Decorating Mistakes I’ve Made and What I Learned

Common decorating mistakes to avoid in your home for choosing a color palette, a decorating style, and accents for your spaces.

Common decorating mistakes : Not using enough mirrors

Hi friends.

I’m so happy to be over here today on my incredible friend Lauren’s blog. Let me introduce myself.

My name is KariAnne from Thistlewood Farms and I am a professional mistake maker.

I make mistakes with extra mistakes on top. I’ve designed rooms that were lopsided and planned out furniture arrangement that never really worked and painted furniture again and again. I learned the hard way that measuring is a room’s best friend. And you can overthink a room. And that marble can scratch.

And on and on and on.

But here’s the thing. With every mistake I learned something. Sometimes I had to learn it twice, but in the end, the house that I love today was resurrected from the ashes of all those mistakes.

Here are a few mistakes I’ve made.

And what I’ve learned.

Common decorating mistakes : not using greenery

Number 1: Not adding enough greenery

I’m not sure why I forgot about greenery.

Hello captain greenery obvious.

Greenery is good for the heart and the soul and the neutrals in a room.

It gives a room air. It helps it breathe.

Common decorating mistakes : not using greenery

Here’s the same room. The same view. The same angle.

Except now there’s greenery (and a mirror but we’ll get to that a little later).

I’m not done with the greenery.

I plan on adding a fiddle leaf fig and some other smaller plants to the corner.

Common decorating mistakes : not using color

Number 2: Adding a little color

I remember looking at this picture of the finished kitchen and thinking it was ready to take on the world.

I was all about it and its neutral self.

What was not to love?

White bar stools.

Marble counters.

White walls.

White subway tile.

And then?

I lived with it for a little and realized something was missing.

Common decorating mistakes : not using color

All it needed was a hint of color.

Nothing too overwhelming.

Nothing too much.

Just a little bit of blue and white. You can see the difference a little color makes between the two pictures. The only thing that’s really changed is the rug on the floor and the blue platters on the wall.

Oh. And the greenery.

For that—please refer back to mistake number one.

Common decorating mistakes : not using enough mirrors

Number 3: Forgetting to add mirrors

Here’s the back entry when it had an upside down Christmas tree and an oversized map of Paris on the wall.

It was fine.

It was sufficient.

But I couldn’t figure what to do to bring a little light into the space.

And then a commenter suggested a mirror.


Common decorating mistakes : not using enough mirrors

Here’s the same space with a new paint color and a mirror that came from my mother and used to hang in the old butler’s pantry.

Sometimes a mirror doesn’t have to reflect everything perfectly.

Just the light.

(total decorating aside: see the difference a mirror made back with mistake number one, too).

Common decorating mistakes

Number 4: Putting something that looks like a coffin on your dining room table

I know, right?

Are you thinking what I’m thinking now in retrospect?


I think I literally heard a collective gasp when I posted this picture.

And it wasn’t even Halloween.

Common decorating mistakes

Here’s the kinder, gentler after.

An oversized dough bowl with some greenery.

The toolbox is now in the office keeping the paper and pens company.

(total decorating aside: this room looks even more differenter now because it’s blue and white. Please act surprised.)

Common decorating mistakes : not listening to your home's own style

Number 5: Recognizing that each house is unique

I hesitated to put this one.

I know it sounds a little like I’m writing a Hallmark card for a house.

When I arrived here I decorated with what I knew. Neutrals. And I love neutrals.

They are my go to. They are my friends. They calm down my heart and make me smile and want to sink into a chair with a really good book and the sounds of violins filling the air. I loved them in the farmhouse.


But here’s the thing. Each house has its own story. Each house has its own vision. It’s not like any other house on the planet.

The house knows its heart.

The house knows what will make it soar.

The key is to listen.

Common decorating mistakes : not listening to your home's own style

This house?

It needed a little color.

It needed a little blue and a little white and a pop of color to make it come alive.

Decorating mistakes lesson learned: Be true to who you are and what your house tells you it wants to be.

No matter what you see on Pinterest.

Or see on a blog.

Or read about in a magazine.

There is only one you and the home you create with things that you love will be perfect.

Decorate with your heart.

And let you and your house reach for the stars.

The DIY Home Planner

PS I took everything that I’ve ever learned from all those rooms and all those mistakes and wrote a book.

It’s called the DIY (Decorate It Yourself) Home Planner and it’s full to the brim of decorating advice and tables and charts and pockets and ideas to help you plan out a home that you’ll love.

You can order your very own copy here.

Now go and take on the day.

And make sure to have one as amazing as you are.

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  1. Thanks so much for sharing g those little mistakes. I’m not much of a decorator still figuring out what I love. But this makes me realize that I need more greenery in places like my entryway and powder rooms. Really makes a huge difference. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I absolutely love that you add the mistake about every house being different because it is something I tell people all of the time!!! Not every house can pull off the farmhouse look, not every house should look like it just came off an episode of Fixer Upper (don’t get me wrong, I LOVE that show), not every house can pull off a modern look, either. Each house is unique and should be given its own personality as well as should reflect the personality of its owner. Pinterest and blogs are a great place to get some inspiration not a blueprint! Thanks for the great post!

  3. Thanks for sharing all this valuable info. It’s so encouraging to know that everyone makes mistakes but that they can be easily rectified!!!!

  4. Thank goodness a bit of color is making appearances in blog land again. I love the neutral look but EVERY blog was getting to be all neutrals. It is nice to see different things in different spaces! Your house is gorgeous! I gifted your book to my daughter in law as they just bought a new house. 🙂