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The 14 most common decorating mistakes that first-time homeowners make

Homeowners share their biggest first-time decorating regrets.

Many of us took advantage of their extra free time at home to redecorate, with some being more successful than others. But what are the biggest decorating mistakes made in lockdown?

BIGGEST DECORATING MISTAKES

Now the housing market has reopened, first-time buyers may be looking to secure their first home and make improvements themselves. In light of this, MyJobQuote have provided their best decorating tips and advice on avoiding first-timer pitfalls. Here, 1,757 British homeowners shed light on their biggest first-time decorating mistakes.

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1. FOREGOING PLANNING PERMISSION

In first place, with 84% admitting to it, was carrying out work before planning – a potentially expensive mistake to make. If you’re considering building your home from scratch or making a major alteration, you’ll need to secure all the relevant consents.

Planning permission can sometimes be tricky to navigate. But taking time to research what kind of consents you’re likely to need and submitting a thoughtful and considered application will result in a smooth-running process.

(Image credit: Jonathan Gooch)

2. USING INCORRECT EQUIPMENT

In second place, 82% state they didn’t know which tools to use, which primers are best and more. If you don't have the right tools and equipment for the project, it is best to leave it to the professionals. You'll thank yourself later.

biggest decorating mistakes

(Image credit: Carolyn Barber)

3. OVERCROWDING THE ROOM

In third place was overcrowding the room. Three quarters (75%) wanted to fill the room with as much of their personalities as possible, but in doing so making it too busy. Remember, less is more when it comes to accessories and furniture. Avoid buying a uniform furniture set as it can make your space look too much like a showroom.

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4. NEGLECTING OPTIMAL LIGHTING

Never underestimate the power of a good lighting scheme to transform an ordinary space into something truly spectacular. Interior schemes can be greatly enhanced with the right lighting. The key is to create a layered scheme, which allows statement lighting to shine, but not dominate a space with flat light.

biggest decorating mistakes

(Image credit: Paul Raeside)

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5. SPENDING TOO MUCH ON NEW FURNITURE

While investing money in statement, long-lasting furniture is always a good idea, if you are on a budget, it is best not to blow it all on furniture before you have created the perfect canvas. Focus on creating a good lighting scheme and optimal flooring first. The furniture can come later.

6. FOCUSING ON COSMETICS OVER FUNCTION

Start planning your room by considering storage, flooring and lighting first. I often follow this with a the perfect window treatment,and paint or wallpaper. It is important to get the bare bones of your space just right, then you can look to the cosmetics.

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7. LEAVING THE ROOM TOO BARE

Over the last few years, we have been led to believe that white walls are the only way to go. A plain and neutral base can indeed be a good starting point from which to build a decorating scheme, but if you ignore the spectrum of colours and patterns available in paint and wallpaper, you could be missing out.

Many brands now produce both wallpaper and paint, so tricky decisions are often already made for you when it comes to creating perfectly coordinated combinations. Be brave and find colours and looks that work for you.

biggest decorating mistakes

8. PAINTING OR WALLPAPERING WITHOUT PRIMING SURFACES

Beautiful wallpaper and high-quality paint deserve to be layered on a smooth, primed surface. Primer is always a good idea, but you will need to follow the directions on the wallpaper roll or paint tin, as it varies.

biggest decorating mistakes

(Image credit: Paul Raeside)

9. DECORATING OVER ISSUES

As much as we liked to ignore a problem with the hope it will just disappear, chances are this is never the case. If your space is suffering problems, be it damp, mould, cracks or worse, it is always recommended to address these issues first before the decorating begins. You'll be glad you did.

10. ADDING TOO MANY THEMED AREAS

While themed rooms can be considered fun and characterful, they can become outdated and tiresome incredibly quickly. Unless you live by the sea, perhaps it's best to reconsider the coastal-themed living room.

biggest decorating mistakes

(Image credit: Brent Darby)

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11. ATTEMPTING DIY PROJECTS THAT ARE NOT ACHIEVABLE

Optimism is a wonderful thing, especially when it works out. In this instance you should seek the expertise and advice of a qualified interior designer or architect, depending on the project. They'll be able to advise you on the best way to proceed. Even with lockdown, many are taking on virtual projects, so you'll never be without a helping hand.Whether you are buying or building a new house, planning a major structural change or renovating your existing space, an interior designer will help to bring your ideas to life.

(Image credit: Alun Callender)

12. TRYING TO CUT COSTS

The saying, 'buy cheap, but twice' ring true here. Parting with our hard-earned money is so often emotional rather than logical; we get seduced by low prices, online deals, and passing trends. If you can't wait for that prized piece of furniture, be sureto check trusty second-hand store for some unique pieces – second-hand stores can hold some spectacular bargains on high-quality vintage furniture and accessories.

13. BUYING BEFORE MEASURING

Measure everything, and then measure it again. You'd be surprised by how often we hear this common mistake. If in doubt, call in the professionals.

14. ADDING TOO MUCH COLOUR

Fortunately, the decorating mistake that fooled the fewest first-timer decorators was adding too much colour. Only 28% were too bold with their colour schemes and 72% managed to avoid this decorating mistake. While colour is a wonderful way to add personality to a room, it is also the thing that we are changing the most. Colour should be a considered decision, not a rushed one.

*Survey of 1,757 British homeowners across a range of ages and locations was conducted between 01/06/20 – 15/06/20.