5 Common Decorating Mistakes (And How To Avoid Em)


As an interior designer I've often heard people say to me that they don't see the point of a hiring a designer. This statement comes loaded with a lot of preconceived ideas when it comes to designers -- we're expensive, all we do is shop, all we do is play with swatches, etc. -- and fact is MOST of what people think they know about interior design is skewed, if not altogether wrong. 

But I'll save another post for another day to tackle interior design misconceptions & untruths. 

When it comes to designing or even just decorating, we live in a time where everyone wants to just do it themselves. With the surge of social media, people have taken their affinity for shopping & decor, and decided to tackle it on their own OR some people are literally "DIYers" and figure with a little bit of elbow grease & creative crafting, they'll pull it together just fine. 

But here's the thing: that shit isn't for everybody!

Albie Knows 5 Common Decorating Mistakes

I know A LOT of people who have an eye (and the patience) for design, even if it's not what they do professional -- when you got it, you got it; but I also know even MORE people who are just not built for it and end up shopping haphazardly, chasing sales & trends, and ultimately ending up frustrated with a space that they less they love but don't know why.

This is why a professional is important. 

We help you sort through those ideas & feelings, and really just quiet all the design noise. What we see isn't always what the client sees, especially when it's not their natural inclination. So what ends up happening? Projects, instead of creating a design, are fixing a series of design mistakes.

Shopping All At Once

Buying everything all at once is especially common when people are moving and/or starting from scratch for whatever reason -- no one wants their home to feel empty so they think they have to do it all at once. This also happens when people are doing a seasonal refresh, or decorating for the holidays -- I see all the things, I buy all the things. 

Here's what tends to happen...

You've gone to all the places, raided all the aisles, bought all the things...and now you've gotten them into your space and they don't mesh; at the very least they don't mesh the way you envisioned. 

The problem with not pacing your purchases is that you haven't had time to live with anything and really assess how you're going to use everything, how they fit your lifestyle, or even their serving you in the way that you need. 

Pacing, especially for marquee pieces -- sofa, bed, tables, etc -- allows for more discernment, giving yourself a chance to meet both your functional & aesthetic needs. 

The last thing anyone wants is to buy out whatever retailer's assortment -- unless your goal was to recreate their showroom in your home -- without actually buying anything that meets your dreamscape needs. 

Chasing Trends

Right now, for example, minimalism is super popular. That doesn't mean it's for YOU! Minimalism, as a lifestyle, has inspired A LOT of design trends. So now imagine you go chasing these trends, running all up and through IKEA, only to bring home stuff that in no way reflects you -- or minimalism! 

Instead of chasing trends, really be honest with yourself about what your style is. And in case you just have NO clue what that is or what it looks like, that's why I created my style quiz -- to help my clients define their personal style before just blindly jumping into a project, with no parachute.

Fun fact: my decor style quiz was born from my design intake process because so many of my clients were struggling with silencing all the trends they were seeing on Pinterest or HGTV. 

If you're not into minimalism, that's fine. Don't really like mid century decor? That's okay too. Whatever YOU'RE into is what YOU'RE into and needs to serve & support your lifestyle.

Chase what'll be timeless to you. 

Buying Furniture Sets

I'm just gonna go ahead and say it -- I ABHOR FURNITURE SETS! I find that they just strip the space of any real personality. And just so we're clear, I'm talking about sets like living rooms sets that include the sofa, love seat, end tables, and coffee table; bedroom sets with the bed, end tables, dresser, and armoire; or dining room sets with the table, chairs, and sideboard... HATE EM ALL!  

Just because they're sold that way, it doesn't mean you have to buy em that way!

Every single one of these items can be purchased individually, mix & matched as you see fit, to create a more custom, personalized space. This also makes the space feel more collected & intentionally put together. Not to mention that there's no guarantee an entire set will even suit your space. 

Rather than buying a set, choose your staple, marquee piece -- the sofa, bed, dining table -- and then work around that piece with other styles, colors, vendors, etc. for a well-rounded holistic look. 


I love Pinterest, so to be clear, I have nothing against the platform. But WAY TOO OFTEN do I see people using Pinterest as a rule book instead of for inspiration. This is actually what can result in all the OTHER mistakes we've already mentioned -- you are desperate to achieve your #pinterestgoals so now you're shopping all at once and chasing trends.

Pinterest is a search engine -- search for inspiration, ideas, tutorials, etc.

Yes, someone in real life created this look, they didn't create is FOR YOU; it was done in their space for their needs. Even if you lived in identical spaces -- same floor, same building, mirrored apartment -- your lifestyles, tastes, daily routines, habits, etc. won't be identical. It's okay to be attracted to & inspired by all the beautiful dreamscapes on Pinterest, duplicating it does you no favors. 

Plus wouldn't you much rather create your own dreamscape?

Not Getting Help

Naturally, I am a proponent of hiring a designer, but I am also very cognizant that that's not where everyone is in their design journey. Asking for help doesn't have to mean hiring me.

Just because you can it yourself, it doesn't mean you have to do it yourself. 

Creating your dreamscape is a multifaceted process and so help may be in the form of a painter, electrician, carpenter, reasonable friend, etc. Help is someone who either: (a) can simply execute the thing better than you or (b) will help you make sound decisions for your space.

Designing in a bubble, while all your ideas may seem genius, can limit your design. Something as simple as having your girlfriend point out that you have no outlets on that wall so maybe you need to rethink that lamp. Simple! Talking it out allows ideas to flow in a meaningful way. 

We're okay with getting professional help for just about anything else, yet when it comes to our homes, people tend to get very resistant because of the DIY culture. It's okay to say "I don't wanna paint, build, craft, or do any of it" and to instead hire help where needed. 

Are you guilty of any of these mistakes? These aren't the ONLY mistakes I see people makes, but are def at the bedrock of many other mistakes I tend to come across.

If you're currently on a design journey and already see yourself making these mistakes, let's jump in a quick Design Therapy Session and lemme save you from yourself. LOL.

XO Albie Knows