Did you know most home decorators tend to “overdecorate” their homes? And it’s not surprising. Many of us tend to fill our rooms with pretty things but many times we just have too much stuff! And too much stuff does not equal a pretty room. Today let’s talk about the overdecorating dilemma and how to easily solve it.
Even if you read the first paragraph and thought, “oh, this post isn’t for me”, hold on! Because even though you may not, in general, overdecorate you probably have too much decor stuff here and there that is cramping your room’s style and hindering the rooms in your home from being the beautiful room they could be!
We all know and love a beautifully curated room like the ones we see on blogs or Pinterest or magazines that make us say, “oooooooh”! And these are also the rooms that make us wonder why we can’t decorate like that! It’s not that we can’t decorate it’s maybe we decorate with way too much stuff.
Today let’s talk about some obvious overdecorating issues and how to fix them. These tips can significantly change the look of your home! They did mine.
TOO MUCH CLUTTER
When we have too much stuff in a room it’s easy to also collect clutter! We tend to get “clutter blind” when we have lots of books decorating a table or a bookshelf, or a collection of little items on a table. Too much decor seems to attract clutter.
Many of us have an area that is supposed to be decorative but it really is a prime spot for collecting clutter!
Our foyer is an example of a place that would collect clutter! It’s the perfect dumping ground for mail and packages and coats and shoes. And there is nothing pretty about that!
THE EASY FIX FOR CLUTTER…
I keep our foyer clutter free and lightly decorated. Anything out of place can be seen immediately and I can put the clutter away. There are baskets for shoes under the bench and a vertical coat rack near the bench.
The key to clutter is to take care of it the moment you see it! Also, keep decor looking tidy and neat so it does not give cutter a place to hide.
Edit, edit, edit. And keep editing what you have. Clear away any and all clutter and choose what you put on every surface and in every space carefully.
The biggest culprits for overdecorating and clutter are the flat surfaces in your home. Be on guard so the second clutter appears on these areas it can be handled right away. The longer you let clutter go it will be a magnet for even more clutter.
You might like to see this very informative and useful post HOW TO DECLUTTER YOUR HOME IN 15 MINUTES A DAY.
And here’s THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO CLEANING AND DECLUTTERING YOUR HOME, a huge post filled with what you need to know about for a clean and organized home!
OVERDECORATING WITH TOO MUCH FURNITURE
Knowing the best furniture for a room is so important. And knowing how much furniture to put in a room is something we all need to think about.
Many of us put too much furniture in a room! Not every wall and corner of a room needs to be a home for furniture!
In reality, every room and everything in a room needs breathing space. The beauty in a room can be suffocated by too much stuff!
Every room benefits from what decorators call negative space. When bombarded with too much color and decor and stuff, our eyes get confused and read this confusion as being displeasing and disjointed. Empty space is a huge part of decorating lovely rooms.
Our eyes love beautiful things they can look at and try to make sense of what they see while taking a second to rest. And they rest on empty space.
See WHY SPACE IS IMPORTANT IN DESIGN. It is a valuable post about how to use space to add beauty to your home.
THE EASY FIX FOR TOO MUCH FURNITURE
The cure for overdecorating with too much furniture is to take out one piece of furniture in an overdecorated room. Maybe even more!
It’s also important to think about rearranging furniture to find better placement option. Furniture needs to find balance in a room for it to look attractive. Give furniture space to breath.
Our dining room in our home is quite small. It’s really more of a dining area.
When we first moved in I put a bar cart in the corner of this room.
I really wanted a bar cart in this little area. But the more I looked at the dining area the more I knew the bar cart wasn’t working. Instead of bringing beauty to this area it looked busy and was fighting the dining table which is the focal point of the room.
So I took the bar cart out of the dining area. What a difference.
Just editing furnishings and other things will make our rooms look so much nicer. Overdecorating is our natural default decorating mode. We need to be aware of how to edit that urge as well.
LESS IS BEST DECORATING is a very helpful post filled with sensible and savvy tips and ideas for decorating our homes.
ARE YOU A MAGPIE OR COPYCAT
If you love decorating you are probably a bit of a magpie or a copycat or both.
A magpie is a bird said to love pretty shiny things. It can’t resist them. A magpie loves to swoop down and collect items. Lots of them.
Like the magpie, people who love to decorate love pretty things. And are drawn to them! That’s not a bad thing until we start bringing them home.
Going to HomeGoods, for me, was like a drug when one first came to our town. Honestly! I was euphoric! There were so many pretty things all in one place.
I collected things like a Magpie in my shopping cart and brought them home. The problem was they were all pretty on their own but they did not look pretty with what I already had in my house. So I had lots of stuff in a room that didn’t always play well together.
Now, let’s talk about the copycat. This moniker was derived from the way kittens learn by copying their mothers. It’s cousin to monkey see monkey do.
A decorating copy cat sees what others are using in their homes and copies it trying to create beauty. Often the things a copy cat decorator tries to replicate are all the latest, greatest and most recent decor trends.
Being a copy cat decorator is not a bad thing unless you are tossed and turned and swayed by every breeze a new trend rides in on! We often end us with a room for outdated trendy decor.
Trends are a huge trap. I’ve been decorating for decades and nobody loves trends like I do. So how do I keep my home from looking like a mish-mosh of disjointed trendy decor?
THE EASY FIX FOR MAGPIE AND COPYCAT ROOMS
The answer is quite easy.
You need to know your decorating style. If you are true to your style you can resist the temptation of every pretty and new thing that comes down the decorating pike.
But, you really need to know your style. So many of us say we know our style but really do not have a consistent and concrete definition and knowledge of our style.
So no wonder we think every shiny thing or new trend will make our homes look amazing.
Once you have a working knowledge of your style everything you put in your home needs to work with that style and your color palette.
My home is Transitional. New and updated traditional with a tiny bit of farmhouse and French. My color palette is “BLOND”. Rich neutrals, caramels and lots of white.
Now when I go to HomeGoods I can love and look and linger amongst all the pretty things and not feel like I need to take them home. There is joy in just browsing!
And knowing my decorating style affords me the luxury of having a laser decorating eye to ferret out the things I know will work in my home and create beauty.
You might like to read HOW TO KNOW YOUR DECORATING STYLE. It will help you to know your style and avoid overdecorating.
OBSESSION WITH ONE
One style, one era, one color! One category of decor, one object in particular, one wood, one finish. ONE! When we get too focused on one decorating “thing” we often keep filling our homes with it to try to make our rooms more interesting.
An example of too much of one particular thing could be that dreaded decorating mistake of everything in the room being matchy-matchy. Or loving farmhouse style so much that there is nothing other than farmhouse decor in your home. Or being so obsessed with Mid-Century modern or 18th-century style that your home looks like a museum display.
When a home decorator is obsessed with one style, or color, or era of decor, or any one thing, oftentimes they will fill their rooms to overflowing with just that ONE thing.
The wood finishes in a room would go in this category. During my 18th century phase, I had all red wood tones in most of the rooms in my home. Very uninspiring!
Collections fit into the obsessed with one thing category too.
We overdecorate rooms like these because it is so easy to become decor blind. There is so much of the same thing that just the sheer volume of sameness does not register to our eyes so we collect even more of the same.
I know of which I speak. My obsession is baskets. I have them everywhere in my home. And I could just keep filling my rooms with more and more baskets. I have not met a basket I did not want to take home. They are pretty and textural and utilitarian. I think baskets are decor perfection!
But too much of a good things IS a bad thing when it comes to decorating.
THE EASY FIX FOR ONE THING OBSESSIONS
The cure to having too much of one thing in a room or your home is the word balance. A room should be a balance of styles, colors and objects. Beauty is found in the difference of things we curate and put into our homes.
Here’s an oversimplified decorating rule of thumb for just about decorating anything …
Sixty percent of one color in a room. Thirty percent of another and ten percent of another.
Sixty percent of New Traditional/Updated style. Thirty percent modern farmhouse style. Ten percent French Country style.
Sixty percent Transitional decor accents in a room. Thirty percent trendy decor accents in a room. Ten percent baskets in a room.
This ratio can vary. It may be 70-20-10 or something similar. But if you remember 60-30-10 it will help with all kinds of decorating.
The largest and first percentage should be the most used color in a room or primary style in a room or primary wood/metal in a room.
The second largest percentage should be the next most used color in a room or the secondary style you have chosen for a room or the next most used wood or metal you are using in a room.
The third percentage in the decorating equation should be the accent color in a room or the tiny bit of another style you want to use in a room or that little bit of wood or metal that would make your room look amazing.
Make 60-30-10 be your go-to decorating equation. It works because it is tried and true! Remember decorating is part science (or math) and art.
And the 60-30-10 rule is a good guard against overdecorating!
You might like to read how REPEATING ELEMENTS in a room makes it look more attractive.
THE TOO MANY LAYERS OVERDECORATING DILEMMA
I can tell if someone is overdecorating by how they layer decor. If I have to look through layers of stuff on a mantel or table or sofa then that is probably a room or home that is overdecorated!
Many of us try to mask our decorating insecurity by adding layer after layer of decor to our rooms. If your decorating is laden with layers you are probably overdecorating.
We often use lots of layers thinking the cumulative effect will be professional and attractive. And more times than not, more stuff does not equal pretty!
I am so guilty of this when it comes to pillows. I LOVE LOVE LOVE pillows because I love textiles. Fabric and texture make me swoon. I add tons of pillows so I can enjoy beautiful fabrics! But regardless of the reason, I’m overdecorating.
I am learning how to curb my pillow love… just a little so people can find the sofa underneath the piles of pillows!
I know my living room would look prettier if I used an edited hand when it comes to pillows.
Layering also applies to too many layers of patterns in a room. Less is best unless you are a decorating savant.
THE QUICK FIX FOR TOO MANY LAYERS
This is such an easy but quite painful fix! Stop adding so many layers!
Go for quality and beauty over quantity and stuff. This is a hard and fast rule! My decorating has gotten better over the years mostly because I follow this rule until it hurts!
If you like to layer decor and accents then layering less will feel weird and look a bit bare to you and feel like you are forgetting something. You probably are not! You are just retraining your instincts to choose the better and new thing. You are learning how not to overdecorate.
The post LESS IS BEST will really help you when it comes to overlayering decor.
You might also like 10 ELEMENTS OF A VIGNETTE to help you create beautiful vignettes without overdecorating.
Also, HOW TO STYLE A MANTEL will help you create a balanced mantel with just the right amount of decor.
THE FAKE CURATED LOOK
Have you heard the saying, “good decorating takes time”. Well, it does! But we live in a instant gratification world! We want everything quickly! Even creating a curated look.
The very meaning of curated flies in the face of quick and all at once decorating. To curate something is to painstakingly chosen what goes into a room over time. A curated room is one where every detail is developed and tried and edited in a room. And that takes time. There is no faking a truly curated look.
Most of the time I can tell when a room is decorated by an interior designer. Everything is perfectly appointed and works together. But often these rooms don’t have the personality of their owners. How sad!
That is why most of the rooms we try to decorate in a day or week or month or maybe even a year just don’t look curated.
Curated is collected. And collected over time!
We LOVE the look of beautifully curated room and often try to fake it by overdecorating. When in fact, the very nature of curation is collecting the best and editing out the rest! And this can’t be rushed.
THE FIX FOR THE FAKE CURATED LOOK
Another simple fix. Take the time to decorate a room. Don’t be tempted by shortcuts. Don’t run out and get things just to fill up space. We need to let a room evolve.
When we rush we just might end up with a room full of stuff and not a beautiful collected looking room.
Here is how my living room looked when we first moved into our Tanglewood House.
It has taken 18 month for the living room to look like this…
I’m still working on this room. Adding and editing. I can’t wait to see how it looks in another 6 months or another year.
It’s so important not to hurry the decorating process and not to overdecorate our rooms with stuff to attain a curated look.
Overdecorating is so common! And learning to fix overdecorating issues and not make them again will start you on the path to beautiful rooms in a lovely welcoming home!
So, here’s my decorating challenge for you. Go from room to room in your home and see if you can spy where you are overdecorating! Then use these overdecorating fixes to create beauty in the rooms in your home!