The Biggest Decorating Don'ts
Don't let these dead giveaways reveal that you aren’t a savvy decorator. Design with confidence by avoiding our biggest decorating don'ts.
Whether you're a seasoned design pro or you're trying to tackle a new home or room for the very first time, there is a lot to keep in mind when pulling together the perfect space. From patterns, textures, and lighting to colors, pillows, and art (and all of the details in between), it’s easy to accidently make a decorating decision that might be a dead giveaway that you're not such a solid decorator after all. But don't you worry. We've got your back. To help you create a polished, confident design that shows off your personality while following simple design standards, we've pulled together a list of the biggest decorating don'ts to keep in mind during every step of your design process. Take a look to know exactly what to avoid and find some foolproof formulas for designing right. Before you know it, your friends will be asking you for your expert design advice.
Badly Hung Art
Make sure that all of your art (unless you’re doing a gallery wall) hangs at eye level rather than too low or too high on your wall. You want to make sure that your guests are not craning their necks to see the beautiful paintings in your home. Not sure if you've got it in the right spot? It never hurts to get a second opinion.
Proper area rugs need to ground a room and should fill the whole floor leaving a one-foot border around all four walls. All the room’s furniture should fit on an area rug. Sisal and sea grass are great area rugs and look even better when layered with colorful or threadbare rugs on top.
Color by Numbers Decorating
Using color can be intimidating, but the rule of thumb is to use at least three colors – one anchor and two accent shades. The anchor, typically a neutral, gives you a canvas to work with while your accent shades are brighter, more contrasting colors with personality. This will give you rooms with depth and interest instead of a flat, two-color room.
Decorating isn’t a one-stop shop process. You want rooms that feel collected rather than purchased. To do this, you’ll need to get a mix of furniture with different style and a variety of finishes rather than a matching suite of furniture. Finding these unique pieces and creating your own décor collection takes time, so don't try to tackle it all in just one shopping trip.
Too Much Leg
When placing your furniture, step back and take a look at the room from the ground level. If all you’re seeing are wooden legs, you’ll need to add in some softness with either a table skirt or skirted chairs or sofas. This will give the space some much-needed balance.
Hiding Your Personality
Your home should reflect you and your family’s interests. Layer your rooms with books you read and accessorize (artfully) with souvenirs from travels or objects that you adore. Sprinkle some family photos around in nice frames to really make your home a reflection of the love shared within its walls.
Taking Up All the Oxygen in the Room
Knowing how to edit a space is just as important as knowing what to put into a room. Everyone talks all about the “mix,” but the best way to keep your mix from overwhelming or clashing is to leave plenty of white space to balance out the statement pieces and patterns in a room.
If you’ve wisely invested in a neutral sofa or chairs, the easiest way to punch them up is with patterned pillows. However, you’ll need to spend the extra time playing with your pillows to scale them with the sofa so they’ll stand out. If you have the extra dime, splurge on down-fill rather than poly. They are more comfortable for you and rest better on furniture.
Don’t limit your room’s design with pieces that are all the same (or similar) size. For some visual variety, vary the heights of your furniture pieces to heighten a room’s interest. You’ll need to add height with case goods like a secretary, attractive table lamps, and artwork to keep eyes roving.
Bedding in a Bag
Let’s leave the bedding in a bag set back in your college dorm room. Instead, invest in comfy and classic white basics: sheeting; two white euro shams; a white bed skirt; and a white duvet cover. Spice up the all-white look with a brightly patterned coverlet and pillow (or two).