Decor Faux Pas to Fix Before Holiday Guests Arrive

updated Oct 11, 2022
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(Image credit: Julia Steele)

As the season of inviting people to your home to gather during the holidays nears, now might be the right time to do a walk-through of your rooms with a more critical eye. Take your home from good to great by fixing these decor faux pas before the first holiday guest arrives!

Shiny floors = a clean (Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

Your furniture, floors and walls are sad, dull and lifeless

While knowing that your in-laws are going to be visiting your home this holiday season may have you wishing you could run out and buy new everything, don’t. When you take the time to bring back a little shine and life back to your existing decor elements, you make your home feel inviting and fresh. And the best thing is, you can fix these decor faux pas with elbow grease rather than a ton of money.

The fix: Add a little fluff to an old sofa with sagging cushions. Fix scratches and dents on your wood furniture. Wash your walls. Polish your floors. Deep clean that grout.

Art that’s hanging at the *right* height just makes a room FEEL good. (Image credit: Reagen Taylor)

Your art is hanging on the wall way. too. high.

I’m putting this near the top of the list because it’s honestly the thing that personally “bugs” me the most. Art hung too high on the wall seems out of place. Like it’s floating alone in a void. It can make an entire room — nay, an entire home — look…off. Thankfully, it’s blissfully easy to fix.

The fix: Lower any offending too-high canvases and frames. (Have putty and wall paint on hand in case you need to hide any too-high nail holes.) Some helpful links:

Perfectly sized curtains aren’t too short or too long. (Image credit: Emily Billings)

Your curtains are not long enough (or too long!)

Curtains are another “yeeash” spot that can make a whole room seem off. When curtains are too short, your room looks like it has high-water pants on. Too long, and it looks like you didn’t hem your pants. When your curtains are just the right length, you or your guests won’t notice them…and that’s exactly the outcome you want.

The fix: Examine the lengths of all your window treatments to determine if any need adjusting. Trim and hem any that are too long if you’re crafty. Adjust the curtain rod heights if you prefer dealing with a drill rather than a sewing machine. Some helpful links:

Don’t be afraid to pull your furniture out away from the walls to create tighter (Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

Your furniture (metaphorically) clings to the walls

This isn’t so much a problem in small spaces, but if you have a large living room and you’ve arranged your space so that the backs of your furniture all back up to the wall — you might find yourself shouting across the room to holiday guests. And you certainly won’t have a living room that feels cozy and inviting.

The fix: Rearrange! Create cozier, tighter seating arrangements that are conducive to seating. Consider double couches that face each other. Use consoles and sofa tables to help squeeze the room a bit. Make sure you have a rug that’s large enough to fit your furniture on top to create a visual cohesion. Bring in poufs or ottomans to round out snug seating arrangements. Some helpful links:

Say yes to lamps. (Image credit: Jacqueline DuBois)

All your lighting is overhead and it’s awful

If you still haven’t added better lighting to your home, please get this done before guests arrive. You just can’t feel comfortable when fluorescent lights shine above.

The fix: Lamps and candles! Try to have three points of light around eye level in a room. And add candles (safely) around a space to help visually warm up the room. Some helpful links:

Go ahead (Image credit: Nancy Mitchell)

Your rooms stick to a small color palette a little too well

A tight, cohesive color palette of two or three colors is a great way to have a simple yet sophisticated space. But if those are the only colors in a room, you might find yourself with a space that lacks variety and spontaneity — which equals a room that can feel a little stuffy.

The fix: Shop for or DIY a home accessory that you LOVE…in a color you don’t currently have anywhere else in the room. Choose a color that shows up in another room of the house if you need some direction. Or, get bold and choose a complementary color to one of your palette’s main hues. And when in doubt: The green in plants goes with every color palette. Some helpful links:

Wires? What wires? (Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)

Your wires are a cluttered, hot mess

You might be so used to seeing the cluttered coil of wires sticking out from under your entertainment system that you don’t notice them anymore, but your guests will surely spot them. While not the biggest decor faux pas in the world, it’s so easy to fix that it’s worth doing; it’ll instantly make a room look cleaner and more organized.

The fix: Find the wire-organizing solution that works for your home and apply! Some helpful links:

(Image credit: Julia Steele)

Your dining seating is Uncomfortable

I mean, really, all the furniture in your home should be comfy (else why would you have it at all?), but before holiday guests arrive, make sure your dining chairs and benches are comfortable to sit in, at least for a little while. Because if the food and the conversation are great — but the dining chairs are digging uncomfortably into thighs — the party will be over sooner than you may like.

The fix: Add cushioning and pillows as needed to chairs. Sheepskins are great to soften the top of a bench or the back of a chair. Some helpful links: