Decorating No No's - Don't Try This At Home

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Real Estate Centre Inc., Brokerage

I watched a great special on HGTV called the  25 Biggest Decorating MistakesAll of these items are important to note on a day to day basis but some really stood out to me as extremely important when you are putting your house on the market to sell. 

I've highlighted the items that I feel are imperative to remember when preparing your home for sale. I've added my own comments in parenthesis.

25. Contour toilet rugs - ( or toilet lid covers)   HGTV, Decorating no no's, Jenny Kotulak, Oakville real estate

24. Too many photos displayed ( depersonalize, keep the buyer focussed on the big stuff)

23. Ignoring your entry way/foyer (first impressions are important)

22. Exposed cables-of the media variety

21. Out of place, themed rooms (a Bali bedroom in Alaska would be a no-no)

20. Outdated hardware and accessories

19. Lop-sided furniture arrangements

18. Keeping something you hate

17. Too formal décor (spaces shouldn't be uninviting ‘museum rooms')

16. Uncomfortable dining chairs

15. Lack of a traffic pattern through rooms

14. Making everything matchy-matchy

13. Following ‘fads'

12. Furniture that's too big for a room, making it cramped (or too much furniture for the room)                                                                                        

11. Too many colors or patterns in a room (harsh colours and wallpaper are a no no)

10. ‘Floating' area rugs (the front feet of the furniture arranged around the area rug should be placed on the rug to anchor it)

9. Improper lighting (clean your light fixtures, replace all bulbs)

8. Artwork hung too high (I see this way too much - remove the large wedding portraits also)

7. Tacky couch covers

6. Up-against-the-wall furniture arrangements (make cosy seating arrangements)

5. Ignoring window treatments

4. Fear of color

3. Knick-knack overload (decutter, declutter, declutter)

2. Too many pillows on sleeping or sitting surfaces ( Actually when selling, pillows can be a great accessory adding color and texture)

1. Fake flowers - ( Always have fresh flowers on view while your house is on the market)

I think the decorators who did this piece for HGTV did a pretty good job with this list.  These are good reminders as some people get stuck and don't think about changing up their decor.

The look of your home's interior can be tweaked very easily and with little or no money. 

Spring is here and it's a great excuse to rid your home of the winter blues.

Photo source:

Comments (18)

Tamra Lee Ulmer
Arizona Resource Realty - Payson, AZ
NRBA ~FORCE~ Over 1000 REO Assets SOLD!

I agree that you want a house to look inviting and professional, but not too formal to where it feels like you are entering a museum with an air that does not entice buyers to feel comfortable there!

Apr 27, 2010 01:43 PM
Jo-Anne Smith
Oakville, ON

Hi Jenny,

Excellent list....some of these things I'm guilty of myself. We moved in January and even though this house is bigger than our last, there doesn't seem to be enough room for all of our furniture and 'stuff', so out it goes!


Apr 27, 2010 01:43 PM
Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

My home is the ultimate DON'T.  Though if I had the toliet seat and rug in your photo at least I could laugh at myself :-)

Apr 27, 2010 01:44 PM
Monika Depalo
REAL ESTATE Agent/Stager

The HGTV no-no's must be a regular show--I saw a past one and it was quite educational and some were worth chuckling about.

Yours was cute and the photo was a sure way to lose a buyer unless they love rabbits!

Apr 27, 2010 01:58 PM
Kathy Clulow
RE/MAX All-Stars Realty Inc. Brokerage - Uxbridge, ON
Trusted For Experience - Respected For Results

Jenny - LOL - where or where did you find the potty picture ..... one of my grandkids had a buuny that had to be carted everywhere ..... its a good thing it wasn't like your potty bunny

Apr 27, 2010 03:21 PM
Terry Chenier
Homelife Glenayre Realty - Mission, BC


I agree with everything on the list. Canyou say S-T-A-G-E-R?

Apr 27, 2010 05:20 PM
Jim Hale
Eugene Oregon's Best Home Search Website

Speaking of rabbits...

So much to do, so little time.

Apr 27, 2010 05:50 PM
Dan Tabit
Keller Williams Bellevue - Sammamish, WA

Hi Jenny, Good list and cute picture.  Was it in the article on HGTV or one of yours?

Apr 27, 2010 05:59 PM
Toronto, ON

Hi Jenny - Fantastic list but I like the bunny rabbit even more.  Are you planning to redecorate your washroom in the same fashion? :)

Apr 27, 2010 10:19 PM
Toronto, ON

Hi Jenny - Fantastic list but I like the bunny rabbit even more.  Are you planning to redecorate your washroom in the same fashion? :)

Apr 27, 2010 10:25 PM
Toronto, ON

Jenny - I was surprised that my duplicate comment actually appeared.  I had the usual posting problems earlier on your post but the 5:19 comment appeared here so I went on with my commenting day.  I went to check my points and found that the second comment (5:25) had posted 6 minutes later even though I was long gone from this post.  Oh well.

Apr 27, 2010 10:30 PM
Brian Madigan
RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto) - Toronto, ON
LL.B., Broker



This is a good list. The value is also to provide a list like this to prospective vendors before they will be personally offended by any of the comments as too close to home.


Apr 28, 2010 12:01 AM
Jenny Kotulak
RE/MAX Real Estate Centre Inc., Brokerage - Oakville, ON
Broker - Oakville Ontario Real Estate

Hi Tamra, I've seen homes with the plastic still on the couches and the lampshades.  Not too inviting.  And then there is the furniture with the sheets on top so the pets don't get it dirty.  Not great for showing houses.

Hi Jo, I thought the stuff was supposed to "go" before it made it to the next house lol.  I've just started to clean out our crawlspace.  One side is done but my aching back needs a break.  Of course we do have seats from my son's van down there for me to sit on?????

Hi Cindy, while the toilet apparel probably won't help to sell a house it might help a child enjoy toilet training???

Hi Monika - I wonder if this is a 25 point checklist we should use when we go to take a listing?


Apr 28, 2010 03:19 AM
Jenny Kotulak
RE/MAX Real Estate Centre Inc., Brokerage - Oakville, ON
Broker - Oakville Ontario Real Estate

Hi Kathy - I found it on   Who knew?

Hi Terry - and in extreme cases you need a D-U-M-P-S-T-E-R.  I think most of us have a tendancy to be pack rats.

Hi Jim - Scamper on then, but thanks for stopping by for a nibble.

Hi Dan - I didn't know what to use as a photo so I ended up finding this one on

Hi Marc, Marc & Marc - I hate to admit but in the late 80's I had a duck theme going on in my kitchen and bathrooms.  Can you say wallpaper border?  It's been many years since wallpaper has graced the walls of my homes but it is making a big comeback due to the great textures.

Yes some strange things are happening, I guess with the new servers coming onboard.  None of the comments I received yesterday were forwarded to my email.

Hi Brian - First of all good luck with the upcoming RECO election.  I think you make a good point.  Perhaps I should forward this post to all potential sellers.

Apr 28, 2010 03:27 AM
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
Red Rock Real Estate Brokered by Real - St. George, UT
St. George Utah Area Residential Sales Agent

Jenny, I have to say the *PROXY* errors are not a thing of the past! I commented and it disappeared...I was trying to say that if I did everything on the list, my house would look so beautiful that I'd probably change my mind about selling my home. I love HGTV, they have some great home ideas!

Apr 28, 2010 02:31 PM
Ty Lacroix
Envelope Real Estate Brokerage Inc - London, ON

Jenny, I can see not having plastic flowers in the interior of the house but yesterday I saw plastic tulips and daffodils on the front lawn! The seller cannot understand why we did not want to see the interior or any more of the house.


May 04, 2010 04:28 AM
Heather Cook
Beyond the Stage Homes - Kitchener, ON
Delivering beautifully staged spaces

I agree with most of these suggestions and think they covered most of the essential 'must not do' things. The only thing I disagree with is the fresh flowers - they are costly to keep up and most people forget to refresh them. Instead I always recommend an easy table centerpiece which includes (especially in the kitchen) scented coffee beans, a pillar candle, high quality faux florals such as forsythia - all in a tall glass vessel. This can easily be put on, and taken off the table and it looks and smells great all the time. Refresh the coffee beans after a heavy cooking session as they cleanse the air. No need to keep buying $25 flower bouquets - just invest in these elements and you have it made!

Mar 30, 2012 09:38 AM