Decorating an entire home – or even a single room – isn’t easy, even for those with an eye for aesthetics and the desire to live in a beautiful space. Finding comfortable pieces that perfectly fit a space and achieving a layered, lived-in but uncluttered look while staying on budget is a challenge.
Below we share the top five most common decorating mistakes that we see homeowners make, and our suggestions for avoiding them.
- Buying furniture that is out of scale for the space
Nothing is worse for the overall appearance of a room than filling it with under- or oversized furnishings. Scale is the single most important part of design and one that can be very difficult to achieve if you aren’t careful. As professional interior designers, we have formulas for everything in the space – the minimum number of inches needed around a kitchen island, the necessary nightstand height for a pillowtop bed, the dimensions of a rug relative to the room it will occupy, etc. These details are often overlooked but have a significant impact on the overall design of a space.
Tip: When trying to furnish a space on your own, measure, re-measure, and then measure again. Ensure that you know all of the dimensions of your space. When evaluating a piece of furniture, pay attention to width, depth, and height. All three are crucially important. Consider those dimensions relative to the overall space and the other items in the room.
- Feeling “stuck” with the wrong piece of furniture and trying to make it work
Maybe it’s a family heirloom, an expensive gift, or it was purchased on a whim. Regardless of how it came to be, it’s never worth forcing a piece into a design where it doesn’t make sense. Instead of blending in, it will grab attention every time someone enters the room and it’s not worth sacrificing the overall design for a single piece of furniture.
Tip: Sell, donate, or relocate the piece to another room where it may work. You deserve to live in a home you love filled with items that spark joy. If you’ve been feeling stuck with a piece because it was an investment or has sentimental value, give yourself permission to move on.
- Choosing a paint color from a photo or small swatch
We recommend never choosing a paint color based on seeing it in a magazine, a friend’s home, or even because you used and loved it in a previous home. Paint colors should be selected for each space and depend on the room’s size, how sunlight moves around the space during the day, the quantity and placement of light fixtures, and other important factors.
Tip: Before choosing a paint color, invest a few dollars in a sample can. Even better, purchase sample cans of a few different colors so you can compare them. Paint a large swatch of each color on multiple walls and observe them for a few days before making a decision.
- Using too many small accessories
Less is usually more when it comes to accessories. Our interior designers usually opt for a few impactful pieces over several smaller ones. We want a space to feel layered and lived-in and are always seeking the balance between sterile and cluttered.
Tip: If you’re redecorating an existing space, remove everything and start with a clean slate. Bring pieces back one at a time and resist the urge to fill every shelf or surface.
- Choosing furniture and fabrics that aren’t appropriate for your lifestyle
For families with children and pets, selecting durable, fade-resistant, washable materials is critical. For a bachelorette or empty nester, more luxurious fabrics like silks, chintzes, and linens may be appropriate. The most important “to do” in design is choosing items that suit the type of life you actually live. We are experts at sourcing furnishings that look and feel high-end but stand up to wear and tear.
Tip: When purchasing slipcovered furniture because of its washability, pay attention to the care instructions. Not all slipcovers are machine washable. Many are dry clean only. Leather is another great option for homes with children and pets. Choose pieces with a matte finish that will only get better with age.
If you recognize yourself as having made any of these common decorating mistakes, you’re not alone! We can help. Our interior designers are here to help make your dream space a reality. Click here to schedule a consultation.