4 Home Decor Mistakes I Won’t Make Again

When I started “decorating” and “fixing up” our oh-so 80’s suburban home a few years ago, I had no idea what I was doing. Sure, I’d collected thousands of photos on Pinterest and sure, I had some strong opinions. But, we were on a pretty tight budget, didn’t know if we’d be staying in this home, and I really didn’t have a plan. In fact, I had no plan at all! We sort of changed the things in order of how much they bothered me (the peach walls and fruit wallpaper were first to go!). So, as you can imagine, we made quite a few home decor mistakes along the way. I think it’s important to acknowledge, and maybe even embrace (?!) those, to learn and avoid them in the future.

Now, don’t get me wrong. There’s a lot I love about our home. My husband & I have put in a lot of time and work to make this house feel like home. I especially love our living room and bedroom, and as we start our search for our new house, I’ll be keeping all of these home decor mistakes and lessons in mind!

wall decor shelves
Wall decor shelves with Cascade Iron Co. Gold Brackets

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Home Decor Mistake #1: No Plan

For the first few years in our house, we were on an extremely tight budget. Because of this, and perhaps because I had no greater vision, I ended up spending lots of money on random little items. Things like small art prints, vases, frames, maybe a pillow or two. Of course, small home decor can make a big splash (like some of my shelf decor must have items), but when I spent our budget on these little things, I ended up with a very disconnected space that didn’t fell homey at all!

Without a bigger plan, like the overall feeling, mood or perspective, it was easy to snatch up something inexpensive and cute only to discover it really had no place in our home. (If you’ve ever spent time in the Target Dollar Spot, you can probably relate 🙂 Now, with more of an overall plan, I can better discern what items are needed and which should go. And yes, which items should be passed up even though they’re cute and cheap!

Lesson Learned: Create a home design plan

home decor mistakes

Home Decor Mistake #2: No Impact

By spending money on little things, this brings me to #2 of my home decor mistakes- focusing my time and energy on projects and items that made very little impact. Sure, my favorite pillows are adorable and I love them every day, but ultimately, we were better off investing in armchairs that create a beautiful sitting area to make use of an awkward space or replacing the carpet in the reading nook with pine shiplap for an updated, fresh space.

I wish I had reminded myself that big impact doesn’t have to mean big bucks. By whitewashing our fireplace, we completely transformed the space from straight out of the 80’s to something a more modern with only $20 and a couple hours.

Lesson Learned: Look for ways to make a big design impact

paint sw
Paint variations. Image credit unknown.

Home Decor Mistake #3: No Research

Ok, I’m probably the only one who made this home decor mistake. Everyone in Instagram-land seems to be checking sources and colors and saving links. But, what can I say, we bought this house in 2012 and we were so naive. White paint is white paint, right? By choosing an off white paint when we chose our new custom doors, I committed ourselves to a life time sentence of yellow toned ivory that I try my hardest not to hate everyday. Because of course, everything after had to match; trim, cabinets, etc. My biggest design fail.

Determined not to make the same home decor mistake twice, I already implemented some of this into the beach house where we used Chantilly Lace from Benjamin Moore.

Lesson Learned: A little research goes a long way.

whitewashed fireplace and letterboard
Our valentine message is still up. And loving our whitewashed fireplace makeover.

Home Decor Mistake #4: No Guts

Something always comes up with a house, right? Usually when you least expect it and are totally unprepared. Like our master bathtub leaking into the dining room below. Or our cat ruining the carpet in our living room. Or realizing the original staircase was incorrectly built.

These were all issues to address and fix and we did the best we could. That tight budget (and failure to have a plan), meant we often went for the most cost-effective repair. And maybe that was an ok way to go considering we don’t plan on living here forever. But, those issues would’ve been a great time to also capitalize on the emergency and turn into a design win! Instead of just fixing the tub, maybe we could’ve better used that time, money, and headache to actually replace with an updated stand-alone soaking tub. And that water soaked ceiling and wall that needed to be torn down to the studs? That would’ve been the perfect time to remove the hexagon tray ceiling that haunts me daily.

Lesson Learned: Make the most out of home disasters

modern family room
Changed up our family room and created a little corner with one of my chairs.

So even though I made all of these home decor mistakes on our first home, I’ll gladly take them as lessons learned. Working through these mistakes have taught me a lot about home design and patience.

Can you relate? Anyone else make home decor mistakes they’ve learned from?