Thursday, May 13, 2010

my top ten decorating mistakes...

after many years of being in a design funk. i finally gave up! no, i didn't throw everything away and start new. i just edited a bit. this is what i've learned. these are my top ten decorating mistakes....

1. not making the master bedroom an adult space
finally... a room that the hubs and i can call our own.

this is a huge problem for me. if you make your bedroom kid-friendly, they'll always be KIDS in your bedroom. not good for the kids and really not good for your marriage. make the master bedroom a haven for you and your partner. a place where you can get away, relax and enjoy each other.

2. being a pack rat
purge. get rid of anything you don't really love or really need. the other stuff is clutter in your home and in your mind. a organized, uncluttered space will feel better. nicer. cleaner. when you don't have a lot of stuff, you don't have a lot of stuff to pick up or clean.

3. not spending a little extra money on major furniture pieces & spending to much money on small furniture pieces & accessories
don't get me wrong... i LOVE ikea and my home is filled with the stuff (rugs, lamps, shelves, etc.). but. if you can. try & buy higher-end large furniture items.... dining tables, couches, beds and dressers. make sure they are of good quality and more traditional in style (rather than trendy). buy them knowing you will have them for the long haul and you truly love them. 
      once you buy those items, fill in your home with more trendy (less expensive) accessories and small furniture pieces. this way you can follow the current trends and you won't feel horrible changing out pillows, artwork and occasional tables.... because you didn't spend the big bucks on them.
     trust me. i learned this lesson the hard way. over my 10 year marriage, we've had 4 maybe 5 super cheap couches. if we just saved up for a nicer couch, we could have avoided that situation. thus saving a lot of time and CASH!

4. not putting together color palette for the entire home
when we first moved into our home.... i went color crazy. the living room was red, the dining room was striped in two shades of creamy-tan, reilly's room was yellow, the office was green, master bedroom was gold and the guest room was a serene blue. yikes! right? 
     anyway. i learned the hard way after re-painting each and every one of those rooms (with the exception of the dining room stripes... i still love those). so now all the colors of my rooms, hallways and bathrooms work together. it really makes walking though the house a much more pleasant experience.
 i love these stripes... now the whole house matches them!

5. being afraid to paint wood furniture
 i love my painted kitchen table.... such an improvement over the cherry wood stain!
 i really regret that i didn't learn this earlier. i have thrown out or given away a lot of perfectly good furniture because it was the wrong color or had the wrong stain. it's really quite easy to re-finish pieces to suit your room perfectly.
      ok before you go out and paint everything in your home. first learn the correct way to paint wood furniture, there is a lot of information on the correct and incorrect way. do your research and take your time.

6. not buying the things i love
so many times i didn't purchase something that i really loved, because i didn't have the space for it or i already had a perfectly good one (that i didn't love, but i liked). i regret, regret, regret this! if you purge (as i suggested above), trust me, you'll have the space for the things you love. AND there is no harm replacing a perfectly good item, for a item you adore. 

i replaced a perfectly good light fixture [here] with a pendent i fell in love with from Ballard.
sorry about the awful photos... it's storming outside and there is NO natural light!

7. being afraid of adding a little fun into your home
add the unexpected, a touch of personality, a little whimsy. if you enjoy it.... do it! if you like it... do it! your home should represent the people who live in it. 
     for example, the centerpiece on my kitchen table (when i don't have the luxury of fresh flowers) is a big lidded jar filled with crayons. i love it because it represents what my family loves, needs and uses everyday. 
 crayon jar.... a favorite in our home
also, i still love the "keep calm & carry on" poster.... so i ordered two of them, framed them and hung them above my living room sofa.... only i turned one upside down. i think it's funny and so do many people who see them. but i will tell you, there are a lot of people who think i'm nuts. but. it's my house, so who cares!

please note: i really want to re-design the living room (as i really don't love it), but until then the posters make me happy.

again, i hate this room (it's a catch all for old mismatched furniture), but the posters make me smile.
this will be a major project when we move into our new house. fingers crossed!

8. over-pillowing
do you really need 15 pillows on the sofa or bed? heck no!! it's uncomfortable and impossible to keep tidy. pair them down. only keep the ones you love. 

9. decorating [a certain way] for the kids
you CAN have a beautiful home and have children. in order to successfully decorate the way you love, you must do 2 things. ONE... invest in hidden storage for the common areas of your home. cabinets, shelves with baskets, storage cubes. these items are perfect for all the "ugly".... the bright plastic toys, the mounds of books and all the stuffed friends.  once the "ugly" is put away in my home, you would never know i even have children. 
     my coffee table is 2 storage cubes, our tv cabinet has shelves with baskets and i have extra space in my hallway closet for bigger push-toys and skooters. all the toys have their own place. when the kids go to bed, the toys are put away and my husband and i can enjoy a kid-free space!

 no toys in sight... just the way i like it!

 the family room looks like this when max is awake...

this is the upstairs hiding spot... i switched a linen closet into a toy closet

TWO.... this is the biggie... once the kids are older, give them their own space. a basement, a bedroom, a playroom... someplace they keep their stuff. Make them responsible for keeping their space clean. once they have their own space, you can shut the door and pretend that room doesn't exist!
     for us, it's the basement. it is now officially a kids-zone. i only go down there to purge old toys and referee a fight. this space is for my older two children, not for the baby... he needs supervised play and i keep all his toys in the hidden family room storage.

ugly, so ugly... i need to avert my eyes!
on the other side of the room is a ping-pong table and a sectional sofa for watching horrid children's programming (hanna montana, spongebob, syd the science kid, discovery's mystery hunters, etc.)

10. not decorating for the seasons
this is totally new to me. before [once i got a room just the way i liked it] it was finished. nothing moved, nothing changed, EVER (well, except for chistmas). 
     now, i like to make the house warm and cozy in the cold months & light and breezy in the warm months. it makes me happy & reflects my mood.
     in the winter... add a few extra pillows & a cozy throw. i change out slip covers or add a rug. maybe add some candles or a basket of wood & a few floor pillows next to the fireplace. 
     in the summer... remove the rugs in favor of your beautiful hardwood floors. or change out the rug for a lighter, natural fiber rug. remove candles & add fresh flowers. change out the colors of the pillows & window coverings.... brighten up! in the summer i love crisp white sheers on the windows, so they billow in the summer breeze. i buy these super cheap white sheers from ikea... they're great!

so there it is. my list. i wish i a better writer, as this is read is kinda bland. but i only can do what i can do! cheers!



  1. loving your blog... think you're doing a great job. will be following. xo Erica

  2. Your home is beautiful! Thanks for the tips :)

  3. What a great list! I need to second your numbers 5 and 6. Go ahead and paint wood, and if you really love something a little pricey or unusual, buy it - but make it the one item you decorate your room around. I guess I would add a number 11: pick paint last. Painting, buying rugs and curtains and then trying to find furniture and/or necessary items that match those colors is completely backwards. Get the big items first, then pick your paint and accessories based on those major pieces.

  4. Excellent list/analysis. I'm really enjoying your blog, and thanks for adding me to your blog roll!