Rookie Mistake: Generic Home Decor

Rookie Mistakes: a series of common decor mistakes made by rookies… aka us. And no we are not judging because we have made (and continue to make) these mistakes too!

Rookie Mistake – Generic Home Decor

Today we’re moving onto Rookie Mistake #3 on our list….tackling generic home decor. When we moved into our first apartments, you can bet your bottom dollar that these 2 rookies were scooping up everything and anything we could get our hands on in an attempt to make our new places more “homey.”

Home Sweet Home picture frame? Toss it in the cart. Live Laugh Love art? Heck why not. I love to live, laugh, and love! An oversized poster of flowers in a vibrant hue? I mean who doesn’t like flowers? Let me buy that now!

Being completely new to the whole home decorating thing, we both just filled our places with generic crap in an attempt to fill the bare spots and make our spaces look more “lived in.” But if you walked into our homes at that time you wouldn’t really learn very much about us, our journey, or our story. Instead, you would just see a home filled with stuff.

We’ve slowly tried to correct this rookie mistake in our homes, replacing the generic with items that are much more personal.

Here are some of our favorite “decor” items that give guests a glimpse into our history.

Replace Generic Home Decor with These Ideas

Home DIY key art

Casey: Framed Keys from our 4 homes togetherKeepsake items from trips

Casey: A small turtle from our honeymoon in MexicoFramed photos from special locations or occassionsBridget: Framed Photos of my wedding venue that I took while exploring the grounds with Matt this fall.
Album art to showcase our hometown love

Casey: A Chicago album to show off our hometown pride! 
Collections we found together

Casey: An assortment of glass decanters that Finn & I have collected during various thrifting days together! Photo booth strips displayed in a fun way

B & C: We can’t turn down a good photo booth! That’s why we both display our photo booth strips prominently in our homes. Gallery wall with personalized artworkBridget: Our office gallery wall is filled with photos from our travels, an oversized wedding photo and even our house sketched out as the “UP!” house in honor of our Halloween costume last year. 

Matches in Bowl

Casey: Matchbooks from our favorite restaurantsPostcards from favorite vacations

B & C: A framed postcard from Sonoma and a vase filled with postcards from every one of Casey’s vacationsGallery wall with more personal items and touchesBridget: A DIY pallet sign that reads “Chestnut meets Mayfield”, which is the names of the streets that Matt and I grew up on. This hangs proudly in our bedroom and reminds us of where we came from. Also, the “13” symbolizes the year we got married. 

Frames on Dresser Bedroom

Casey: Here’s our wedding invitation matted and framed in our bedroomFramed letter from a beloved friend or family member

Casey: A framed letter from my great grandmother’s memoir

Framed Blueprint Augusta Art

Casey: Framed blueprints from our new home 

Now we are in no way saying that there needs to be a story behind every single item in your home. That would be craziness. Sometimes you just want to buy something because you LIKE IT! And that’s a-okay in our Playbook!

But we encourage you to be more mindful when shopping for home decor items. And instead of just filling spaces just to fill them…we want you to decorate each area of your home with intention and purpose.

We’re not perfect, and we’re known to scoop up goodies from Target & HomeGoods with the best of them…but the more we inject our story into our homes, the more we like our homes. So our motto is “less generic. more personal.”



The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.