The five decorating mistakes you've probably made in every house you've lived in. Sorry.

I think my favourite part of being an interior decorator is getting to snoop inside people’s homes.

With their permission of course, I’m not a psycho that goes door knocking asking to come in and check out their house… Although that kind of did happen once when I Instagramed a photo of a particular house I’d been watching over a few months get renovated and then the owner happened to see my post and invited me over to help with some decorating issues.

So maybe I am that psycho… anyways.

Since I’ve snooped in my fair share of homes over the years I think it’s fair to say I know what I’m talking about when it comes to identifying mistakes we all make in decorating. I’ve narrowed this list down to five things but trust me, there’s plenty of other things. Especially in bachelor pads. That have their own particular stench. And are filled with ugly black leather furniture. OK I’m getting off topic.

What are the top five home decor mistakes you ask?

1. Tiny Rugs

Don’t be ashamed, nearly all of us have done this.

Placing a postage stamp sized rug in your living room and walking on cold floor boards around the room because the rug is just sitting nicely under your coffee table keeping his feet warm in winter instead of yours!

You’ll never regret a large rug, but chances are you’ll end up regretting purchasing a rug that’s too small for the space. It’ll look like your furniture is crammed into one section of the room, a large rug helps define the space and funnily enough actually makes the room appear larger than it is.


The solution?

How do you work out what you need for the room? Measure your sofa’s length and add about 30cms to either end (60cms in total). E.g. If your sofa measures 190cm wide, you’ll need your rug to be a minimum of 250cms wide.

Luckily for you, most rug companies make their rugs in standard sizes like 250 x 350cm so you’ll easily be able to find an off the rack solution to your postage stamp problem.


2. Art hung up near the ceiling

A maaaajor no no in the interiors world is hanging your art too high. Seriously though, do people stand on stilts when trying to decide where to hang their new art pieces?! You’d need industrial ladders to hang some of the things I’ve seen!

The solution?

Average human eye level is around 150cms which means that’s the most pleasing spot for our eye to rest when looking at the artwork in a room.

Working out where 150cm’s is from the floor up the wall you want to hang your artwork on will give you a centre point for your art piece. Hanging art is up there with eyeball poking fun so if it all gets too much just call in a professional and make it their problem. They generally don’t hang artwork up around the ceiling either.


3. Pancake Cushions

Mmmm pancakes, delicious… Not so much when that’s what your sofa cushions resemble though…. Have you ever noticed that you buy plump delicious looking cushions to jazz up your sofa or bed only to find they’re flat as a pancake within a month or two?

The solution?

Purchasing feather inserts rather than polyester filled cushions is the first step in eradicating pancake cushions from your life.

The next step is to ensure those inserts are a full size larger than your actual scatter cushion. Feathers will squish down too but by going up a size you’ll find they stay fuller for longer (surely that’s some kind of food brand slogan?!).


4. Not having a coffee table or side tables in your lounge room

I don’t care if this makes me sound like a snob but excuse me, where do I place my mug of tea or glass of wine when I come over to visit you?! Half on the postage stamp sized rug and half on the cold floor boards ready to get kicked over and spray red wine all over the rug?! Not on my watch!

I also can’t work out why this doesn’t annoy the owners of the house too? Like where do you put the remote? Where do you put all those magazines you subscribe to and never read? And what do you put your feet up on when you’re binge watching The Crown on Netflix?!

The solution?

Buy a coffee table! If you don’t have the space for a coffee table, one or two little side tables or stools can easily be pulled into place when you need somewhere to rest your drink. Store them at either end of your sofa when not in use.


5. Not caring about your space because you won’t be there long

I get it, jobs get in the way, kids get the way, life gets in the way but I’m a firm believer that our environments are a direct reflection of what we want to bring more of into our lives so surrounding ourselves with clutter and mess is only going to invite more of this into your life.

The solution?

It doesn’t have to cost a fortune to have a well decorated house, making key purchases, investing in storage and regularly committing to cleaning up the house goes a looooong way to making your entire life happier.

Make smart decisions with the proportions of your furniture so that they fit the space in which you live helps make the space feel ‘right’ and adding some fun to the room will make you smile every time you come home, whether that’s a funky cushion for the couch or a crazy dog ornament for the fireplace, find your thing and place it in your home with pride.


Emma Blomfield is an Interior Stylist, author and the co-founder of The Decorating School. You can follow her on her website and Instagram, and check out her book Home: The Elements of Decorating here.

Want more interior design inspiration? We spoke to the ‘House Whisperer’ Megan Morton about her design philosophies below.

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