Decorating is not just a fun way to change the look of your house - decorating is an art. In theory one just has to buy good-looking furniture and put it in the living room, but in reality there is so much more to it. Here are 15 decorating mistakes you don't even know you're making on your journey to the perfect room.
1. Using only one source of lighting
Although you may be tempted to play up natural lighting in your rooms, it can fall short of your expectations. Natural lighting is wonderful, but it is also changeable depending on the time of day, weather, and seasons. Good lighting is of the very important, which makes it very easy to do wrong. You should have multiple points of light in each room, so utilize ceiling lights, lamps, and add a skylight if you don’t have one. Dimmers are great, as they can be adjusted to your needs – and not just in your living room, but in bedrooms and bathrooms as well.
2. Laying down toilet rugs
The toilet rug is a look best left in your childhood memories. While it may seem practical to buy a rug that fits around the toilet (and sometimes with a matching seat cover) the impression it leaves it outdated and possibly unhygienic. Instead, get a small rectangular rug for the space a few inches in front of your toilet. The finished look will appear much neater.
Of course you want to show off your beautiful family and their accomplishments in your house, but the side effect may be that you’re cluttering up your shelve space and mantle with photos. Control your sentiment with a gallery wall space of your favorite pictures (and you can switch them out, no hard commitments). Put the rest of the photographs in an album and place it within easy reach on a coffee table.
4. Ignoring the foyer
Just because it is a small space doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do with a foyer. This area usually goes forgotten and neglected, but don’t be afraid to dress it up. Make your foyer a statement area: add in a small table for your mail and keys, paint the wall a funky color, and add a mirror to make the space seem bigger. Even if your guests don’t linger there, it will create a great first impression of the house.
5. Buying furniture in sets
While you may love the look of the living room in your Pottery Barn catalog, no one actually wants to live in a Pottery Barn catalog. You do want the rooms in your house to feel lived-in so you and your guests will feel comfortable there. Your furniture should reflect your own personal style – which probably doesn’t include a sofa and chairs that match exactly. Use catalogs as guides, but don’t be afraid to branch out and embrace your own creativity
6. Not taking measurements
Make sure that you take measurements of your living space before buying furniture, and especially in the case of buying an area rug. This is a case where “eyeballing it” just won’t do. Furniture shouldn’t be pushed back against the wall, but in the middle of the room for a cozier effect. A good way to center everything is to make sure each piece of furniture is touching the area rug, so if you buy one that is too small you’ll have to cram your furniture in around it. That won’t be comfortable for anyone, not to mention the room will look cluttered instead of elegant. So make sure you know your size limits before you bring anything home.
Just because you want your room to match doesn’t mean it should turn into a brown color palette for the eyes. A room can coordinate without matching exactly. Utilize accent pieces like throw pillows in patterns and colors that being vibrancy to the room. The pillows don’t have to match each other, either – mix patterns or neutral colors to bring the room together. Another way to avoid too much “sameness” is to travel to different stores and markets to buy your furniture. It’s like putting together an outfit: a color-coordinated outfit looks boring until you match it with a bold necklace to stand out.
8. Painting first
While it may seem like a good idea to pick the wall color and then decorate the room around that color scheme, it will also make your job much harder. Finding furniture fabrics and upholstery that match will really narrow your search options, especially in furniture pieces you like. Pick the furniture first, then see the colors will go well with it – you will have many more choices.
9. Making each room its own art exhibit
Your house should be a show of your collective style, so there should be a flow between each room. This does not mean you have to use the same colors throughout your house, but they should be harmonious. If one room is strictly pastels and another is all bold colors, it will be an eyesore. Just don’t go to any extremes, and don’t separate the spaces with different flooring in each room either. A good wooden floor can spread over from one room to the next
10. Wallpapering the entire room
Wallpapering an entire room is just not necessary, and it can make the room feel smaller; not to mention these days most people prefer to simply paint their walls. But wallpaper is a great tool to use – choose an accent wall to be the focal area and the wallpaper print can really open up a room.
11. Not spreading out your favorite pieces
It may be tempting to put all of your favorite pieces of furniture in the living room, but resist. Throwing all of your favorite rugs and knick knacks in one space is going to overstimulate your company when they come over, not to mention you can be using those pieces in other areas of the house. Put some of your favorite photographs or paintings in your hallways and bedrooms! And, instead of spreading your knick knacks around on the room’s surfaces, try grouping them together in just one or two areas.
12. Choosing fashion over function
Just because a piece looks good doesn’t mean it belongs in your living room. What’s the point of having a cool, futuristic-looking couch if your family isn’t comfortable sitting on it? Why have 5 throw pillows if the kids need to throw them on the floor just to have room to sit? Don’t let your furniture sit there like a beautiful but useless art piece. It’s the seating arrangements that will keep people gathered in your living room, so buy the couch your room deserves. And remember, it will look different in the store than at home in your smaller space.
13. Hanging fixtures at the wrong height
Many people make the mistake of hanging their art too high and their window treatments too low. Instead of having your art floating on the wall, bring it down a bit so the middle of the piece is about eye level (around 5 foot, 6 inches). If this brings it close to your furniture, that’s okay. If your curtain rod is too low, it’s going to make the room look short – hanging it up higher makes the ceiling look higher, too. About a foot above the trim should change the look of your room for the better.
14. Buying cheap, not inexpensive
While saving money is important, it’s better to buy a good piece of furniture that will last than a couch that will need replacing in four years…or sooner. Sometimes that extra-long couch is being sold cheap for a reason, and it’ll break the first time you have a group of people sit on it. Focus on quality. Your furniture is going to be with you for a while.
15. Playing it safe
Sure, we all want our living spaces to look perfect, but sometimes “perfect” is pretty boring. It’s okay to forego tradition and make a room that’s right just for you; add a strange art piece that you love, buy sofas of different fabrics or furniture made from a variety of materials, and paint the room any color that appeals to you. At the end of the day you’re the one who is going to have to enjoy that space for years to come, so don’t hold back.