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boomerang pillow nursing pillow on bed with striped pillows

Your 10 Biggest Bedroom Decorating Mistakes Revealed

We need to talk, gang. We need to talk openly and honestly. We specifically need to address your bedroom decorating mistakes.

And look, these mistakes we’ve all made from time to time. I’ve been there, I’ve done that, I’ve got the t-shirt to prove it. It’s a bed shirt covered in feline fur because my cat refuses to sleep anywhere but my bed while I’m in it. That’s its own bedroom mistake and something best left for another day. I need to workshop that issue alone with my therapist.

Now, let’s just have an open mind going into this. People can get so precious when I point out their mistakes. But hey, in my defence, people pay me to come into their homes and improve them. They ask me what they’re doing wrong, and they know I’ll tell them the truth. At least you’re getting this hints and tips for free right?

Honestly though, in years gone by I’ve been guilty of these too. So I’d really love to know out of the 10, what your score is. How many of these bedroom decorating mistakes have you made? Comment in the comments section below once you’re done reading. The lower the number, the better you’ve done.

I hope nobody gets a 10 out of 10. That’s going to get very awkward.

Bedroom decorating mistakes bonus shown above: Boomerang pillows. There is no excuse for these. None. If you do own one, it should at the very least be put away in a cupboard where nobody can see it. And ideally where you won’t be able to find it 😉

sage and clare bed linen australian bed linen brands
Love the colours here from Sage x Clare.

1. Bedding that’s all the one Colour

My bedroom decorating mistakes start here, because I have a personal love for bedding, bed styling and all things manchester. Get me talking about cushion inserts and you’ll be trapped in a conversation you won’t be able to escape from. You’ve been warned.

I’ve also told you how to style a bed with cushions, pillows and throws before on this blog, and you really should check that post out. Because the major bedroom styling blunder I see time and time again is all-white bedding.

This one-colour approach to bed styling is just kinda boring. And I know you have it in you to do more amazing things with your bedscape (yes I made up that word and I give you full permission to start using it).

Think of the bed as an artwork. Pick a medley of colours and mix them all together. Soft tones here, stronger tones there, and some patterns are always nice too.

Wanna know the best places to buy bedding online? Come see my all-Aussie roundup of bedding suppliers.

house rules 2020 penthouse reveal pink guest bedroom with brass bedside tables

2. Jumbo Bed with Baby Bedside Tables

Getting your bedroom to look right comes down to so many factors, but scale is a major one. And what I often see done wrong is a major king size bed flanked with teeny tiny bedside tables. It’s like Arnold Schwarzenegger standing beside Danny DeVito in the movie poster for Twins.

This is a blunder that’s so easy to correct, so let me explain how to curb your wicked ways here.

Your bedside table should be roughly at eye level when you’re lying in bed on your pillow, give or take depending on personal preference. Sure, it’s a challenge not to take an eye out on the corner of the table, but that keeps things fun, I like to think.

It’s not just the height of your bedsides you need to correct, it’s width as well. And I know what you’re going to say: Chris, my room isn’t big enough for my king size bed and wide bedside tables. Well, this is where I suggest you downgrade to a queen and tell your other half not to hog the bed. An easy conversation to have, I’m sure!

the block 2018 hans and courtney guest bedroom bedside table

3. Fragrance-Free Rooms

I wake up every morning to the sweet smell of Gardenia and Jasmine. The fragrance wafts from the candle on my bedside table and caresses my eager little nostrils. If the smells in your room are less floral and more funky, and if they attack your nose as opposed to caressing it, we have issues to address.

Scented candles are so affordable and easy to obtain. It doesn’t matter if you’re man, woman or child, you need a fragrance in your room. And there’s a scent to suit every snoz.

In fact, here’s a list of my top Aussie candle brands so you can get yourself a candle immediately.

If you’re sensitive to candles, I hear you. But you still need some sort of sweet smell in your space. Consider fabric softener on your bedding so it gives off a more subdued scent. Or line the drawers in your bedside table with a scented liner. This is one of my bedroom decorating mistakes that is so easy to fix, so no trying to get out of it!

house rules 2020 penthouse reveal bedroom with wallpaper headboard and desk

4. Bedside Tables with Nothing on Them

It pains me to admit that I often walk into client bedrooms and the bedside tables have either one cheap lonely lamp on it (with a creased shade), or worse – nothing graces the tabletop at all!

Your beside table is the piece of furniture in your room that you can have fun with. It’s an opportunity to reflect your personal style. It’s your chance to have one dedicated moment that’s solely yours. By all means have matching lamps on both bedside tables, but then the rest of that horizontal plane is your moment to get super-stylin’ on.

There are many rules you need to follow to get your bedside tables looking bang-on. And I know, rules are so boring. Can we call them guidelines? How about if I call them bedside table styling hacks? Yep, that sounds tonnes more fun.

Here is my full recap of bedside table styling hacks you can take a quick look at now.

all white bedroom harvey norman timber furniture
I’m sorry. I can’t. Don’t hate me.

5. The Package Deal Bedroom

Remember the commercials you used to see on TV where you could get a package deal for your home for, like, $2000? It had a bed, bedsides, lowboy, dining table, chairs, TV unit, coffee table and side table ALL in the same material and colour?

Yeah, those days are over. And I pray to the design gods that they never return. This is possibly the worst of the bedroom decorating mistakes.

A room looks its best when there is a medley of textures at play. You want hard and soft textures, matte and glossy textures, smooth and rough, and so on. A bedroom with a bed, bedsides and lowboy in the same material is just never going to look as successful as one where there is a variety of materials.

In my design jobs I tend to steer clear of timber beds for this very reason. The reality is that the bedsides are going to be timber, as is the lowboy, so my beds are always sourced in a soft material. That can be fabric or leather (headboard or bed frame), but always something softer than timber.

And it doesn’t come down to budget either, because there are affordable fabric beds on the market. It just takes a good design eye to select a bed in one material, the bedsides in another, and then the lowboy or chest of drawers in a different colour.

house rules 2020 tanya and dave reveal hamptons coastal master bedroom with sheers

6. Hard-Floor Bedrooms with No Rug

Here’s what you don’t want your precious tootsies to touch when you get out of bed on a cold morning: hard floors. I’m yet to see a bedroom with hard floors that looks great without a rug. And even if it looked chic in a photoshoot scenario, practically it’s just not cricket (that’s my one and only sports reference, FYI).

No matter what size of room you’re working with, or what style it is, a rug on a hard floor in a bedroom is essential. You can opt for a rectangle floor rug that sits under the bed and runs out both sides. This is great in a larger room where it can run to the edge of bedside tables for really full coverage.

In smaller spaces, I’ve also placed circular rugs on the floor before and they look lovely. Even floor runners either side of the bed will work to successfully warm up your feet of a morning.

It’s not just the literal warmth factor either. Rugs in rooms add another layer to the space, and the more layers the room has, the more welcoming and cosy it feels.

Here’s my guide to buying the right rug for any room in case you need it.

modern provincial master bedroom with reading nook in bay window

7. No Art Across from the Bed

To be honest, I crawl into bed every night and look at my wall-mounted TV. But that’s because I’m an unashamed fall-asleep-to-TV kinda person. I actually watch crime shows in bed every night. It puts me to sleep. Weird, but true.

Now, if you’re not a TV-in-bed kinda person, there’s a great big wall there that needs some great big art on it. I think you should have something nice and somewhat tranquil to look at when you’re lying down. I also think you want to wake up to it each morning and feel inspired.

Now, art is a very personal thing, so I can’t advise you on the exact style here. But as a rule I would avoid anything too graphic, and definitely avoid photographic art where there is a person looking at you. I do not want to drift off to slep with someone giving me the hairy eyeball.

Here’s a list of amazing art ideas for your bedroom. And there’s loads of variety in the roundup too.


8. No Mirror on the Wall

All bedrooms need mirrors. It’s a fact. Now, most homes are built with bedrooms that have built-in wardrobes. And many of these have mirrored doors. It’s not a fave of mine to be honest as it restricts my ability to pop a stylish mirror somewhere else in the room. But if your built-ins have mirrored fronts, you can move right along. Your mirror quota in the bedroom is covered.

If you don’t have mirrored built-ins, you have to include a stunning mirror in your bedroom. And it doesn’t necessarily even need to be for you to look at yourself in. I have put horizontal mirrors above beds and they look great. It reflects light in a small space and makes the room feel larger. That’s one bonus.

Outside of bouncing light around the room and looking at yourself, there is another benefit to a mirror in your bedroom. And that’s the fact that it breaks up potential art clashes. If you have many walls in your bedroom, it can feel like an art overload to cover every single one with a painting. A mirror is a nice alternative.

energy efficient home designs bedroom with bohemian headboard and white and beige bedding
Gorgeous room from Metricon.

9. Bad Window Treatments

OK, so I have to be real honest with you here: a bedroom with vertical blinds is the stuff nightmares are made of. And I can say that from a non-judgemental perspective because I have had verticals in past rental bedrooms. If your home is a rental and you can’t change it, I hear you and I feel for you. We just have to pretend they’re not there. Let go and let God.

If you own your home, I’m ride-or-die for a roller blind with a sheer over the top of it. A roller blind gives you the privacy you need at night, and a sheer curtain over the top of it gives this wonderful softness, ambience, and the most gorgeous diffused light across the room.

Of course there are other options when it comes to window treatments. You can go for a roman blind (they’ve come a long way), plantation shutters (not a personal fave but still lush) or even a silhouette shade like I used in the living room of my Melbourne CBD project.

I will go on the record as saying that a bedroom with just a roller blind feels a little unfinished to me. Your windows deserve more. So do try a sheer or something nice and soft if you can afford it.

mid grey pattern wallpaper bedroom feature wall in modern bedroom charcoal headboard
Wallpaper is always a good idea. Source: Metricon

10. The Divisive Blunder: White Walls

I saved this one for last because I know some of you will be rolling your eyes. I always bang on about getting rid of white walls in a home, so I fully appreciate that you’ve grown fatigued in this department. But for real: white walls will not make your bedroom feel luxurious, warm or cosy.

Now, that might be OK. You might not want your bedroom to have a moody or sumptuous feel. So feel free to keep on rollin’ with the white. And if you’re going for that easy-breezy coastal-boho vibe, it’s understandable that a crisp white is going to be your go-to.

When I transform most of my client bedrooms though, the first thing I think about is what non-white paint or wallpaper we might be able to use to give the room another layer. In most cases anyway.

Here are 10 of my fave bedroom feature wall ideas that’ll prove how good non-white walls are.

Well, that’s the end of my bedroom decorating mistakes all spelled out for you. What is your score? I’d love to hear how many of these design crimes you’ve made in the comments below – no judgement! 🙂

This post includes images and/or videos of Metricon display homes and events, reproduced with permission. © Metricon Homes Pty Ltd 2016.


Chris Carroll

Outside of writing this blog, Chris is an interior designer, presenter and author. He’s also spent time on TV, on Channel 10’s Changing Rooms, as well presenting segments on Channel 7’s Sunrise and The Morning Show. If you’d like to book a design consult with Chris, you can find out more here

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25 Responses

  1. I use a diffuser with beautiful quality essential oils as my scent, not only do they put me to sleep but the smell is out of this world. We do have a lovey grey fabric bedhead and am looking into artwork – what do you think of a slim line picture rail above the bedhead so that I can mix up the artwork with different size frames or decorative pieces depending on what bedding I have on at the time…I also have a lovely big plant as I absolutely adore green and all natures colours with a touch of pink

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I’m interior designer Chris Carroll, and at TLC Interiors we’re all about helping you create an amazing home without breaking the bank. It’s affordable designer style at its best, and we make the whole process easy and fun for clients & readers alike!

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