Friday, August 29, 2008

HGTV's Top 25 Decorating Mistakes

Today's post will most likely elicit some good discussions. Did you happen to catch this HGTV special recently? Evidently there are 25 Top Decorating Mistakes that we absolutely should not do. Oh, the horror of it all! I was holding my breath, hoping against hope, that I had not ever committed the decorating sins that I was about to behold. Can you hear the sarcasm here? OK, so I did commit a few of them....let's see if YOU are off the hook!

  1. Fake flowers and plants (I confess, I have both in my home at the moment, although not nearly as many as I used to.)
  2. Too many pillows, on the bed or sofa (yes, I'm guilty of this one too)
  3. Knick-knack overload (have plenty of these, but not as much as a granny would)
  4. Fear of color (apparently, this is not one of my problems)
  5. Ignoring windows (not a problem for me either)
  6. Pushed back furniture (don't do this for the most part, if there's room to float, I do it)
  7. Tacky couch covers (they were talking clear plastic, can you imagine? does anyone do that anymore? I never see it in the South)
  8. Frames too high (this is a pet peeve of mine too)
  9. Improper lighting (I think I have this one covered just fine)
  10. Floating rugs (nope, not a problem either)
  11. Too many colors/patterns (love color & patterns, but I think I'm under control)
  12. Furniture that doesn't fit (I think they mean oversized & too much in one room)
  13. Following fads (I have been a wee bit guilty of following some fads, but only the good ones)

  14. Everything matches (this seemed to be too much of one color in a room, everything the same color).
  15. Lack of traffic flow (not good for directing foot traffic in a room, I'm OK with this one)

  16. Uncomfortable diningroom chairs (mine are upholstered & completely comfortable)

  17. Too formal (nope, I'm not that formal in any room)
  18. Keeping something you hate (nope, I will not have anything out that I hate)

  19. Lopsided furnishings (this is balance in a room, not having too much on any one side)

  20. Outdated accessories (don't think I have too many of those, but my mother sure does)

  21. Themes (I'm not much for themes either)

  22. Undressed cables (hidden for the most part, I did just tack down the white satellite cable in our bedroom with white tacks next to the white baseboard..much better).

  23. Ignoring the foyer (oh, I love my foyer & would never ignore it)

  24. Too many family photos (have a few in the livingroom, but not overload)

  25. Toilet rugs (I gave up the contoured toilet rugs long ago, but we do have a rectangular rug in front of the toilet, that tile is entirely too cold in the winter. I do have one of those toilet seat covers, yes on all 3 me tacky, but I like them, this is not a hotel...but, I'm thinking I might take them off eventually :). Fess up...who has a toilet rug OR toilet seat cover? I want to hear from all of you! Is it a Southern thing? There are tons of them still in all the bath stores.

OK, true confession time. How many of these have YOU committed? I can tell this is gonna be a good discussion. I recently wrote about this topic over at Blissfully Domestic , the online magazine and got some really fun comments going. I'm a Decorating contributor over there and will be posting about once a week, so go and check it out, join up, and read lots of other fun stuff, not just decorating!

Speaking of HGTV, one of my blog friends here in Alabama, Layla at The Lettered Cottage is auditioning for HGTV's Design Star. Go over and vote for her here and let's help get her on the show! She's an adorable and talented girl and I'd love to see her on the show next season. If you haven't visited her blog, please do so, you will love it. Best of luck, Layla!

You'll notice my banner got a new Fall makeover too! Here's to cooler weather just around the corner.

Birmingham girls: See the note on my left sidebar. I'm going to a big neighborhood yardsale on Saturday a.m. bright and early. Just email me if you'd like to join me!

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Diane@A Picture is Worth.... said...

Uh oh...on the toilet rug thing! I didn't know til now that it was a mistake! LOL

I have a few fake plants too...I think things would look bare around here without them!

Wish I lived in B'ham! Have fun tomorrow. I look forward to seeing the report on your blog.

Brown-Eyes said...

Gulp...I'll 'fess up...l do have a rectangular rug in FRONT of each of the toilets, because those tile floors are cold...and yes, I do have 1 silk ivy and 2 silk floral pained me but I let bunches of them go a while back. ;-) Bo

Steph said...

I do have silk plants in some places around the house. I have to or my cat would eat them! He even tries the fake ones at first!
I think if you buy a good quality and keep it free of dust they are fine.
What I don't like are fake flowers that are in colors not found in nature! :)

Melissa Wertz said...

I think I have several of those violations going on right now. As for plastic coverings.. I like a table cloth on the kitchen table... and I always have a plastic sheet on it. And I cover the upholstery on my kitchen chairs with the same plastic. Just makes cleanup much better. And I can always keep a nice clean table cloth on the table.

And fake plants don't die on you. ;-) I have thought about putting some of those in my yard the next time I hear of a drought.

Twice as Nice said...

I think I did pretty good on the test. My big thing is accessories. I think I don't have enough to dress up the space. I can never seem to find enough things that I love or how to put them all together without looking cluttered.
I'm not a fan of toilet seat covers. With 3 bathrooms and kids I see how scummy those toilets get. I would have to wash the cover just about daily. I think they would be a breeding ground for bacteria. I could never figure out what purpose they served. But that is my personal choice.
Great blog today Rhoda--as usual. Wish I could go to the yard sale with ya. The ones around here aren't so good but Twin and I keep trying!

The Tomball Three said...

I left my beautiful condo in Dallas to move to Houston to marry the most wonderful and CUTE man! I moved here, I married him ... and he already had a house. It was like moving into a dorm room. He had a Texas A&M flag PUSHPINED over his bed and his bed was black laquer with mirrors all over it. YES. I finally wrestled the bed away from him, he took down the flag and even painted for me. He has given the entire house over to me ... but I CAN NOT get those stupid bathroom rugs and toilet seat covers away from him. His mama must have engrained them into his head in the 70's ... pray for me.

Jen r. said...

I have a ton of fake flowers.. who can have real dirt with little hands around? I also have a rectangular rug in front of the potty.. who wants cold feet? ;) I am glad to see you are a contributor on DB. I am too... :) Jen R

paintergal said...

Undressed cables? 'Fraid I do have some nekkid cables.
Floating rugs? Not sure what those are!
I don't care for the toilet seat covers. I can't imagine one staying very clean. Ewww.

Scooterblu's Whimsy said...

Opps...send the HGTV decor police, cause I am committed quite a few of their boo~boos. At least 4-5! :) Number one is my worst offense! Oh well! LOL! ~Rhonda

ursula said...

Okay, no toilet covers/rugs here, but how do we do without fake flowers/plants? I can't afford fresh flowers everyday, and I need to fill those urns and baskets!

sandra/tx said...

Hmmm... I don't have toilet seat covers, but your post makes me want to buy some just to be a rebel! LOL

paperjunk-lc said...

I've committed a couple of those no no's. I have a few silk plants. I kill everything else. I'm sure I'm too matchy sometimes.
I have bath mats but have never had toilet seat cover.
So c'mon Miss. Rhoda get with it and purge those toilet seat covers!!!

Jennifer said...

I used to have a toilet rug (tiled bathroom over garage, it was either ugly rug or freeze on the pot) but I have no idea where it is now. I didn't intentionally remove it but I really don't know what happened to it!

I do have a few fake plants. No unnatural colors like hot pink, though.

My husband is over 6 ft tall and he insists on hanging stuff at his eye level, which is too danged high for the rest of the world.

Ally0005 said...

I have got rid of most of my fake flowers still have two , one on my dining room table (well right there are toys on it) and one in my entry way. I have no idea what I would replace them with.
I love the pillows on my bed I have a lot.
I still would like to know the best way to hide the cables. In my family room to have a light on one side of the room the cord had to be run from the TV cross in front of an end table then under the sofa. I have pillows in front of the end table to hide them, I couldn’t think of any other way to hide them. My office/Scrap room is another story, there are too many cords.

I have lot of photo’s, I have a round table in my family room that holds most of my photo’s .I do have a few here and there in other room. I love photos.
I gave up toilet rugs long ago after I came back from a trip from CA and seeing model homes out there, I wouldn’t even think about putting one down. I don’t have toilet seat covers either.

Sher's Creative Expressions said...

Rhoda, love your new banner.

Ummm, I have a toilet seat cover on all my toilets. It's not a southern thing ~ I'm a northern gal. I think it looks nice :) BUT what bugs me is when people/visitors use my bathroom and leave the lid UP. CLOSE the LID people ~ that's what the program should have mentioned :)



Anonymous said...

The problem with this list is that those that commit these sins don't recognize themselves!

nancy said...

My Big Mistake is never getting
finished, takes me a long time
to get a room done.
For the B'ham Girls, Garden Ridge
is now open in Irondale. Go
check it out.

Anonymous said...

I'm from Jacksonville, FL and I have 3 (eek!) toilet rugs.

Anonymous said...


I forgot to compliment your new banner. I noticed it the second I saw it. Nice job! Your blog always looks good!

This is fun. I'm not guilty of many of the sins, but I come close in some areas. The fake plants are compliments of my stager who insisted I use them for show purposes. I also started to worry that the living room with the fifteen million shells was looking a bit theme-parkish. I had the shells primarily in one or two areas, and they ended up being scattered about the room along with every copy of "Coastal Living" I own. ;-)

I love color, (I prefer it in my fabrics for the most part), and I love Mario Buatta and Keith Irvine. Need I say more? I also love the late Mr. Banks-Pye. These decorators are not known for a decluttered look, favoring the English style of layers. That includes layers of pattern in some cases.

Many times I think that HGTV tends to want everything to look like a hotel room or hotel lobby. But I do understand about too much of some things. People (me included) can get carried away! There are just so many wonderful shiny objects out there!

The thing I tend to fixate on is art, and I collect paintings. In one house, I did a gallery effect up the staircase, and that worked very well. The rest of the house was very balanced. I like balance, whether it's asymmetrical or not, but I have to agree with something that Bunny Williams said to a girl who had asked her to do her appartment in NYC after someone had come in and moved her sofa into the middle of the room (not that I don't think that looks good in the right setting). She looked at the girl and said, "What on earth is this sofa doing here?" The girl said the previous decorator had done it. To which Ms. Williams replied, "We'll it needs to be moved because it makes no sense." I rest my case. If it makes you happy and makes sense for you, if your heart sings when you come in your house and makes you and your family feel warm and fuzzy, go for it!

Sheila (The Quintessential Magpie)

Deserae said...

Nope, no rugs in front of the toilets! I don't think I have broken but a couple of the "rules" but I honestly don't care!LOL....Afterall design is nothing more than opinions when you really think about it............

Gollum said...

I've violated every rule, except the toilet bowl rug--although, once upon a time, I used to have one in every bath. I keep meaning to buy a fabric cord cover and then use it as a template to make others. Wish I lived closer, or I'd join you tomorrow morning.I wanted to ask if you'd ever blogged about Majolica? I love your collection so much.

Pattie T. said...

A couple of silk flower arrangements make me guilty of one decorating fauz paux, but that's about it. Really though, how can one affordably have lovely flower arrangements in the winter without breaking the bank? Did HGTV offer some alternative?

The Berry's Patch said...

Guilty as charged! Love fake plants and flowers, way too many pillows, and tons of accessories during the holidays. Most of the others I'm not guilty of. Especially the foyer...that it the first place I decorate. It's the first impression. Loved this post Rhoda!

Buzzings of a Queen Bee! said...

The only one I really disagree on is the too many family photos. I agree that they should not be on every single wall, but if you have them strategically placed, or grouped all together, I think it works. After all, it's YOUR family that lives in the house, right?

Mary said...

I still like my silk flowers, and I have way too many accessories. On the other hand, a lot of rooms on HGTV seem to have a sort of generic designed- to- sell stamp on them. I'm not sure I want to follow their advice. :)

Great post, Rhoda. Lots to think about!

Meghan said...

Here's my dilemma...frames too high.
I hang them at my eye level & my husbands.
I am 6ft tall, he is 6'2", so is this too high?
My mom, 5'9" says yes. who determine's the height?

nikkicrumpet said...

Guilty on some fake flowers, too many bed pillows, and since my family all live so far away...I know I'm not only breaking that rule...I AM PULVERIZING IT! And I don't even care. Let's just see how those rule makers would do if their families were thousands of miles away! I love looking at the faces of the people I love everyday..and the only way I can is with pictures. And no toilet rugs...accept the a sqare one in front...I would think that's alot better than the huggy ones that wrap the toilet.

Anonymous said...

Hi Rhoda,

Rules are meant to be broken right ??....I say find what you love and use it, after all it's your home and you have to live there. So create the space that YOU love and the heck with some ideahead over at HGTV, if he/she didn't come up with that list they'd be alot of people without jobs.

Nice post,

SASSY said...

Great post, and I'm afraid that I have broken a rule, or two. I have a few silk plants thrown in the mix, but only 2 or 3 in the whole house. Do topiary's count?

Definitely have been accused of having too many pillows on my couch - it was pretty, but uncomfortable.

I also have some nekkid cables - gotta cover those soon!

Sue said...

Well, I tried doing the no fake flower thing but a few have crept back in and I'm predicting several more will during the holiday seasons including a couple fake Christmas trees. LOL
I think themes are great. Who wouldn't like Ruth Ann's pie themed kitchen, Penny's new rooster kitchen, Suzi Q's...well a lot of our rabbits, Fifi's crowns? They add personality to a home, in my humble opinion anyway.
Love your table vignette.
Thanks for the fun post.

Jenny said...

Well I did pretty good except for fake plants and the rug in front of the toilet. Sorry but the floor's just too cold not to have something there. Those designers must live in model homes where no one uses the bathroom.

And I used to have real plants. Until we got a cat that eats them. Even the toxic kind. So it was either the cat or the plants and away went the plants. And I've since discovered that I like the fake ones. They make some really nice ones now. They don't need water and they always look nice. And the cats only chew on them sometimes.


Pennies In My Pocket said...

Who me??? I've never committed a crime such as these! hahaha

Oh and I just threw ALL my fake trees in the garage for the next garage sale...I hate fake trees! Time to get some real ones...I just hate the little nats that come with them! lol

I love that show!


joan said...

Oh I seen that show and admit I am guilty of a few of these. I did have too many family photos but have cut back on them and plan on getting one of those digital frames soon. I'm hoping my family gets all of my hints about one for Christmas. LOL Have a wonderful holiday weekend Rhoda!

joan said...

I forgot to tell you that I love your banner. You will have to tell us how you made it.

Layla said...

Sending LOTS of hugs your way today, are TOO sweet for mentioning my quest to be HGTV's next "Design Star" on your blog. I appreciate your thoughtfulness SO much. :-)

The Lettered Cottage

PS...I want to invite you to come on over this weekend to see the first ever "Lettered Olive" post on my blog. I will be launching within the next couple of excited! :-)

The Decorated House said...

I missed that show, but of course I've never done any of those things.
OK...maybe once, but we can all be reformed from those toilet rugs. Maybe they did get started from cold winter floors.
Funny stuff when you see the entire list in someone's house though. :)
Have a good weekend, Donna

Terri and Bob said...

Hmmm I may be guilty of several of these... I have to say, I love my fake green plants. I cannot grow them well and this gives me the feeling of freshness that plants always add to a room.

I too have a rectangular rug in front of the toilet. It is there for the cat to skid on, or so he thinks.

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Hi all! It was fun reading all of your comments. I hope you know that I posted this with tongue firmly in cheek. We all have to live in our homes & not just follow rules for rules sake. I ceratainly break the 'rules' a lot of the time! It is fun to see a show like this though, just to see what they highlight as "wrong".

And here's to rugs in front of the more cold toes! That one is stayin' for sure.

I hear you all on the fake plants. I've removed some of mine, but still have quite a few left. I'm trying to get more live ones in here, since I enjoy those so much too.

Happy Weekend ya'll!

aunties said...

Yikes... I guess I am an offender of a few, but over all did pretty good. I do have 4 toliet covers! No contoured rugs though, but I am with Rhonda, the tile gets a little chilly and we have rectangle rug in two of them, and then a large rug in front of the vanity's of the other two. A few silk plants here and there, and 1 beautiful silk floral Maybe a few too many pillows...
With 10 grandchildren, I try but might be abusing the one of too many family pictures...their felings are worth it when they visit though.
Oh what the heck, its our HOME and that is what I try to create.

Shelia said...

Me? Quilty of making decorating errors? You betcha! I did see that show and held my breath each time the next number came up. I love your blog and I really feel honored you'd come to see me.
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

Kristi said...

OK, I have a tad bit of a fear of color. But I'm trying to rectify this by pulling different colors into each room. It gets a little boring with mainly only 2 colors.

Pushed back furniture is a hard one for me. I tried to fix this in our family room, but one of the chairs (a chair an a half would not fit, and no it is not too big for the room in general). I have daydreamed about how maybe I could change around some furniture from the living room.

As for themes, the kids bathroom had a theme when we first moved in. It was fish. Tropical fish wallpaper and a different print of fish on the shower curtain. I'm thinking of changing it a bit to a more subtle beachy feel. Get rid of wallpaper, get a vertical striped shower curtain with blues, greens and sand colors. Not sure on wall color. Not go too crazy with accessories. I should probably redo the window treatment too. I've been wanting to do a roman shade.

Back to the furniture placement. I don't think you've covered this topic and I don't know if anyone already asked this question but could you please, please with sugar on top do a post on this sometime?

Kristi said...

OH! And I LOVE your banner. Noticed it first thing.

Anonymous said...

No toilet rugs for me. Can't do much about traffic flow. Live in a small space so there is only one way to arrange furniture. Praying for a bigger house soon!

Lorilee said...

I have never seen a toilet in a house without a lid cover! (I do wash mine frequetly)! Also, I didn't use one in my boys' bathroom when they were first learning! I have a few fake ivys in place I wouldn't dare try to keep a live plant for fear of water damage!

sheila said...

oh my word...HGTV now has become the style equivalent of Stacey & Clinton on that show What Not To Wear...

I showed them by keeping my sweaters with stuff knit on them...

and now I'm going to buy a fake plant tomorrow :)

'cause I'm a rebel like that, LOL!

Wanita said...

Oh, I think I'm a bit of a rebel,too, a northern rebel with toilet seat covers, no toilet rugs, though. Yes, I have some fake greenery, and probably more family photos than HGTV thinks I should have. But HGTV people don't live in my house, so I don't have to worry about their rules!

Wish I lived closer. I'd love to go with you to some sales. Have fun!

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

I saw this episode when it was on a month or two ago. I thought it was so funny that I have done so many of these "mistakes" (including the top few!) but people love my house.

I have a couple people I'm sending this post to. They will get a chuckle or two.

Melissa Lewis - Off The Wall said...

These are so great, thanks for sharing! We can always use more tips!


Yes I did notice your new banner and love it ! I confess, I have a cover on my toilet lid and keep the lid down and I love it...I have 2 fake plants and I have a theme on my mantle for the holidays, and a few more if I could remember the list..Oh's my home and I can decorate it My Way...! Who are "THEY" anyway and who said "THEY" are right??
Deb :)

laurie said...

I did see this show, and what I found amazing is that I have seen designers do most of these "mistakes" on shows on HGTV!
I tried to not beat myself up about having some fake plants; way too much clutter; and way to many family photos. I am proud to say that I have never had a toilet seat cover or a toilet rug, but I do have rectangular rugs in my bathrooms. So...maybe...if I don't have toilet seat covers or rugs or plastic on my furniture, I can have a few silk plants and way too much clutter, and a million pix of my grandbabies! Laurie, a/k/a bargainhunr

DebraK from ~the Bunnies Bungalow~ said...

On my... guess I'm guilty of a few, mostly the fake plants, but I really think they're best for softening a space.....I guess I'm going to have to start weeding them out....
If you have small rooms you can't very well pull the furniture into the center of the room & I have small rooms.
This is a great article but honestly you put what you like in your home, right? By darn, if I want 30 pillows then I'll have 30 pillows. LOL
Hugs, DebraK

Lisa said...

I have a gorgeous ocean blue contour rug, toilet seat cover AND large bath mat. I love them. I live in MN, there is no way I want my little toesies on that cold floor in the winter!


Shay said...

I am guilty of a few...fake plants, toilet covers, rectangle rugs in front of the toilet. Who came up with those rules anyway?

Liz said...

Hi Rhoda
I am guilty of more than one or two of those "don'ts" : (
I just can't imagine a home without fake plants.... how do they expect you to do that?!

Sometimes I think I over decorate as well. It is hard to know when to say enough!

All good info though... I have to re-think a few things... : )

PS. Come over for Charm School Saturday. I'm having a little give away this weekend....

Liz said...

Hi Rhoda!
Thanks for posting your comment
Your name is in the pot! Good Luck!

sarah @ a beach cottage said...

well, I enjoyed reading through everyone's comments, a great post Rhoda, in fact I think I'm gonna go through the list and answer the questions myself...I don't think I'm guilty of too many but I am just about to add a rug to the bathroom in the makeover, I so don't agree with that one, who wants cold feet?

I'm interested in the pushed back to the walls thing with the furniture, I think I do that and might have a little move around of the sitting room this afternoon to combat it

happy days


sarah @ a beach cottage said...

p.s. forgot to say the banner is great

looking out for you on Blissfully Domestic


Mary said...

Rhoda, We need to see today's yard sale goodies!!!

Bobbie said...

I have a rectangle rug in front of toliet too- it just makes it a little cozy-

Susan said...

And yes, I have the contoured toilet rug and a rectangular rug in front of the shower/tub. We are transplanted Texans now living in CO...snow, winter, 'nuff said. We love it but I refused not to have rugs on bathroom floors.

I'd LOVE to get rid of my carpet and put down wood floors...but we rent. And again, there is that CO winter, cold floors bit.

Yeah, the den furniture is unbalanced, but with the shape of the room...not much choice. Plus we have 2 large and one xtra large dog crates in here so....not much choice there. I'd like to make each of them a nice bed to sleep on, but the crates are their 'caves' and sometimes they need the security...otherwise, during that thunderstorm you ARE going to see the 60 lb male cattle dog try to cram his body under the end table...or up in my lap.

Dena ~ swaddlecottage said...

Oh Rhoda,

I am in serious trouble...toilet rugs, faux floral arrangements...lots of patterns...gulp. I may need to do a little work over here. Sigh...but I'm not getting rid of my granny clutter! Well maybe not all of it anyway.


Jillian, Inc. said...

Oh gosh, I plop down and prop up fake greenery at the drop of a hat. And pillows...oh my word, they are the best for adding color, texture, filling space and cozying things up.

"Maggie" said...

What a fun list, especially the toilet rug and so far I don't have too many pillows but was thinking of buying more?

I loved the granite on your old kitchen counter top makeover. We are currently considering a full granite counter but know it will cost more than we want to put in our current home. Did you enjoy the tiled granite and was it hard to keep the grouting clean? We also have the problem of an angled corner which complicates things.

ceekay said...

We watched that show and was shocked at some of them, and yes, I still have toilet rugs. Come on HGTV, this is real life out here. They are nice and CLEAN! And guess what??? I am keepin' em! And the floating rugs??? I don't have any, but I have seen designers themselves on TV do it!! But I am still a loyal watcher. Other than that...I am not admitting to anything! When the decorating police come...someone bail me out ok??? Hope you are having a good weekend.

Beverly said...

Not guilty. No toilet rugs or seat covers here.

kari and kijsa said...

Happy Labor Day! Thank you for all your prayers and encouragement!

kari & kijsa

Cote de Texas said...

GREAT ARTICLE!!!! love this. you need to get rid of your toilet seat cover and get a gorgeous dark wood cover. now THOSE are beautiful! I want those soooo bad.

thanks for your comments. you are always so sweet!


Janet said...

Didn't you just love the DRAMA of the show ( which I had seen before)? And who are these so called experts?? However, I have never known anyone who had toilet rugs or toilet covers. I guess we just like our feet cold up here in the North, lol!

Julie said...

Okay - I am pretty good..even though I still have way too many knick-knacks...but I have a good excuse - most are things that have been collected by my Grandmother, then handed down to my Mother and now to me... Is it okay if my knick-knacks are valuable though? ha ha...