I'm obsessed with home makeover shows — and these are the 3 mistakes people always make

Blue rug in middle of living room floor
Blue rug in middle of living room floor (Image credit: Shutterstock)

I’m always looking for new ways to spruce up my house, and spend most of my time watching home makeover shows for inspiration. Ranging from home renovation shows and flipping properties, to getting that dream makeover on a budget, I could happily watch them all. Besides, who doesn’t love the "grand reveal" of a showstopping transformation at the end?

But, while my obsession with home makeover shows has given me plenty of visual ideas for my own house — there are three mistakes people always make. And while the experts on the shows do well to advise homeowners of what they should be doing, these mistakes often catch them out. What’s more, such decor mistakes can be costly, especially when working on a strict budget. 

So, if you want to avoid any major pitfalls when upgrading your home, here are the three mistakes people always make (as seen on home makeover shows!). 

Also, do you have any of these 7 things that are making your home look outdated? Plus, I write about home decor for a living — 7 design tips I swear by.

1. They don’t measure their space before buying furniture 

Big sofa in small space

Big sofa in small space (Image credit: Shutterstock)

There’s nothing worse than furnishings that look out of proportion, and one common mistake is when homeowners forget to measure their space correctly. Choosing the wrong scale for rooms can make your space look either too small or too big, so it’s important to always check the dimensions of furniture before buying. 

The most common items people tend to scale wrong are sofas, coffee tables, rugs or artwork that can either get lost or overpower a room.  If you have a smaller space, experts recommend looking for sofas or chairs with narrow arms, and taller legs so that you can see the floor underneath. The more floor you see, the bigger the room feels, which is also vital when you’re trying to make a small room look bigger

In addition, rugs should ideally be larger than your sofa, placed behind the front legs of the sofa and extended beyond each side by at least 12 inches. Similarly, if you want to buy the perfect coffee table, experts suggest these need to be two inches shorter than the sofa seat,  and two-thirds the length of the sofa. This will allow a comfortable walkway around the table without bumping your legs, or feeling too far away. 

In addition, if your room lacks natural light, you'll need to read how to brighten a dark room for top tips and tricks. 

2. Not testing paint colors on walls first

Painting test swatches on wall

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

I can't tell you the number of times I’ve watched homeowners spend a fortune on paints, only to dislike the end result. This is mainly because they didn’t test the shade colors on the wall before committing to painting an entire room

Typically, paint colors look different from the swatch cards we see in the store, versus on a wall.

Typically, paint colors look different from the swatch cards we see in the store, versus on a wall. In addition, the particular shade can vary from room to room, depending on the lighting. That’s why it’s important to always buy testers first, before spending money on tins of your chosen paint (that you might not even like!). 

Experts recommend choosing three shade samples of your chosen color, so you can see the subtle undertones. These can make all the difference in the final finish, and give you more of an idea of the overall look and feel of the room. Depending on the brand and type, paint testers can cost around $5 to $10 each. However, this is still a small price to pay to find the best shade for your walls, without having to start the job over again!

You might also want to check out these 7 clever painting hacks that you wish you knew sooner, for a fuss-free job. Or how to paint a ceiling without making a mess! 

Modern living room

Modern living room (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Another mistake homeowners make is buying things on impulse, without considering personal style or budget. And while it’s nice to have an ‘Instagrammable’ home, splurging out on new furnishings just for the sake of it can make your home look cheap, according to interior designers.

By definition, design trends are made to come and go. So while it may be ‘on-trend’ to fill your home with the latest decor, many random styles will start to either look outdated or tacky. Instead, keep it simple, and stick to neutral styles, tones or accessories that will still be timeless years later. 

More importantly, stick to a budget when it comes to makeovers, and be selective when choosing the right size, number and mixture of pieces that will suit your home style. Remember, quality over quantity!  

If you're stripping walls, you'll need to know how to remove wallpaper before painting. Had an accident? Here's how to get paint out of the carpet, and if you want to maintain your walls, here's how to clean painted walls to remove stains. Plus, if you’re selling up, these 9 essential decor tips could help you sell your house.  

Cynthia Lawrence
Content Editor, Homes

As the Homes Content Editor, Cynthia Lawrence covers all things homes, interior decorating, and garden-related. She has a wealth of editorial experience testing the latest, ‘must-have’ home appliances, writing buying guides and the handy ‘how to’ features. 

Her work has been published in various titles including, T3, Top Ten Reviews, Ideal Home, Real Homes, Livingetc. and House Beautiful, amongst many.

With a rather unhealthy obsession for all things homes and interiors, she also has an interior design blog for style inspiration and savvy storage solutions (get rid of that clutter!). When she’s not testing cool products, she’ll be searching online for more decor ideas to spruce up her family home or looking for a great bargain!