8 Decorating Mistakes to Avoid

1.  Clutter: too many small things.  This is a good time of year to eliminate and consolidate.  I just redid the our mantel after removing Christmas decorations.

2.  Buying a Sectional Sofa (if it's not for the long haul).  Right now, I have clients who purchased a sectional just before buying their first home.  It's oriented like this one...and can't be separated or switched around.  Due to the living room floor plan and door openings...it's awkward.
You are safer buying a sofa if you plan to move.

3.  Hanging your artwork too high.  You might know that the center of the art should be about eye level or 57" from the floor (good rule of thumb).  But it can be different for art placed above a sofa--where I often see it placed too high.  It needs to relate to the sofa...about five to eight inches above it, as in this photo.

Also, try to have art (in multiples if necessary) at least two thirds the length of the sofa so it doesn't feel lost.

4.  Hanging your chandelier too high or too low.
It should be about 30 to 36" above your table since you are sitting.
This dining room is about to get a makeover, including lowering the light fixture a bit.

5. Foam or Too Firm Accent Pillows  Indulge yourself with down or down alternative inserts.  For plump pillows, order the inserts two to four inches larger than the cover like with mine.  You can sink into these.

6.  Not Testing Paint Colors  When we were first married, I left to go to work in downtown Manhattan after giving the painter a chip of what I thought would be a subtle shell pink for our bedroom. I came back to this over the whole room...

And lighting is different in every room and really affects the saturation.  
7.  Hanging Curtains Too High off the floor I like them to just kiss the floor.
 Often, curtains will stretch from gravity over time and will gently puddle anyway...this is a nice effect, too.

8.  Lack of Personal elements or history  You don't want your space to look like a hotel room.  Gather things with meaning like:
Books of places you've travelled, photographs, family hand-me-downs/heirlooms, collections (for example, our daughter is collecting vintage globes).  What interests you?  It will make your home unique to you.

Speaking of personal...do you follow me on Instagram?  
It's fun!

Participating in Wow Us Wednesdays.


  1. Perfect post Mary Anne- just what all decorators preach! Your list features THE top faults spot on. Have a great week. xo Nancy

  2. With #7 I would also say that not only the bottoms need to be just as you say…but beware of hanging the rods too low! Raise them up off the window frame level (as in your image) and the curtains will look so much better. I used to put the rods right on the woodwork….bit mistake! Now I always have them at least 6" above the frame.

    1. That's is a really good point, Libby…it will draw you eye up.

  3. Happy Monday!! Very good advice Mary Ann!! The first one is a pet peeve of mine, My mantra is big is better less is more!!!

  4. Dear Mary Ann, All excellent tips and make such a difference in decor. Okay I have some "smalls" that can be put away for a bit and always come out later. I enjoy rotating accessories!

    Pst you won't want to miss my new feature on an esteemed San Francisco designer!

    Featuring "Inner Spaces"

  5. You nailed it....I went on a creating a clutter free thing in my kitchen yesterday and its so much better!! I hate clutter but it does on occasion seem to follow me:)
    I laughed out loud at the Pepto encounter, I once shared on my blog the exact same scenario right down to us living in the city and it was my bedroom that was painted and off to work I went confident that I chose the perfect pale pink, when I came back it was like someone threw me inside a pepto bottle...so funny!!!! Now that is, not at the time as they were there the very next day repainting!

  6. Hi MAry Ann! Great list of mistakes! Clutter free is the way to go! Only have things you love!

  7. Great list. Hanging pictures too high is a pet peeve of mine too. Too much clutter and little things around is a problem of mine - I so could not have a spare modern home. I do follow you on instagram - I have to know what you are up to at all times ;)

  8. Well said Mary Ann. Pictures too high drive me crazy!


  9. Que bonito post, me he paseado por tu bloc y me ha encantado.
    Te animo a hacer una ojeada en el post de esta semana y seguro que veras algunas ideas realmente interesantes.Deseo que te guste y si es así me alegraria que te hicieras seguidora. gracias por visitarme.

  10. Mary Ann, these are great suggestions. We are going to feature them on our Seasons' Saturday Selections this week-end. Feel free to share the info with your readers.


    Janette and Jordan

  11. Really fabulous tips!! Thanks so much for sharing!
    xo. Leslie
    Segreto Finishes

  12. Great tips, Mary Ann! I really am trying to remember #1. I am decluttering all the time! Have a great week.


  13. You mean you don't like Pepto all over your walls. :) This made me laugh. I love your IG accounts and enjoy seeing your photos in my feed. Thank you for sharing all these great tips. For me this year there is a big push to de-clutter and reduce all the fluff. Wish me luck! Have a great week!

  14. Very usuful and practical information. It turns out that I have a lack of personal elements :-( I have to make it up ASAP:-) Thank U !

  15. Great tips. 3, 5, and 7 are pet peeves of mine!!!

  16. Girl I agree with all of that....just basics but oh so important!

  17. My pet peeve is art that is hung too high! So glad you included that!!! Have a great week!

  18. This is a great little list, I learned the hard way about the artwork.

  19. These are great Mary Ann and all frequently occurring things that I see. With regard to #2 (sectionals), I think people assume this is automatically going to provide more seating. While it can, there are also sometimes alternatives and other layout options to consider before automatically going with a sectional.

  20. So many great tips, Mary Ann. I am in the throes of decluttering - always a priority the first of the year!!

  21. Totally agree on all points! I could add a few to this list too! LOL! but you hit major points!

  22. These are all really great tips, Mary Ann! Thankfully I fixed my curtains!! ;-)))

  23. great tips! some of them I already knew, but I found myself mistaken with regard to the chandelier!:(

  24. Everything you do is perfect and with a gentle touch! Love that about you! I saw your instagram on "Coffee Table Elements" and it has forever changed the way I do things around here. "Something tall, something small, something fresh and something interesting". So simple, but so perfect. It's the little things....always! Thanks dear friend!

  25. Fabulous tips Mary Ann! All things that we need to keep in mind. I think my biggest pet peeve is paintings
    being hung too high! January is a good time to freshen and change things up. Great advice! Thanks!


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