live with it for awhile. If you don’t like it, paint over it. Repeat until you find something you enjoy. You can paint all the walls or just a few. Color is wonderful as long as it’s not overbearing

knickknacks12. Knickknack, paddywhack

Knickknacks, adornments, accessories, whatever. Too many and the room looks messy

The fix: Rotate what you have. Switch it up. Even if you really like something, give it a break. Not every surface has to have something on it. Besides, it’s easier to dust when you don’t have to move so much around.

So there you have it, my 12 Common Decorating Mistakes. Thanks for reading, and when you’re ready to sell your house, I’ll help you stage it so you won’t be making any of these mistakes.

Lea Van Winkle, Realtor/Broker

Four Seasons Sotheby’s International Realty

580 Mountain Rd., Stowe, VT 05672

802-253-7267 (office); 802-363-3890 (cell),

Of similar interest:

6 Tips for Selling Your Vermont Home in Winter

Five Real Estate FAQAs

Posted in Pleasant Valley News, Rural Vermont Real Estate, Uncategorized.