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The 11 Most Terrifying Design Mistakes (and How to Fix Them)

By: Sarah Beaumont

October 26, 2017

Photo by Mike Baker, styling by Heather Nette King.


The only thing scarier than creepy clowns? Hoarders! And pattern overload. And too small sofas. And poorly hung art. But for every chilling décor mistake, there’s a solution to help conquer it. Read on for the most terrifying interior errors and the best ways to fix them… so they don’t haunt your home forever.


1. Matching your decor too closely. It’s a common misconception that having a matching set of chairs, tables, and fabrics will make your space look cohesive. But this kind of design eliminate character from a room. Instead, opt for complimentary shapes, styles and palettes rather than matching ones.

2. Surfaces crowded with photos and frames. A tabletop covered in picture frames almost always looks cluttered. Clear up space and draw the eye to other areas by creating a gallery wall instead.

3. Going overboard on a theme. There’s nothing scarier than an overdone theme. Even if you live in the Bahamas, covering every wall, surface, and furnishing in palm prints and ocean-inspired patterns feels tacky. Instead, bring your passions alive through more subtle nods like textural elements, art and fabric prints. Small touches make a bigger impact.

4. Ill-fitting furniture. Your living room furniture should be in scale with your space. Too often, people go to a store and see a sofa that looks great in a big, open room, but when they get it home, it’s way too large. Or they pick pieces that are all the same height. You should always mix a variety of lengths, heights, and silhouettes into a room, which makes a for a more inviting, visually appealing space.

5. Exposed cords. A tangle of cords is not just an eyesore, it’s a fire risk. Opt for cord covers that blend in with your wall. Or drill a hole in the back of your media console and use cord organizers to keep everything in order.

6. Falling victim to new trends. Swapping all your silver for rose gold or overloading your place with iridescent furniture may seem like a good idea now, but being a fad-fanatic can make your rooms look tragic. Plus, a home with only new items feels impersonal. Invest in timeless pieces you’ll love, then dabble in trends with affordable accessories.

7. Improperly hung artwork. Art is a great way to communicate your own creativity and taste, which means some liberties can be taken when it comes to display. But unless you’re trying to make an artistic statement, pieces hung too high or too low can majorly disrupt the flow of your space. Instead, hang art at eye level, about 60 inches up on the wall. If you’re creating a gallery wall, your highest pieces should reach close to the top of your nearest door frame.

8. Pushed back furniture. People often push their living room furniture against walls in an attempt to create the illusion of more space. In actuality, this can make a room look boxy and cramped. The best way to conquer this design faux pas is by bringing furniture to the center of the room and allowing it to float. Use a sofa table to define where the space begins.

9. Too many knick-knacks. If you have lots of decorative accessories and knick-knacks, make sure they look purposeful by keeping them organized. Wrangle disparate objects in a thoughtful way by arranging them within trays on a coffee table or admit books on a shelf. And if it’s not a beloved object, don’t display it.

10. Pattern overload. We’re all for pattern-mixing, but there’s such thing as going overboard. Make sure to scale your patterns and use a few different ones to create interest while preventing a matchy-matchy look. A balance of solids and patterns are always necessary.

11. Keeping something you hate. Never live with something that you don’t love, whether its ugly art or poltergeist. If it’s carpeting, rip it up. If it’s a piece of furniture, donate it. If it’s an evil spirit, exorcise it! Keep your home happy…and scary clown free!

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