Mistakes are no fun. Expensive decorating mistakes are definitely no fun. So when oprah.com (yep, I freaked out too) reached out about pulling some of my biggest mistakes and fails together to help us all out from committing them over and over I of course said yes and took a little trip down memory lane to see which I had committed (oops) and which I keep constantly seeing. Here is what I came up with below as well as how to easily fix them, and be sure to head over to her site to read the entire story and see the pictures.
The Same Size Throw Pillows:
Have you ever come home after confidently picking out a clutch of new decorative pillows for your couch only to realize that something looks wrong about the combo? Remember the rule of three’s – which basically means that items arranged in groups of 3’s appear more visually beautiful, compelling and interesting. Each pillow should be a slightly different size. I typically go for one 20″ square, one, 16-18″ square and then a lumbar pillow to keep it visually interesting. Just as you wouldn’t want to dress your body with 3 outlandish patterns, so it goes with the pillows on your couch. Try to keep one a solid, one a smaller pattern, and the third can either be a neutral pattern like a stripe or tonal texture.
Arranging Furniture Against The Walls:
No matter how big or small your space is, your furniture should always have some room to breath. No one likes a wallflower at a party that quietly sips thier drink in the corner of the room, and the same is true for your furniture. Pull those wallflowers off the wall and get them into the party (or into the room in this case). That means your couch should be 2-3″ off the wall and your arm or accent chairs should be arranged to your couch rather than loitering against the walls. Giving everything a little more space and pushing it into the room will help everything to feel more conversational and less static.
Curtains Hung Just Off:
We all know if curtains are hung too low they make your windows look visually smaller and block out some of the natural light. And although hanging them at the ceiling may seem like the solution, . for a better placement, split the distance between the top of the window frame and the ceiling line into thirds and hang the rod in the top 3rd. You will also want the rod to continue 6-8″ beyond your window on either side so that when your curtains are pulled back the window visually appears larger and the curtains don’t block the windows.
This Particular Size Rug:
Everyone thinks they can get away with an 8×10 in their living room as they are so readily available at retailers, but unless you have a smaller scale living room or live in a less-than-huge studio apartment, your living room will likely need a 9×12. If you are unsure, do yourself a favor before you head out shopping and measure the area of your room where the furniture will be. Your rug should be at least 3 feet wider than your sofa length and the front feet of your furniture should all comfortably fit onto the rug without it all feeling too cramped.
Art Done Wrong:
Art is tricky and very subjective, but no matter what you put on your walls, it is better to go bigger and to always hang at eye level. That means if your wall was split up into quadrants from the floor to ceiling you would hang the center of the piece in the third quadrant. If you have a large wall then consider a few different pieces or a gallery wall to fill the space and engage as much of the wall as possible.
The Wrong Type of Lighting:
When it comes to lighting there are a few different types: diffused (fabric shade), directional (metal shade or spotlight), and accent lighting (decorative) All too often people buy based purely on looks vs function. For example, you found the perfect sculptural sconce with a metal shade but end up disappointed when the metal shade casts a heavy spotlight directly below rather than an ambient glow in that part of the room. To combat this, remember that the majority of your lighting should cast a diffused glow, and that you can accent with directional and decorative. Another common mistake—only having overhead lighting—is equally challenging. As the sun sets, it will cast a very unflattering light on both you and the room. When selecting lighting, bring all three types in to illuminate from different levels.
Impulse Furniture Purchases:
There is nothing worse than buying a couch in the showroom, having it shipped to your house and then finding out it is the wrong scale to make the best use of your space. To avoid this, measure not just the room but also the space where most of the furniture will go—especially the big pieces, like sofas, dressers, dining tables. Showrooms tend to make everything look slightly smaller than it is in reality, because of the large spaces, the ample amount of light, and the tall ceilings. So, although a few inches doesn’t seem like it will make a big difference in purchasing the right sofa it can when it doesn’t quite fit with the wall space that you have.