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What We Can Learn from Seinfeld: 8 Decorating Mistakes

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Who doesn’t love a good episode of Seinfeld? So many classic characters…The Sidler (tic tacs please!), The Low-Talker, Man-Hands, the Soup Nazi…I mean, please. This show was genius. My hubby and I still make reference to it ALL the time. It got me thinking. So many of the famous characters and quotes from this show totally relate to the design world! Here’s a fun take on 8 decorating mistakes you might be making:

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Mistake #1. Serenity Now! The Over-Accessorizer.

Who can forget the classic phrase that was suggested by Frank Costanza’s doctor as a relaxation technique?

This common decorating mistake is all about overkill. Are you an over-accessorizer? Sounds like a classic Seinfeld character to me. 😉 When thinking about styling or accessorizing an area of  your home (mantel, bookcase, cabinet top, buffet), less is more. Just because the mantel is 6 feet wide, doesn’t mean every inch needs to be covered in stuff. Leave some blank space. This allows the eye to rest, and brings importance to your items. Here’s an example.

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The space left open on each shelf not only brings more focus to each item, it allows these beautiful reclaimed beams to really shine. Ok, take a look around your home. Do your accessories need a little elbow room?

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Mistake #2. Hello, Newman. Keeping that item you hate.

Do you have one of these pieces of furniture? You hate it. It’s not functional, it’s definitely NOT cute, it’s worn out, beat up, and it doesn’t fit the look of your space. Every time you walk in, it’s like “Hello, Newman.” Ask yourself a few questions. 1. Do you have a little extra money to replace it with something perfect? 2. Is there a piece elsewhere in the house that you could use there instead? 3. If you just take it out of the house, does it even NEED a replacement? (Maybe this is an opportunity to simplify and allow more free space!) Your home is your haven. Don’t keep something you “hate” just because you own it, you’ve always owned it, and that’s just the way it is. Let’s brainstorm something better!

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Mistake #3. Even Steven. Feeling like you need pairs of everything.

Ohhhhhh the symmetrical. The paired-up phenomenon. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some symmetry. But there ARE other options. Yes, sometimes a pair of lamps on a buffet is perfection. But a single lamp, set to one side, and a collection of items on the other side can be just as nice, maybe even more interesting! Here’s an example from a client’s home that I styled using all of her own items…

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Is her lamp CUTE or what? She only had one, so no problem. Using only one lamp actually provided more of an opportunity to use some of her decor items.

Odd numbers are also more pleasing in collections, vignettes, items hanging on a wall, you get the picture. Odd=good.

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Mistake #4. The Puffy Shirt. Making your rooms too “theme-y.”

Ohhhh that puffy shirt. Nobody wins with a theme this “in your face.” 😉 A child’s bedroom is probably where a themed-room should remain.

Maybe you LOVE the beach. Awesome! Recreate that beachy feeling with your color palette, textures, and a coastal nod here and there. Keeping it subtle is the name of the game. Ok, I just read that back and I’m feeling a little hypocritical here. I mean, I’m the girl with the word “Farmhouse” plastered all over her house. Sooo ya, forget I brought this one up. Continue on with your themes. And enjoy. 😉

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Mistake #5. The Soup Nazi. Following the crowd and obeying all design rules.

Rules were made to be broken. There’s probably a rule about how putting a CHAIR on your kitchen island is crazy-talk. But ya, sometimes it just happens. And your husband comes downstairs and says “Wow, that’s TALL.” and you just ignore it and enjoy the chair on your island. I mean, I’m sure this has happened to you. 😉2015-10-23_0015

Or perhaps “not following the crowd” means DIY-ing something awesome when you can’t find it in any store or on any website known to man. A few years ago I wanted some extra tall draperies with a large horizontal stripe pattern. I. Couldn’t. Find. Them. Anywhere. So, you know what they say, necessity is the mother of invention. And trust me, cute drapery is a necessity. I bought some crazy tall curtains at Ikea for a song, and painted my own horizontal stripes on them with latex wall paint. Bam. $39 + paint = DIY gold. When we moved into our new home, they were repurposed for our master bedroom by just cutting off the excess. The paint actually ended up sealing the fabric, so there was no need for a hem! Win-win!

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2015-10-23_0002Mistake #6. Yada-yada-ing prominent areas of your home.

So maybe you have your living room dialed in. It is beautiful. I mean, REALLY beautiful. Nice work. But you’ve yada-yada-ed your entry. Or your front porch. The area guests see FIRST when they come to your home has been given little or no attention. I think front porches are often overlooked, especially if YOU, as the homeowner, enter your own home from your garage, when you get home at night.  A less-than-welcoming front porch isn’t really even your fault, because you never look at it. Go out there right now. Is it ship-shape? Is that the first impression you want to give to your neighbors/friends/family/visitors/solicitors/mailman/random person driving by in a car? If it isn’t, I bet you could whip it into shape pretty quick. And you might not even have to spend a dime.

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Mistake #7. Remember Kramer’s coffee table book about coffee tables? This is going to sound weird, but this mistake is all about the wrong coffee table.

Stick with me here. Your coffee table is probably the center of your room. The CENTER. So why are you keeping that coffee table that used to belong to your cousin’s best friend’s uncle’s ex-wife? It’s too small, too short, the cat scratched up one whole side of it, and the kids used colorful sharpies all over the top of it while you were on the phone with your hubby. Might be time to splurge on a new coffee table, and with so many affordable options out there these days, WHAT are you waiting for?? Or, refer back to #5, maybe you feel like tackling a DIY coffee table? It’s the centerpiece of your room. Let’s make someone want to write a book about it, not wonder why you can’t keep permanent markers away from your kids. And hey. That’s none of their beeswax.

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Mistake #8. Bizarro Jerry. Areas of your home that aren’t really “you.”

Maybe you went through a “cabin” phase. Or a “cutesy” phase. Or a “macrame” phase. But that’s not really YOU. Your home is YOUR canvas. What does it say about you? Take those areas back with a style that speaks of YOU. Notice I didn’t recommend sprucing them up with the current design trend. If you follow your HEART, you can do no wrong. Spend a little time on Pinterest. Look at your favorite design blogs. Scroll through Instagram. What stands out to you? What grabs your attention and feels like HOME?

Well, there ya go. Next time you’re up for some TV, enjoy some Seinfeld reruns. And maybe it will oddly inspire you to make some decorating improvements. 😉

  • October 24, 2015 - 3:18 pm

    Nikki - This is GREAT! Saw on IG. Thanks for sharing! I’m a Sienfeld lover, too!ReplyCancel

    • October 24, 2015 - 8:51 pm

      yellowprairieint - Thanks for stopping by, Nikki! Have a great weekend.ReplyCancel

  • October 24, 2015 - 4:37 pm

    robin hill - Love this! The chair on the kitchen island…lol…never would have thought of that!!!ReplyCancel

    • October 24, 2015 - 8:52 pm

      yellowprairieint - Ya, sooooo maybe the chair didn’t stay too long, but it was fun while it lasted! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • October 24, 2015 - 8:54 pm

    SillySue4U - Such great advice!!!!!!! And all the laughs that go with it!!!! Love love love it all!!ReplyCancel

  • October 24, 2015 - 9:17 pm

    Selena - This is hilarious and the analogies are perfect! Two of those things (the pair of lamps and the coffee table) pertained to me until just last week! Haha! Very well written. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • October 25, 2015 - 12:12 am

    Mandy Augsburger - Oh Janna….this was great!ReplyCancel

  • October 25, 2015 - 9:22 pm

    Sonya Bishop - I am no longer a blog virgin! Yours is the first blog I have ever read! Very interesting analogy. I have some furniture I hate and no coffee table. My spouse was tired of looking for the right couch and I got railroaded into buying from Furniture Row. Ugh! Next time I will stick to my guns!ReplyCancel

  • November 5, 2016 - 2:23 pm

    Lindsay - Haha, this post is pure gold!!! Hilarious Janna! I love Seinfeld and these were so spot on!ReplyCancel

    • November 7, 2016 - 12:38 am

      yellowprairieint - Thank you Lindsay!:) Have a great evening.ReplyCancel

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