5 Decorating Mistakes

Many people love taking the time to redecorate their home, whether they have just moved to a new home or are just wanting a fresh new look. But it’s easy to make mistakes while decorating that can leave the house looking cluttered. Aundrea Brown, Vice President of Intermark Design Group, an interior design firm based in Orlando, Florida, says there are a number of common decorating mistakes to steer clear of to make sure your space is clean and organized.

Unnecessary Shelving

Wall shelves are useful in key areas, but many people tend to overuse them. “I call them ‘dust collectors,’” says Brown. “And they can create a lot of clutter throughout the house.” How do you fix that? Brown suggests using a set of shelves on only one wall. “Choose one area and leave it be and don’t continue the ‘wall shelf’ theme throughout the home,” she says. The same goes for storage shelves that are functional, such as bookshelves. “Sometimes the clutter that is on the bookshelf is what creates that busy feel.” To remedy this, store some of the items that you might have set out on the shelves in storage bins or decorative boxes to create a cleaner, more uniform look.


It’s easy to fill up your home with decor and trinkets you adore, but there’s a value in moderation. For instance, on dining room tables, it’s better to have one big focal accessory than a lot of little items. The same goes for end tables or nightstands: try to have no more than two accessories per table. And if you love throw pillows on your couch, try not to have more than four. Lastly, when it comes to your wall decor, don’t overdo it with pictures and mirrors. “It’s great to have a combination of two large focal pieces side by side,” says Brown.

Mixing Too Many Colors and Patterns

If you want pattern in your room, pick one and allow it to be the primary focus for your eye. For example, make your rug a focal statement and then add some subdued pattern or texture to the room. When it comes to colors, pick no more than two and then allow shades of those colors to play off one another. And if you love bold colors like a strong navy or impactful yellow, use them in items that can be easily swapped out if your taste changes, such as a rug, pillow or window treatment, says Brown. “If you want to paint an accent wall, go two shades lighter and then pull out stronger colors in your accessories,” she adds.

Not Using Lighting as a Focal Point

In general, it’s best to overstate your lighting with larger, more dramatic fixtures in an effort to reduce the number of accessories or color that you need in a room to make it pop more. For instance, most chandeliers average between 20 and 30 inches wide. “But if you’re in a larger room, try upping that by another six to ten inches just for that added dramatic effect,” says Brown. “And then that way you really don’t need as many accessories to give impact in the room.” As for lamps, use light colored lamp shades and avoid fringe or tassels, as those can add a cluttered feeling.

Closing Off Natural Lighting

Beware of window coverings that can make the home feel darker, says Brown. “Cornices and fringe — things that hang down into the window treatment — sometimes make the room feel cluttered.” The general rule of thumb is to look for window treatments that just touch the outer edge of the windows to allow in as much light as possible. Another idea that Brown has been seeing is to use trim around the window, such as a piece of stained wood or something that draws your eye to the window and still allows the light to pass through.

The way you furnish and decorate the rooms in your home can really create an overall mood. By avoiding simple decorating mistakes, you won’t detract from the design and make the house look busy. Instead, you’ll have a beautiful, clean, polished look that still showcases your style and personality. Additionally, if you have a Meritage home you can use Meritage's Design Collections as a starting point to help personalize your dream home to fit your taste. Explore our Collections of interior design options and find the finish that brings your style to life.

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