When it comes to decorating your home, I'm the first to say that it needs to be a space you love - forget the "rules". Homes are meant to be lived in after all...not to be a showroom for potential visitors. That's what model homes are for. Don't get me wrong, I'm as obsessed with Joanna Gaines's style as much as the next girl! But I also have kids, pets, a husband...and not my own home decor show on TV. You know best what works for your home and the people who live in it with you.
That being said, there are a few common decorating "mistakes" we make that can prevent our homes from being all they can be. Let's talk about a few of these and how to fix them! Don't worry...no sledgehammers or major power tools required.
1. Going Dark.
Does this mean no moody accent walls or dark furniture? Absolutely not! Those elements are great! Just keep the lighting in the room in mind when deciding to add darker colors. If you take a small room with very little lighting, paint all the walls dark and add dark furniture, the result will be a shrunken, dim room. Dark colors make things appear smaller, which is why so many people like wearing black. If you want dark walls, do it! Just make sure you balance it with ample light. Natural lighting is ideal, but also add table lamps, floor lamps, and overhead lighting to make it inviting. Adding lighter colored furniture and accessories gives beautiful contrast, and really makes the dark elements pop! I went with a very dark charcoal grey accent wall in our dining room to add some drama. But only because it has a lot of windows so I knew it wouldn't get that "closed-in" feeling I try to avoid.
2. Decorating every surface.
This one is a struggle for me and I've been trying to make simplicity more of my aesthetic. It's easy to love all of the things and want them out on display, but this can easily become just an overwhelming, cluttered look. I found I was feeling more anxious with too many things around the house. Less is more. There are some rooms where I'm clearly losing the battle. The playroom for example. It's way overdue for an overall, but honestly just the thought is exhausting. So I focus on the main living spaces where we spend most of our time. Like the kitchen. We have a huge island in our house that I was SO excited about when we bought it. And then we moved in, and I soon discovered a super fun fact about kitchen islands: they are CLUTTER MAGNETS! I'm the only one in our house who seems bothered by this, so I've tried to institute some rules. So, we have a designated space for mail, trained the boys to clear their dishes when they've finished eating at the counter, clear toys when you're done playing, and put the small appliances away when not being used. Are we nailing this system 100%? Not at all, but we're getting better. We have a fruit bowl, a utensil container, a large tray with a vase and minimal decor on it, and that's about it. An uncluttered space is calming. You don't need to get rid of everything. Donate what you don't love, and divide up the rest into storage bins. When you're craving a new look, take out those bins and swap items out. You can definitely still enjoy all of your decor pieces, just maybe not all at the same time!
Here's a little bit of "cleaned-up vs. reality" for ya:
3. Ignoring the Entry.
While we don't spend much time in our entryways typically, they are an important space to decorate. It's where all the first impressions happen. Leaving it empty is such a missed opportunity. It doesn't need to be fancy or large...just welcoming and functional. Add a small table with an art piece or mirror above it, a coatrack or hooks for coats and hats, a tall plant, maybe a bench with some baskets under it. Keep it simple but pretty to walk into! It should make you happy and feel like home when you walk in. My entry has gone through many changes. It's one of the easiest spaces to change out since it's small and I can move the furniture myself!
4. Choosing Style over Comfort.
This one is especially true when it comes to seating. It's so tempting to buy those metal dining chairs that are so popular right now because, yes, they are super cute! But they aren't comfortable to sit in for very long. Choose a style that is comfortable, not just cute. Dining chairs get a lot of use for dinners, gatherings, family game nights, etc. Add cute chair cushions to wooden chairs or buy some that are already padded and upholstered (although consider carefully if you have little ones). Detachable cushions are definitely easier to clean.
5. Photo Overload.
Who doesn't love family photos?! Especially moms, I think. We love seeing their little faces everywhere. But too many framed photos covering all the tables and shelves is just too much. And you can't enjoy them as much as you would if they were styled better. There's nothing like a good gallery wall for your favorite family photos. I love all the different ways you can create one: symmetrical, all different sizes and frame styles, a mix of photos and signs, large walls, small walls, etc. A simple Pinterest search can get your creative juices flowing. And you can even buy gallery wall kits that include a wall template for easy hanging.