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Decorating 101: The biggest mistake that makes decorating 54% harder (Or: “Put down the paintbrush!”)

Little-known statistic: 64 percent of decorating mistakes are made because people choose a paint color first. That’s an important statistic that I just made up to illustrate my point.

With five years of decorating mistakes behind me on this house, this is one thing I’ve learned the hard way: things go MUCH more smoothly when I choose the paint color LAST.
The biggest decorating mistake that  makes decorating SO HARD.

Here’s what usually happens to me when I start with a paint color. Has it happened to you? Tell me I’m not alone.
1. See an empty room and think: “It needs color! What has color? Paint! I’ll paint it!”
2. Think of a color I like. “Ooh! I like BLUE. How ’bout blue?”
3. Look at a bunch of paint chips for a blue option that seems pretty. Choose it. Spend $50 on paint.
4. Paint the room, still with no other decorating decisions made.
6. THEN, try to choose furniture, curtains, bedding, accessories that “go with” the paint color. Find something I like, maybe a pillow, and find that it’s CLOSE to the paint color but slightly off in a clashy way. Feel so limited by the specific paint color I chose that it’s nearly impossible to find other things to go in the room.

Then, I get stuck, or frustrated, or just give up and repaint, following the exact same process again. #DefinitionOfIinsanity

It is delightful to be married to me.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

Starting a room by choosing your paint color hopelessly limits you and makes all further decisions 78% harder*.

*We’re now up to two meaningless statistics within this one post. That’s as much as 34% higher than normal for me.

ALL of my “problem rooms” where I feel stuck and can’t make decisions have this in common: I painted before I chose everything else.
Decorating 101: the most common mistake people make that makes decorating 100% harder than it has to be
For example: my guest bedroom. I loved this paint color, so I bought some paint and covered the walls. Then I STRUGGLED to find bedding to coordinate and curtains that didn’t clash. I ended up with a room that’s okay but mostly “meh” because I felt so limited.

(Never fear, little guest room: change is a-comin’!)

I chose the blue in my living room before I’d made any other decisions, plopped the Tannosaurus sectional in it and felt limited and lost, so I bought the first rug I could find that incorporated both colors.

It looks different now than it did in that photo because I’m learning to work with the paint color better, but I could’ve saved myself a LOT of trouble by going at it a different way.

The rooms I’ve done that I like the most, like Mila’s nursery, were a totally different story. They came together a million times more smoothly, and were more fun and less stressful, because the paint color was my LAST decision instead of my first.

Same with the office.

I think it’s totally cool to have an idea of the direction you want your paint color to go – light? dark? whiteish? – but waiting until you know what else is going in the room will always help you choose the right version of that color. Ya with me?

I never would’ve chosen “Irish Lace” for Mila’s room if I didn’t already know that I’d be using this fabric, which has a slightly more saturated version of that light-light-pink color as its background.
Anna Maria Summer Totem Tart

Anna Maria Summer Totem – affiliate link

I probably would’ve chosen another white, maybe slightly yellow, that would’ve looked clashy with the fabric, and then I wouldn’t have been able to have the exact curtains that made me swoony and preggo-emotional.

And THAT would’ve been UGLY. Don’t even try to take away the fabric I love when I’m a million months pregnant and crying at the very thought of baby hairbows.

Because you know what? There are fifty four billion paint colors to choose from. But there are is a very, very LIMITED number of beautiful and affordable fabrics, rugs, pillows. It’s always easier to find a paint color to go with a fabric than the other way around. Can I get an amen to that?

There are situations which might be exceptions to this rule. If you’re going very, very neutral on the walls, the exact shade of white doesn’t matter as much.
Bright, feminine bedroom

Marlie Waks via Style at Home

Or if you plan to paint the wall a certain color and NOT have the paint color relate to anything else in the room. (Which can totally work, just know that’s the look you’re going for.)
R. Higgins Interiors
R. Higgins Interiors via Traditional Home

Or, you know, if you’re an interior designer or something.

But generally, if I plan to paint my room “a color,” I find the process is endlessly easier if I pull the paint color from my selection of Other Things.

Remember when I warned you this Decorating 101 series would be about what I’ve done wrong? Yeah: THIS. A million times. In the next Decorating 101 post, I’ll share my favorite trick for pulling a room together, so none of us have to pull out our hair and repaint our master bedrooms 46 times like I did. (Update: check it out here — The Cheater Formula to Decorating an Empty Room.)

Do you usually start with a paint color? Do you ever paint yourself in a corner?

Practical advice to avoid the one mistake that makes decorating more difficult that it has to be!

P.S.: Check out the other Decorating 101 posts right here!
P.P.S.: Ready to take the plunge? Make sure you check out these awesome painting tricks and shortcuts first!

Let's connect


  1. Julia @cuckoo4design says:

    This is exactly what I tell people all the time. I love painting last!
    And I have been so in love with that fabric since I saw it for the first time in Mila’s room. I so have to get rid of our daughter’s curtains, that’s it! 🙂

    • me too! any time anyone asks for some help they say they know they need to paint but don’t know what to do. haha. i tell them that painting is only ONE way to decorate not THE way:)!

    • I normally know what color family I want a room to be, then choose fabric, curtains, bedspread, etc., then choose paint color in the exact shade that goes with those choices. Newest project not yet complete. We shall see!

  2. I agree with this notion, but rarely follow it myself. For some reason I gravitate toward a color and latch onto it. But, like you pointed out, I may know that I want dark green, but I hold back until I assemble other items to choose the correct dark green. Sometimes following one’s instincts will lead you to the right path of decor that is personal to one’s tastes/style.

  3. Oh my goodness! I think you just saved me from myself. We’re in the process of buying a house & I’ve been dreaming of paint colors BUT I’m immediately stepping away from the paint chips! You’re so right – it’s nearly impossible to find awesome affordable curtains, so I’ll start there (and with other coordinating fabrics) & then I’ll pick my paint. Thanks for the tip! 🙂
    PS The curtain fabric for your daughter’s room is GORGEOUS!

  4. i wish you could see my first house…… not really though. because i did it all wrong and was like “oooh yes, red! turquoise, bring it on!” omg cringing.

  5. I’m still sort of mad at my kitchen for FORCING me to paint it a color that worked instead of a color I super loved. But I should probably get over that and pick the color that works more often.

  6. This is such great advice! Thank you! We’re planning on moving in the next couple of years and I’ll have to remember to WAIT to paint 🙂

  7. Tannosaurus!! Hilarious! I agree with you, I have to know a plan before I choose a paint color 🙂 xo Kristin

  8. Guilty as charged, I think I’ve always picked the paint color first. This is a good rule to live by!

  9. I am in the 64 percentile.

  10. Hi Kelly,

    Hi Kelly,

    Great post!! You’re preaching to the choir here. If you look at my dining room on my blog you’ll still see the old paint color (yellow). Painting is always the last thing on my list, mainly because I don’t have all the money in the world to pick all the furniture pieces upfront to make sure they go with the color walls I want…. I usually have a color in mind but try not to get too specific until all the furniture and accessories are in.

    emily @ Town And Country Shuffle

  11. I totally agree with you even though I haven’t practiced this myself very often!! You are so smaht.

  12. That is the best advice someone could give this gal!!! I always try to paint first and when I choose color, I always end up hating it! That could be why my house is mostly light, natural colors now. It totally makes sense! Thank you for this moment of clarity! Haha! 😉

  13. I couldn’t agree more! I made a BIG brown mistake in our great room by not following the advice you just gave here. Then I continued to add to the mistake by trying to work with the offensive color-lots of money wasted. (The story ended well though, I had the room reprinted earlier this month and now I love it.) thanks for sharing what NOT to do, I always learn so much from this type of post.

  14. I totally can relate! When we first moved in, I painted the front room aqua blue and it was a gorgeous color, but then I had to find everything to match. Ugh! Now that room is a super light greige and I lurve it, so I learned the hard way. Great post, sista 🙂

  15. ughh this is EXACTLY why my bedroom is the bane of my existence. Matt said he wanted cream walls no matter what, so I painted the darn walls cream. Then decorated around them. And redecorated at least 4 more times after that. And you know what– Matt is colorblind!! I could have just told him it was cream and he never would have known the difference, lol.

  16. OMG, you are preaching to the choir!

    I will NEVER LEARN!

  17. Oh my word! Thank you for this!!!!!!!!!! I loooooooooovvvvvvvvveeeeeeeee decorating and get “stuck” quite often with something I don’t really love. This helps me out a lot! You’re the best. Wish I could grab coffee and chat with you for hours. Next time I’m in Atlanta, maybe. 😉

  18. Those are some pretty intimidating statistics! I’m glad you warned us all! 🙂 I usually start with an inspiration price, it could be fabric, pillow, art, rug, or something that just says this is it! Sometimes it’s a color I want for the room, not always in paint form. Choosing the right color can be difficult, I am at a crossroad right now for my daughters room but sometimes you just need time and a lot of paint samples!!!


  19. this is really good advice. they forced us to pick our paint colors on the house before a lot of other choices were made. UGH. but, so far i am loving the paint colors…although…we dont have much stuff in each room yet. dangit!

  20. Even yesser! Though I’ve now started to choose an array of colors/shades that I love, and slowly build my room around them. But that happens BEFORE the walls get painted. I like to find a color that really speaks to me, then I also grab a shade lighter and darker, as well as any accent colors I might be tempted by. I try to get the biggest swatch I can, then live with them for a while before eliminating a couple and moving on to sample pots and boards. It’s easier for me this way because 99% of the time, I’m going to be using large pieces that we already own and can’t afford or don’t want to change out yet, and the new stuff needs to work with the old.

  21. Yup! Also not good: choosing a colorful rug last. So, ideally you should choose your colorful rug first, then pull colors from it for the furnishings and fabrics, then paint last! Yay! I will never make another mistake (hah)!
    We picked a pale buttery cream color for our empty living room when we got married, which isn’t quite right now. But the rest of the living room is virtually done now, so I am looking forward to repainting at last. I have been very good and patient.

  22. Sooo true! I used this method for my open-concept entry hall/living/dining/kitchen. I had a favourite set of art prints and some curtains containing similar hues. I used a paint colour deck to find the exact shade (of turquoise!) that would tie them together. It’s 4 years later and I still loooove it.
    Excellent advice! 🙂

  23. I am 100% sure that I made this mistake when I painted my dining room a deep terra cotta color and then had to find the right rug for the paint. Thank goodness the paint I’ve already bought for my next room redo is plain ol’ white.

  24. You are fabulous, and oh-so-right. I was just having this conversation with myself yesterday as I was trying to find a rug that will match my living room walls–urgh.

    (And I find your statistics to be pretty inarguable, actually. :-D)

    Excellent, entertaining post (as always!)!

  25. I’m so guilty of this! Rethinking this could help me cut down on my trademark 4 step decorating process which goes something like 1) suffer from I-hate-that-paint-color-decorating-paralysis 2) pick a color I like and repaint 3) begin to decorate the room 4) rethink the new paint color for an even better color. I’m loving your Decorating 101 series, thanks for the tips!

  26. Ugh! I make this mistake all the time…it might be why the good folks at Sherwin Williams know me on a first name basis!

  27. Great advice!! I made this mistake in the den of my first house and I was never happy with how it looked! It’s so much easier to match paint to an area rug than the other way around 🙂

  28. I totally agree! I now have my drapes pinned up in my kitchen and am planning everything out before I choose the paint. One exception I had was that I painted my playroom white before I decorated, I couldn’t stand the yellow anymore. Every room in my house was a butter cream yellow when we moved in. Great Advice. Paint last it is so much easier to choose paint around everything else! Lesley

  29. YES! I’m yelling at my computer! I made this mistake in my master bedroom. I fell in love with Benjamin Moore’s Driftscape Tan while reading a paint magazine (yes they make those lol…I’m an art teacher so paint is a touchy subject) on the flight back from our honeymoon. There was no way I wasn’t getting this color. I had the hardest time coordinating anything with it. It’s like a purply greyish tan (uh yeah). I wish I didn’t figure this out the hard way. Time to repaint in a neutral.

  30. This is so true. It’s best to start with fabric or rugs first because they have the most color. If your fabric has several colors in it then you have the color scheme for your room easy peasy.

  31. Ooooh, I’m trying so hard to avoid this mistake right now! We are mid- kitchen- reno and will need to paint soon. I have a green penny tile backsplash picked out, but hubby won’t pull the trigger until we see where the budget stands. But we have to paint. I’d love a light grey with green undertones, but if we have to go with a less expensive tile they could look awful together. So there is a good chance the kitchen walls will be white… sad face.

    • But you will get to perk it up with curtains and accessories that you can change seasonally, or monthly, that way!!

  32. SAY IT SISTAH!! Oh my god, the number of times I’ve try to tell people this!! I just gave the very same advice to (see if you can follow this) Wayne’s workmate’s daughter who came to me for some suggestions on paint colours as she wanted to redecorate her bedroom. She’s 18, enthusiastic but inexperienced as we all were at that age. I gave her the EXACT SAME ADVICE. Choose bedding or curtains you are in love with and THEN choose your paint colour to coordinate. Did she listen? Apparently not. She’d bought a ton of paint samples and is painting loads of pieces of card taped up everywhere in her room (which I advised as well). Her dad is telling her, ‘That’s not what Kimberly told you!’ but typically she isn’t listening. I suppose it’s a lesson we all have to learn eventually the hard way 😉 xxx

  33. Thanks for the reminder. I am *THIS* close to painting our office with zero other plans for it. Hold me back…

  34. Great advice! I love your daughter’s nursery, that fabric is so pretty!

  35. Amen, sister! Great post! How did we ever start choosing the paint color first anyway?

    Karen T.

  36. You are so right about this! I never realized it until now but I often box myself in by choosing paint colors first. And….although there are 50 billion paint colors out there only 2-3% of them look great in any given room. The rest not so much. Thank goodness for Pinterest. The paint colors I’ve found via Pinterest have reduced the average number of times I need to re-paint my rooms by 68% 🙂

  37. I actually love the walls colors that dont have anything to do with any other color in the room. I am sure its tricky to pull off though.

  38. SO. TRUE. I used to work at Eddie Bauer Home and people would come in with their paint chips trying to get bedding to match. If they were lucky enough to find a match, it wasn’t with the pattern they were envisioning at all.

    And I hope you cover “it looks waaaaay darker on the walls than on the swatch” next!

  39. Wow. I have gotten some great tips and ideas from your blog but this is the best. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    When I first bought my house nearly 20 years ago, adding color to the blank canvas was not as problematic as it has been as the years have moved forward and rooms have changed.

    My current palette is condiments. Yup. The living room is mustard yellow, the one bed room you can see from there is ketchup red, and the kitchen, also in view, is relish green! I am not sure the interior designer for McDondalds could have planned that. LOL.

    My bed room is my current dilemma. Without trying, it’s is red, tan with a cornflower blue carpet. Thought we are a military family, I have no intention of wrapping up in the American flag when I go to sleep. Something has to give.

    Thank you for telling me why/how I’ve created such a funhouse. Maybe I just need some wavy mirrors, instead of repainting…… 🙂

  40. Oh how I wish I would have read this advice three years ago! I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only one who has made this mistake… over and over and over again! Ha!

  41. Oh. My. You described my entire thought process this morning. As I was waking up I glanced around at my blue walls and thought, “oh no, I shouldn’t have painted! ” I have a gorgeous headboard we made and I had a vision of creams, whites, and luxury in the Hamptons type room. All in an airy blue room. Hmm. I have been having a devil of a time to find pillows of any kind to “match” my walls. I guess I’ll go find pillows I love and then repaint it. Thank you for helping me see that I’m not crazy and other people have done this. Oh, but my hubby “thanks” you too for the extra paint job to come. Can’t win them all, eh?

  42. Great post. I totally agree with you. We just moved into our 10th house, so I learned this before, though I learned it like you did…by making mistakes.


  43. Oh my gosh! I thought this was just common sense! But I am amazed at how many people don’t do it. Many of my friends who ask for decorating advice are confused as to why you wouldn’t paint first and decorate later. DUH!

  44. I made that mistake a million times myself, the worst was when i painted my living room peach back in the 80’s!! OMG!! I hated it, and had to live with it for a while before I could afford to paint it over again… Now that I’m older and wiser, and realize that I tire of or want to make changes so frequently I go with neutral colors on the walls and change out and add tons of color with everything else! I think anyone that likes to change things up as much as I do, (I change my curtains with every season/holiday, throw pillows, rugs etc…) should always go more neutral. LoL, I believe I have a problem… but I like it so I don’t care. It makes me happy to change things all the time, doesn’t hurt anyone, and now only costs a wee bit of money! 😀

  45. Nope. I choose paint last. Which is why I’ve been in this house a year now and my husband’s been here 13 months and there’s still no paint on the walls!!! Change is a comin’. Slowly but surely. (At least I keep telling myself that, which makes me feel better, as I go about sewing curtains and looking at terrible bright white walls…)

  46. Ummm, I think I do this every single time! Well, almost. I didn’t do it in my daughter’s room, because when we moved I already had everything for her room and got to pick a color based on the Other Things. Worked like a charm and I love it. But when we moved into the house, I picked the colors for the kitchen, dining room and my bedroom without thinking about what was going in it. I have struggled with my bedroom, even though I love the wall color. I just have struggled with how to decorate it. I’ve GOT to learn this lesson. 🙂

  47. I’m so glad you posted this and that I read it:) I’m going to paint my bathroom and bedrooms so now I know not to bother with the paint chips until after some things are picked out:) I also LOVE Mila’s room and curtains.

  48. Great tip, my statistically gifted friend! I’m going to try that for my next room makeover. It all makes so much sense!
    BTW, 99% of people who visit your blog are thoroughly entertained while getting inspiration and ideas. I don’t know what the other 1% are up to. 😉 Have a great weekend! xoxo, Sharon

  49. I totally agree! I always choose the paint color last and for some reason, it always ends up being white 🙂

  50. Hi Kelly…I reblogged your post. I will shoot you over an email message.

  51. I think the problem you may be running in to has nothing to with the order in which you’re choosing but the method in which you proceed. I don’t really think your paint should MATCH anything. It should coordinate with the other things you choose but it should be the backdrop on which you can build!

    That being said, it all comes down to personal preference and the way that makes sense to you. I like to choose a fairly neutral version of the color I’m hoping for that will be a nice backdrop. If the paint ends up stumping you, try and lay the chip next to four or five other things you want to use in the room.

  52. I just discovered your blog, Love it! Thanks for this post, we are looking for our next house and I’m so glad you stated not to paint first. I always do that! I already feel the freedom in choosing new decor in our new house!

  53. Amen! I’m sending all my clients to your post so maybe they’ll listen to me when I tell them this. It would save us all a lot of agony!

  54. Beautiful room — but this mom really wants to move that large framed item away from the crib. If Mila is already big enough to stand, unless it’s Gorilla-Glued to the wall, that frame could hurt her – grabbing it to try to climb, a little fist cracking the glass…… eeek, shivers. But that’s just my opinion.

  55. Haha! I so did this on a piece of furniture. I was going to sell the piece when I was done with it, so it didn’t matter so much what color to paint it. So I went to the discounted mis-tinted paint aisle and grabbed a grayish paint. Could not find a single fabric that went with it at all in any fabric store in my area–after I sanded, primed, and painted two coats on. Holding it up to anything gray made it look blue, and vice-versa! I ended up picking fabric and resanding, priming, and painting. And then fell in love with the piece and kept it anyway!

  56. Totally did this, and ended up with some then: “meh”, now: “gaaah!” blue and pink upholstery fabric on a new couch.

  57. Loved your post, love your writing style. My biggest problem is that no matter how hard I try to match a color perfectly to my target (furniture, curtains….whatever) I seem to miss the mark. I recently took an online quiz to determine how well I was able to match colors and basically stunk at it….perhaps this is the problem lol.

    • haha! I know exactly what you mean! Sometimes it helps to go lighter or darker just enough so it looks like you weren’t trying to match. 🙂

  58. I totally agree! I’ve always painted last but never intentionally, it’s just the way it happened. I didn’t have these problems. Just different ones. Like, I don’t like some paint color I chose to go with the rest of our things, but hey, it’s not super hard to change the paint.

  59. Linda Hester says:

    Couldn’t agree more. First time I painted my brand new house Avalon beige which was abeautiful color in the incandescent light in my friend’s home. In our house, with a lot of windows, north-facing, it looked almost a muddy, bubble gum pink. Hubs was NOT AMUSED. Picked a beige for my friend that I thought was going to be boring and loved it. My new house is that color, Snowy Owl by Sherwin Williams. Got all the new fabric today for a new quilt for my bedroom, btu I am gonna wait to paint until it is finished.

  60. Did the series continue? I cannot find anything after this one and it’s Dec 2013…

    • It is still continuing. I have more posts to come, but took a little break for holiday decorating. Hope you’ll stick around! 🙂

  61. I am considering a house purchase, and have very few possessions. I’ll be painting first to cover paneling and ghastly linoleum. (cross your fingers that I get the house– bidding went high for a while, and I need money for rewiring!) I have to figure that if I get stuck, I can repaint– just as I will be using what I have at first for decor- mishmash that it is. Something must go on the walls right away. And the stairs- they are crayon green. Gak. Who does that?

    This whole blog is fantastic.

  62. I seriously never would have thought to pick paint last, it’s usually one of the first things I pick out. I’ll have to give your trick a try on my next room makeover! Thank you! 🙂


  63. Yikes! That’s exactly what I did the first go round when we moved into this house. A HIDEOUS Martha Stewart green in the front room, which was a giant room, made me ill. Everything looked terrible against it and it was impossible to coordinate with anything. I also painted an accent wall in the den that supposed to be an Adobe color, ended up being a sick coral pink, and stayed that way until I could decide to remedy it with a sandy tan. But we lived with those two rooms for YEARS until I had the time and money to re-do. BIG lesson learned!

  64. Excellent advice and perfect timing as I try to pull together ideas for our new home! Thank you!

  65. YOU ARE BY FAR THE MOST HUMOROUS BLOGGER I HAVE EVER READ! I actually laugh (out loud might I add) at all of your posts! You have such wonderful ideas and my favorite one so far is this one about the paint!! You have changed my life forever!! 🙂 Katie

  66. Yup. You are absolutely right. The bathroom where I picked the paint color from the tile I loved totally works. The blue in the living room/dining room…meh. I’ll have to remember to actually do this more often.

  67. Where was this advice 43 bedroom paint shades ago??

  68. Tsu Dho Nimh says:

    Blundered into this on the web.

    There is one time when painting first makes sense. If the paint color in your new place is SO BAD* you have to leave the room, paint it the realtor’s standby off-white, “Swiss Coffee”. Then when you have all your upholstery and rugs and things picked out, you have a clean base color to put your dream color on.

    *House was previously owned by Dr. Seuss fans, house is painted Depression Blue and Pepto Bismol Pink, paint is horribly dingy and dirty.

    • Ha! Totally agree! If you’re living in a Seuss house, you may NEED the blank slate to be able to think clearly. 🙂

  69. Love your blog (found it on Pinterest)!
    What do you do when moving into a rental? Every wall is painted cold blue-gray in a satin finish! Even the ceilings are shiny. And the floors are 12″ beige ceramic tile. The lease specifies that the walls cannot be painted.
    I feel stuck in a pre-made decorating mistake!!

  70. I have always left the painting of a room until the last and when I’ve been in total doubt for a paint colour to dress the walls in; I’ve
    a) taken my favourite colour from a fabric and/or an accessory right to the paint store
    b) to have it coloured match
    c) then depending upon the intensity have had the paint either ‘half …. or three quarters cut’.
    The result has always been positive as it not only ensures a colour co-ordinate BUT one more importantly it will have the same under-tone. -Brenda-

  71. I can hear your voice in this and you are hysterical AND brilliant! Thank you for saving me from myself♡ nan

  72. Beverly Blair says:

    We are building our second new home … the first one was picking up the paint brush and painting first and of course hubby wanted all white walls … (gagging) so I changed them in a few years, but I made the mistake all but the kitchen, I picked out the curtains/table runners/platemats first and it was so much easier, so I learned then … I won’t be doing this to our second new home. I have found all the decorating items … bedspreads, curtains, towels, pillows, pictures and so forth .. now I am matching these to paint. I love it!!! Falling in love with vibrant colors that I would have not used if I hadn’t done all the shopping first. 🙂

  73. I never comment on anything but thank you so much!!! I also never connect with a site but that has changed as of now. Again, thank you!!

  74. I 100% agree with this! it’s funny because your first 2 example rooms don’t even look like they’re in the same house as your next 2 rooms! Beautiful! It’s the difference between looking like a professionally done room and one done by an amateur.

  75. Where did you get the white and mirrored night stand?

  76. This is great. It’s excellent advice and its 260% funnier than most blogs on the subject. Well done. I noticed the rooms that you were happier with had a very light neutral as well. Perhaps because you got the stuff in there and realized it didn’t need “a color” on the wall after all.

  77. This is absolutely wonderful advice!
    Thank You,
    Helen H

  78. my walls are off white new couch is sage can i go a little darker on walls

  79. Simply great tips. People really commit such mistakes while decorating and designing home with paint. Hopefully it will help them to avoid such things.

  80. I actually did okay painting first in my current house. Basically when I bought it I hated the paint colors in ever room. EVERY ROOM. And since it’s easier to paint without furniture, I painted the master bedroom, living room and dining room before I moved furniture in. The only problem spot I had was the accent wall in the dining room, because it ended up clashing with the color I decided to paint the kitchen cabinets. Repainting one wall out of three rooms isn’t too bad, but I do think I got lucky.

  81. Good post. Choosing colors based only on what you want may not actually solve the problem. Thanks for posting.

  82. I love your article. I however have come into the first room where I have had to choose my paint color first. Why because every color I have chosen has been a total crash and burn. My living room is a northern exposure room. I love this room 6 windows, fantastic large craftsmen style wood molding, when we are done remodeling we will pull up the carpets and expose the beautiful wood floors. Finding a paint color that isn’t transformed in the gray tones and total blast of washed northern natural light has had me pulling my hair out. We think we have finally figured this out. Curtains are picked out wall color picked out most of the accessories are picked out and furniture is almost completely agreed upon. Wish me luck that this isn’t a total fail since we are starting with the wall color first.

  83. Wow, beautiful room! Very luxurious! I like it! Thanks for sharing!
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  84. The white bedroom is a piece of art, the most beautiful bedroom color scheme that I ever seen, very simple and stunning. Absolutely I will do this color combination this year.


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  3. […] all my posts to memory as instructed, yes? In the last Decorating 101 post, we talked about the biggest decorating mistake: choosing paint colors first. When you’re starting with a blank slate room and don’t […]

  4. […] problem was that I didn’t have a clear vision for the room, and I made the One Major Design Mistake That Makes Decorating Harder. (Read it here. Are you guilty […]

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