Residential Color and Style from a Certified True Color Expert.

My top five decorating no-no’s

Well, we all have our likes and dislikes.

And, if you have been following this blog at all during the last six months since I started it, you’ve seen a lot of rooms that I like, since I try to keep the negative verbiage to a minimum.

But today, please indulge me, just this once, to name a few things I don’t like.

These are some things that bug me in otherwise beautiful homes.

#1.  Too many personal photographs.

Especially on bookcase shelves.

A plethora of family photographs= visual clutter.

Pick a few gorgeous ones of meaningful life events (weddings or christenings, for instance).

Invest in pretty frames that complement each other. Don’t mix a hodge podge of frame styles or color finishes.

For all your other cherished photos:  Why not invest in a nice leather archival photo album, fill it with your favorites, and place it on the family room coffee table where you or your friends can actually take the time to enjoy looking through the pages?

If you have too many displayed photographs, I can practically guarantee that you don’t really “see” them anymore.

#2 Paperback books on display

This downgrades an open bookshelf immediately.

 If you don’t have a decent collection of hardbacks for your shelves, use the space for some other  type of collection or grouping until you do.  A good designer or a friend with a practiced eye can help you style your bookshelves for maximum visual appeal.

And, as a p.s. while we are talking about books: don’t fall for the contrivance that is shown in some magazines of covering your books, paper or hardbound, in white butcher paper. That is the silliest thing I have seen lately. Books are to be seen, and read, not covered up as strictly decoration.

When you buy a paperback: Read it, then Pass It to a friend, or Donate It. Never open-shelve a paperback book.

3.  Skimpy drapery.

Look through any high-end decorating magazine. Quality draperies “kiss” the floor, but yes, you can puddle your draperies if you live in New Orleans or the in English countryside. Otherwise, it is a bit dated looking. The kind of pleats you see will be soft, unpressed pleats, and several widths of fabric to look luxurious. I am not saying this isn’t an investment. It is, but well-done draperies finish a room.  For a budget decorating project, use two panels of ready-made curtains per side of the window. Hang the rod high, and let the rod extend out beyond the outer sides of the sill.

Triple-width French doors with drapery. Image ©Color Calling

4. Pink or orange wood cabinetry anywhere.

This is a very dated look.  And, yes, I know men hate to paint wood.

Paint it.


Here is orange:

And here is pink:

pickled cabinet-yes, this is pink.

#5 Using colors out of the blue that ignore a room’s fixed finishes.

Here, below, the yellow wallpaper is just wrong in every way for the space. It is too bright for the muted blue counter and tiles, and it is not repeated anywhere else in the room, and so it sticks out like a sore thumb.

Middle image, the correct color (In Your Eyes, Benjamin Moore) takes into account the fixed muted blues everywhere else in the room.  Bathrooms and kitchens are the two worst offenders, because of tile and countertops being  expensive to replace.

Yellow wallpaper with blue fixed finish

Newly painted bath, Image ©Color Calling

Do you have something decoration-wise that bugs you? Do tell!

2 responses

  1. Movies, symphonies, restaurants all have critics. Please continue the education.

    Alas, I do have some paperbacks on my library shelves, over 95% hardback. I do reread the paperbacks kept. When time arrives they’ll fit in a closet shelf. At least I already know I like my library shelves to be ALL books.

    XO T

    September 14, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    • What I am writing about is row after row of paperbacks. A very few are probably not even noticeable. And, I should add: I was taught that it is much, much easier to criticize than it is to build something from scratch!

      September 14, 2012 at 9:25 pm

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