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Here are some of my best tips to help you avoid those pesky decorating mistakes:
5 Most Common Design Mistakes to Avoid
- Starting with Paint color. During my years as an interior designer, I saw clients time and again come in with a paint color that they had just used to paint a room, wanting to choose furnishings and fabrics. This is so much more difficult. I always recommend choosing the fabrics or items that you like first – even if it’s just one item that you love, like art for instance – and then choose the paint color. As a general rule, I like to start with an inspiration piece… either fabric or art work that the client absolutely loves and build from there.
- Window Treatment hung too low. Oh, goodness. We all know what this looks like, and yet some of us can’t figure out how to fix it. Here’s my rule of thumb: Take that window treatment as near to the ceiling as you can. If you have nice, deep crown molding, take curtains right up to it. There are exceptions to any rule, of course, and one exception might be a roman shade that is designed to fit within the window frame. But 99% (I would say 100%, but there’s always the 1%, right?) of the time you should take window treatments up to the ceiling. In the following photo, we took the client’s curtains up to the ceiling, as well as added width to them beyond the actual dimensions of the window. It truly made the window look much more substantial, even though it was the same small window.
- Art hung too high. OK, we know what this looks like too, don’t we? Sometimes artwork just doesn’t look quite right but we can’t put our finger on why. Usually it’s due to one of two reasons: the object is the wrong scale, or it’s installed too high. If the scale is right, make sure to hang art at eye level. And it should hang roughly 6-8 inches above a mantel, sofa, buffet, entry table or other piece of furniture.
- Getting Scale Wrong. We’ve all walked into rooms that were crammed too full with furniture, haven’t we? This is an easy mistake to make, and is very common. You might fall in love with a sofa and simply have to have it, and when it’s delivered, barely fits in the room. Get in the habit of shopping with a tape measure. Keep a small one in your bag. Also keep a notebook with room measurements so that when you shop, you can measure the piece and know right away whether or not it will fit. Thankfully, we have seen a trend of scaling back the size of furniture pieces by manufacturers. A decade or so ago, the market was flooded with over-stuffed, over-scaled pieces that few homes could successfully pull off.
- Furniture hugging walls. Many folks are afraid to pull their furniture pieces away from the walls and out into the room. But we can even change how our space functions just by bringing the furniture into the room a bit. You can make your furniture arrangements much more conversational and inviting by simply clustering them bit and pulling them into the room instead of lining the walls. Pay attention to traffic patterns, and make the furniture placement function in such a way that improves traffic flow.
These are my top 5 most common design mistakes to avoid. There are others, of course, and we will cover them from time to time here at Sondra Lyn at Home. Make sure to check in often for more decor and design tips!
Here’s a printable PDF file, if you’d like to print and take the tip sheet with you when you shop for home decor: