Today I’m sharing the top 3 most expensive decorating mistakes I have seen made around Canberra — and not just by Canberrans!

I know I’m going to ruffle some feathers here, but I do this from a place of genuinely wanting to help you create a beautiful home. No one deserves that feeling of buyer’s remorse and saying, “but I spent so much money on this… I am stuck with it!” 

If you’re feeling regret, indecision, or overwhelm about decorating your forever home, we can fix it.

Here’s what we’re going to do:

  1. I will share the top 3 most expensive decorating mistakes and WHY they are mistakes
  2. I’ll offer you some solutions for preventing these scenarios before they begin
  3. I will give you some suggestions for handling these situations if they’ve already happened

Follow our advice, get help if you need it, and you’ll finally be ready to confidently decorate an interior that celebrates your good taste!

First up…


The oversized leather sofa or puffy recliner

oversized puffy sofa design mistake canberra expensive


You know the ones I’m talking about…  the oversized leather modular sofa set, or even worse, the puffy recliner with built-in plastic cup holder. (Gasp!)

Decorating mistakes:

I am not saying that these sofas don’t have a place in any home. In fact, they may look and feel great… in the right space. But in almost every case I’ve personally seen, these pieces are decorating mistakes because they are…

  • way too large for the space
  • too minimalistic for the homeowners’ desired classic aesthetic
  • not ideal for the homeowners’ forever space

chisholm interior design journey home light blue sofa white piping classic decor

Much better! From our living room decorating project in Chisholm.

What’s the solution?

If you feel tempted to invest in one of these big, puffy beasts, ask yourself these questions first:

  1. Is the sofa a good spatial fit for the layout of your space? 
  2. What is the goal of this space? Will the sofa contribute to that goal? For example, if conversation is the goal, comfy single chairs might be better suited.
  3. Does this sofa truly meet your style brief? If your style is along the lines of classic, Hamptons, cosy, heritage etc., it is likely that a large leather modular won’t make you happy down the track. 
  4. Sometimes this can also boil down to the difference in preferences between men and women, so try to be on the same page when shopping. Easier said than done, but you can use this post as a bargaining tool. 😉


Rugs that are too small and too red

Rugs are a timeless and luxurious component of any classic interior. They create a layer of softness and elegance, can set the tone for the entire design theme, and help bring a room together. But choosing one is not quite so simple.

The second biggest, most expensive decorating mistake I see in Canberra interiors are rugs that are too small and too red for the space.

design mistake canberra rug too red small chairs white sofa

If at least two legs of your chairs and sofa won’t fit on the rug, it’s too small (source)


Decorating mistakes:

  • When too small, rugs don’t provide the sense of cosiness they should
  • Red, Persian rugs are a timeless classic but look pedestrian when too small for a space
  • Too-red rugs can look jarring when not in harmony with the rest of your decorating scheme

Top 3 Thing To Know When Creating a Furniture Layout For Function & Beauty

Download your Guide on the Top 3 Things You Need To Know When Creating a Furniture Layout Around The Home For Function & Beauty

What’s the solution?

  1. To avoid guessing and purchasing a rug that is too small, work out the appropriate size before you shop. For some helpful diagrams on rug layouts visit my Pinterest board, 101 great design tips, or book our Stage 1 decorating service for 1-on-1 assistance.
  2. Consider whether the colour is really going to work for you over the long term. Are you really going to change your whole decor to suit it?  Do you have furnishings that complement it already?
  3. To make an existing rug suit your new home, be open to switching the rug to a different room where it may be a better fit. You could even hang the rug on a wall as decor.
  4. If a rug is too small, you could consider boosting it by layering a larger sisal rug underneath. 


fix too small rug sisal woven rug underneath layer collected classic space

Layering a sisal rug does the trick! (source)


Important art that really doesn’t float any boat

Unless you are an investor, if you don’t find a piece of art beautiful or joyful, please don’t buy it just for its provenance. It is OKAY to have pretty art that pleases you. The artist’s fame is not relevant to you enjoying your home. (Maybe you discovered him or her first!)

Decorating mistakes:

  • “Important” art with little to no emotional connection
  • Too many art purchases that build up over time, to the detriment of a rooms’ beauty
  • Art that doesn’t fit with the interior

abstract art black console silver lamp blue cream sofa journey home interior decorating

High Quality catalogue artwork in the right size, colour and style. Custom framed for the new decor.


What’s the solution?

  1. Consider moving art to different rooms. Just because it was in the living room in your last home doesn’t mean it has to be there in your new home. Recently, I moved a client’s artwork to the powder room because the size and colours perfectly complimented it. This meant my clients could continue to enjoy something they liked and were about to say goodbye to!
  2. Remember, your home is also your very own work of art; all of the components must work together. If you have a lot of art, a gallery wall can be a great way to tie together unrelated art and decor pieces. Reframing is often necessary to create harmony.  (Example below.)
  3. There is no guarantee you will find that perfect piece of art on your travels through Europe anytime soon. And if you do, chances are it won’t be quite right when you get it home. So ONLY collect art that you love, that reminds you of your travels, that tells a story, or that has joyful meaning to you. Then see #2 above. 🙂
  4. Until you buy that one-off master, let us not dismiss catalogue art works. These days the quality is high, the framing is gorgeous, and royalties do go to the artist. My main artwork supplier supports the work of hundreds of artists and even collaborates with museums to offer enticing collections of Australian flora. . Another viable option.

interior design gallery wall collected classic interiors journey home canberra

Gallery walls are incredible for harmonizing varying styles (source). You can find more gallery wall inspiration here.

If these 3 scenarios feel familiar, I hope you feel properly equipped to handle them with classic taste and stress-free action. If they don’t sound familiar (lucky you), I hope you’ll stay on your guard or seek advise as you make purchases and bring your forever home to life.

Until then, be sure to download our Guide to Budgeting Your Furnishings and stay tuned for next week’s Plan Your Design Year post about decluttering!


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