Not everyone has training in interior design but most people decorate their own homes — and everyone makes mistakes. It’s inevitable. You find things and think they’ll be great in the living room, and you bring them home without any plan or idea of what’s would be the right addition. On the surface, decorating your home is about what you like. Beyond that, however, there are elements of design like color, scale, lighting and placement that should be taken into consideration in any space. They all affect how the space will look. Given the considerations, almost everyone makes at least one of these most common decorating mistakes:
A Lack of Color
Neutral palettes have been a trend for quite some time, and that has led to quite a bite of boring decor. By playing safe and sticking with neutral furnishings, walls and accessories, homeowners have created a wide range of uninteresting spaces. This doesn’t mean that you have to paint all the walls a vivid color and upholster everything in bright prints. Adding a single wall of an accent color can add a real punch to room, even when the rest of the decor is neutral. Don’t be afraid of adding color to a room — it adds punch. Incorporating color can take many forms: a colorful rug, a vibrant array of accessories, bold artwork or saturated textiles. Pick your favorite color and let it brighten a space in your home. This credenza grouping from Jonathan Adler has extra impact because it sits in front of an enchanting wall of color.
It might be one of the last things people think about in a home, lighting, however, is critical to a pleasant environment. Generally, bad lighting equals bad design. Relying on one source of lighting — like a ceiling fixture — is never a good idea. Different types of lighting need to have different purposes: task lighting,
Too Much Furniture
With interior design, it’s entirely possible to have too much of a good thing, especially where furniture is concerned. Just as important as the pieces you put into a space is the sense of space itself. A room overcrowded with furniture will never feel spacious. All your pieces should be in an appealing arrangement and fulfill your needs with regard to function and comfort. Don’t let furniture impede traffic flow through the space or restrict movement. If a room ever feels cramped, remove a piece or two of furniture and see if it eases the feeling in the space. Rearranging the pieces in the space might also solve the problem. This Bamax dining room has enough furniture yet it feels open and airy.
Balance in your furnishings is approached in two ways. The first is the pieces themselves. No matter what the style of the decor, you want a balance among the pieces to keep if from feeling too heavy or crowded. This living room is a good example because the sofa has a very hefty feel because the thick frame sits directly on the ground. The occasional tables on both sides are leggy, which balances out the heavier sofa. The style of the table lamp and the multi-light floor lamp also contribute a lighter feeling. The second way to consider balance in a space concerns the placement of furnishings and accessories as well as the size of the room. Big, heavy furnishings will never feel right in a small space and vice-versa. How your furniture feels in the space in relation to the doorways, windows and any other architectural elements that are present is also key, and this comes down to placement. To remedy this, it usually takes just a little re-arrangement.
When it comes to decor less is definitely more. The nicest rooms with the most pleasant feeling always have accessories…just not too many. Unfortunately, conquering clutter is about more than just organization. Yes, you need to have enough storage space to stash your belongings out of sight, but there are many other ways that a home can feel cluttered. Too many accessories, a huge number of pillows, too many things on the shelves, artwork hung without a plan — these are some of the examples. This can be a particular problem for people who collect things. In all cases the cure is simple: editing.
Yes, there was a day when matching furniture sets were all the rage, but that is definitely not the case now. There’s nothing that screams “I don’t know what to do,” than a match bedroom or living room set. Mixing and matching is the way to get a comfortable and stylish room. Of course, this does not mean that the room should be a random jumble of mismatched pieces. There should be one dominant style that account from 75 to 80 percent of a room and the remainder can be anything else.
The other way to think about this is decorating in layers. Take a look at the room below. Yes it has a formal air, but it is certainly not stuffy. The sofa on the right has a wooden frame and is very formal. The armchair across the room also has wood, but it is white, and the second sofa is more casual with no visible wood at all. The coffee table and side tables are all different and not formal, yet they work well with the grand chandelier and gold-framed portraits on the walls.
The Wrong Lampshade
A lampshade does more than just soften the light emanating from the bulb: It balances the height of the lamp and gives it enough visual heft to make it an important design element. Nothing looks worse than a lamp with a shade that is far too small for its base. According to
A Boring Entryway
When meeting people, first impressions count and the same holds true for your home. When people walk through the door, the feeling they get from your entryway will set the tone for what they expect from the rest of the house. If your entryway is boring, they aren’t going to expect much when they walk around the corner. Depending on how much space you have,
If anything in the home is trendy, it is
When it comes to area rugs, bigger is indeed better. Choosing one that is too small is among the most common mistakes homeowners make. If you’re
Furniture Against the Walls
Unless you’re stuck with a small living room, don’t automatically push your sofa — and all the rest of the furniture — against the wall.
A Plethora of Pillows
Pillows can be transformative decor piece, adding a jolt of color or print, along with an extra dose of comfort. But just the same, you can have too much of a good thing. For a while, the trend was for piles of decorative pillows on the sofa, the bed and in armchairs. Now we know better because to many pillows can make an otherwise streamlined space feel cluttered. Instead, give more power to your accent pillows by using a carefully edited collection of colors, sizes and motifs to elevate your space. This chair features just one small but
Faking the Flowers
The votes are in on fake flowers, and the world is split down the middle. Most designers say that obviously fake flowers and plants are a “design don’t,” but many people love silk flowers for lots of reasons. If you have to have silk flowers, make sure they are new and as real-looking as possible. Otherwise, try adding potted plants that flower, using real flowers whenever possible, or cutting branches and greenery from your yard to display. Even if you don’t have a green thumb, low maintenance plants like cacti and succulents can be a good choice instead of faux flora.
The Wrong Window Treatment
Unfortunately, there are many ways
Art Hung Too High
Art is the
Too Many Knick Knacks
Whether your decor is a design driven collection of items or a set of pieces you’ve acquired in while traveling. When it comes to decor and knickknacks, less is definitely more. It’s perfectly fine — and very desirable — to display some decor and mementos to add personality to keep your space from feeling like staged space. That said, you want to be judicious because too many knick knacks equals a cluttered feeling. Don’t feel like you have to throw some out, just change up the display as you would with any collection.
Almost everyone is guilty of at least one common design error. The best course of action is to educate yourself and then take a look around your home for anything that you might need to correct. That way you can be comfortable and stylish in your home.