Home Decorating Mistakes to Avoid
While it is advisable to follow your heart and decorate your home with the things you love, sometimes good intentions don’t equate to good design sense. Face it; everyone is guilty of making the occasional decorating mistake. That's just human nature.
However, it's important to learn from those mistakes, so you're not doomed to repeat them. Here are some of the most grievous home decorating mistakes. The good news is they all have easy fixes!
Toilet Covers and Rugs
Not only do they look rather old fashioned (sorry, grandma), matching toilet seat covers and rugs collect all sorts of dirt and bacteria. Even though these nifty little bathroom sets are colorful and inexpensive, avoid the temptation. Stick with a bath rug in front of the tub, shower, and vanity, they're quite acceptable.
Clutter is an easy decorating trap to fall into. Decorative accessories are designed to complement the furnishings and architecture of a room. Used with a heavy hand, accessories create nothing more than visual disorder and become dust collectors.
A good way to determine an overabundance of accessories is to calculate how much time you spend cleaning. If it takes more than 30 minutes per week to dust all your tchotchkes, it's time to thin the herd.
Avoid cramming too many family photos on a shelf or table. Different sizes and varied frames create confusion and tend to obscure other photos. Create order by using similar frames of the same size and limiting the number to three. That way you'll give your photos a sense of prominence. Use albums, memory books, and collage frames to share remaining keepsake photos.
This rule also applies to throw pillows. An average sofa needs no more than two or three accent pillows. If you have to push pillows aside to find a place to sit, store the others away.
Another common home decorating mistake involves artwork placement. The point of enjoying artwork is the ability to view it comfortably whether standing or sitting. If you have to crane your neck to view it, it's positioned too high on the wall. A good rule of thumb is to hang pictures at eye level.
Place large prints a bit higher on the wall: use the top of a door frame to line up the top of an oversized piece of art. When hanging big artwork above a sofa or bed, position the lower edge six inches above the sofa back or headboard.
Take the size of your artwork and available wall space into consideration when you plan the layout. One small print is easily overpowered by surrounding blank wall space. Create balance and mass by grouping several smaller prints together.
Never put an area rug in the middle of a room without using furniture to anchor it in place. A lone rug adrift in the center of a room will look lost and out of place. It is imperative to connect the rug to your furnishings.
Make sure the rug is large enough to ground your furniture. Place the front feet of sofas and chairs on the rug. This will give your seating group a sense of cohesion. If you are unsure, simply purchase a rug that is large enough to accommodate all of the furniture pieces in a given group.
To ensure your rug is the just right for your room and furniture, place painter’s tape on the floor to outline the size and placement. Use a measuring tape to record the dimensions and take your notes along when you're ready to make the purchase.
Modern technology can ruin the best home decorating plans. Many electronics still come with a series of cables and cords which need to be connected to a power source. Unfortunately, these wires are extremely unattractive and can pose a child or pet safety hazard.
Purchase cable ties to cinch a series of cables together or insert them in cable channels or covers. Most cable covers can be painted to match surrounding surfaces. Install the channels along walls or baseboards with double-sided tape. If you are dealing with a single long cord, you may be able to get away with hiding it between the baseboard and carpeting.
Use common sense when creating seating arrangements. Don’t make the decorating mistake of relegating your furniture to the perimeter of the room. Move it away from the walls to create a cozy conversation area. Why make people shout across the room when you can easily create intimate furniture groupings?
Your furniture is a beautiful investment: it should take center stage. Why not pull your sofa away from the wall and place a console table behind it? The table makes a great spot for accessorizing and helps fill empty space.
Lighting conjures up a myriad of home decorating mistakes. You may have a single overhead fixture that bathes the room in bright light. Or you may be relying on a single table lamp to illuminate the entire room.
Tame that bright ceiling fixture with a dimmer. Dimmers are inexpensive and a breeze to install. That way, you can adjust the light to suit any activity or mood.
If you have to rely on lamps for illumination, make sure you have several that will provide ambient and task lighting. In an average size room, two table lamps and a floor lamp will provide ample light for general illumination and close tasks. Uplights, sconces and picture lights create a third layer of accent lighting.
If you have the budget and attic space, enlist the services of an electrician to install recessed fixtures or a junction box for a chandelier or ceiling fan with a light kit. You can add dimmers to those as well.
Matchy Matchy Rooms
Using too much of the same fabric or matched furniture sets in a room can result in decorating redundancy. This mistake is particularly common in bedrooms. Avoid purchasing bedding sets that include everything from a comforter and bedskirt to pillow shams and window treatments. While these sets require little creative thought, they can also leave you with a soulless room where everything seems too perfect.
If you rely on matched bedding and formulaic furniture groupings, you will tend to tire quickly of the static look and feel. One of the joys of decorating comes from creating unique combinations of colors, patterns, and textures. That’s the beauty of home design—it gives you the latitude for visual diversity and a space that reflects your individuality.
If you're a tentative decorator, hang onto this article for reference, grab a couple of the latest shelter magazines and check out your favorite decor blog. These will help you avoid a host of decorating mistakes and provide a wealth of ideas to create a beautiful home that suits your personality and lifestyle.
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© 2012 Linda Chechar