Decorating Pet Peeves

A cluttered home does not make an attractive home

In a recent blog, “To Judge or Not to Judge?” I wrote about decorating pet peeves and wanted to share the things that miff me the most in home design.

My top two pet peeves are dirt and clutter. Neither should be the focal point in any home and, if unchecked for too long, can easily become so. Whether it is a countertop of dirty dishes, a bookcase that has not been dusted in a month, or a stained carpet, a dirty home is my top irritant. A close second is a cluttered tabletop, piles of unread magazines on the floor, … you get the picture and it’s not a pretty one.  Fortunately, these faux pas can easily be remedied by the homeowner or a hired hand to clean up or clean out. 

Interior decoration without any personality rounds out my top three decorating pet peeves. Your interiors should reflect your personality and tell a story about who you are. If you find your home void of personality, this, too, is easy to remedy.

In order that your interiors do not look like you opened a catalogue and purchased everything on page 10, you need to add décor items that bring you joy and reflect who you are. These can be family photos, art purchased while on vacation, or simply a curated collection of things you enjoy. You can also pepper in family heirlooms, special gifts received over the years, or something simple and inexpensive like plants and/or cut flowers. 

As I look around my living room, I see my handmade art quilt depicting Nantucket Light (an iconic landmark where we honeymooned), framed enlarged seascape photos from our vacations near and far hanging on our gallery wall, and a few sailing ships gifted from a favorite aunt. These decorations contribute not only to a serene nautical decor but tell a story about who we are and what we love.  When it comes to adding personality to your rooms, there are no rules except to be creative – an innate skill we all possess – and to have fun doing it.

Interior Decorator Barbara Graceffa owns and operates Secretary of the Interior, offering creative solutions at reasonable rates. Learn more at and see her traditional and art quilts on Instagram @secretaryinteriordecorating.

By Barbara Graceffa

Barbara Graceffa, CEO of Secretary of the Interior, serves decorating clients; assists with professional organizing, home staging and moving assistance; teaches on these subjects; and delivers quilt lectures and trunk shows.

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