It doesn’t matter whether you are well informed on interior design or just have a passing interest in making your home look nice, we are all guilty of making mistakes when decorating our homes.
We can blame it on oversight, ignorance or just trying something new (and failing) but the best way to avoid making a design faux pas is to educate yourself first and - armed with knowledge - understand where you can potentially go wrong.
Now, let’s make one thing clear: I’m not one for feeling like all rules in design need to be followed. In fact, I very often break what are seen as ‘rules’ in décor but there are a few things that are actually best avoided and that’s what I’d like to share here today. These are small mistakes that I see repeated over and over again and yet, are so easily avoided!
Mistake #1: All Your Furniture is from a Matching Set
Long gone are the days where stepping into a furniture showroom and purchasing the three-piece suite with the matching coffee table, sideboard and bookshelf was a sign of affluence. Today, nothing makes a room look more flat and boring than matching all your pieces. Try curating different styles, finishes and colours for a more collected and considered vibe that will show off your creativity and flair for a space that’s uniquely you – and not straight out of a catalogue.
Mistake #2: Curtains that End at the Windowsill
I always feel strangely anxious when I see curtains that don’t fall all the way to the floor. I can only imagine that the curtains are scared sitting way up there on the wall, afraid of what might be lurking below! Curtains should always just touch the floor or “break” on the floor by no more than around an inch. And hang them high – around 1”-3” from your ceiling – to make your ceilings look taller. At the other extreme, unless you live in a huge stately home, avoid the long window dressings that pool all over the floor - you’ll be tripping over them or they will forever be collecting dust. If you have a window where a longer curtain isn’t suitable (perhaps in a bay or where there’s a radiator), use a roman blind or a valance to add softness and texture or shutters to add character – just don’t go with short window dressings, please!
Mistake #3: Pushing All Your Furniture Against the Wall
Less common in larger rooms than in smaller spaces, this is a mistake that’s easily avoided. “Floating” some of your furniture creates a more intimate atmosphere for conversation and creates a look less like a doctor’s waiting room. Back a sideboard behind a sofa to pull it out from against the wall or consider floating two smaller chairs and use a small side table between them to give the chairs an anchor.
It may seem easy to go into your local DIY store, find a colour that looks nice on the tin and slap it up on the wall. But colours react differently to both quality as well as quantity of natural light and will change according to which way your room is facing. It’s always better to purchase a few tester pots of similar colours with different strengths and undertones, paint them on a sheet of large white paper with around an inch of white all around and paste these up to the different walls in the room. Pay attention to how the colours change in the light throughout the day – the bold blue may go more green than you’d anticipated or the pale grey may look more lavender then it did in the shops. Better to be sure of the colour than to have to waste time and money repainting.
Mistake #5: Hanging Artwork Too High
Again, whenever I walk into a living room and see art work hanging 2 feet above the sofa, I immediately feel as though the art work is trying somehow to escape up the wall! Artwork should be hung at eye level and in a living room, your eye level is naturally lower when you are seated. So hang art around 6 - 10 inches above the back of a sofa for a cosy, cohesive look. Also, pay attention to the scale of your artwork – a larger wall will normally demand a larger scaled piece so that it doesn’t look lost.
Mistake #6: Choosing a Rug That’s Too Small
A rug should be large enough that all the front legs of your furniture should be able to sit upon it. Measure out the size you need based upon that measurement and always opt for a larger rug than a smaller rug. Small rugs tend to look like postage stamps when they are only under your coffee table, visually making your room appear smaller.
Mistake #7: Furniture That’s Not to Scale
Speaking of scale, a really large armchair beside a tiny settee, a petite piece of art above a sprawling corner sofa, or a bedside table that’s higher than your mattress will look off-scale. Make sure the pieces you choose not only fit the room but also fit the scale of those pieces around it. This will create a cohesive look for your space. When choosing furniture for a room, ensure it fits the room properly! This means tiny pieces won’t look like they are floating in an ocean and you won’t be climbing over larger pieces to find a spot to sit. It also means avoiding a postage stamp-sized coffee table in front of a large sprawling sectional or a dining table where you can’t properly push out the chairs. Take your measurements before bringing it home from the shop and make sure it fits the space you have.
Kimberly Duran is an award-winning interior design blogger who chronicles her decorating journey in her blog, Swoon Worthy. Her style is unashamedly eclectic, bohemian and glamorous and when she's not helplessly drooling over design websites and adding things to the imaginary 'shopping basket' in her head, she likes to get messy tackling DIY projects, stalking eBay for bargains, taking Instagram pictures of her cats and investing time in her ongoing love affair with gold spray paint.
Feature Image Source: Lonny