Do you ever look at images of gorgeous spaces online or in magazines and wonder why your rooms don’t look like that? Professional designers and stylists are working with big budgets to create those looks. But there are some easy improvements you can make in your space without spending a dime. Here are the top five decorating mistakes I see frequently that you can fix in your home today!
1. Furniture lineup – Is your furniture all standing against the walls like its been accused of a crime? This is a common decorating mistake that not only looks weird, it usually means your seating is placed too far apart for comfortable conversation. Bring some of those pieces into the center of the room and aim to keep your furniture groupings within an area nine feet in diameter. It’s a simple fix that will keep your guests from having to shout to talk to one another.
2. Interrogation lighting – To use another police-themed metaphor, are you relying on a single overhead light in your room that makes you feel like you’re under interrogation? Maybe you still have that old floor lamp that bounces light off the ceiling? Those are not sufficient to light your living space! Overhead lights are harsh and unflattering, so bring in some table lamps with soft white bulbs to set a relaxing mood at home. This fix might require a trip to the store, but first shop your basement (or a friend’s) for old lamps that can be refreshed with a new shade or a coat of paint.
3. Artwork too high – I hear from a lot of folks who are uncertain about where to hang artwork, and most people end up placing it far too high on the wall. Your pictures and prints should be at eye level, so a good rule is to hang them with the center of the piece hitting at 60 inches up from the floor. In a space like a dining room where artwork will be viewed mostly while seated, it can be even lower. Using a center height guideline for different sized artwork gives consistency to your space, and you won’t need to worry about lining frames up by their top or bottom edges.
4. Too matchy-matchy – Does your home resemble a furniture showroom, with everything upholstered in the same fabric and end tables that match the coffee table that matches the media stand? Designers select pieces that compliment one another but don’t match in order to create spaces that look like they were accumulated over time, not during one afternoon spent at Raymour & Flanigan. Try bringing in a patterned accent chair or rearranging some of your tables from room to room to give your home a more interesting look.
5. Tons of little accessories – Tchotchkes scattered around a room on every available surface can make it look cluttered and dated. Instead, pare down and rely on a few bigger accent pieces for maximum impact. If you have a beloved collection of small items you want to display, place them all together on one bookshelf or table. They will have a much greater impact as a group and won’t make your room look like a thrift store.
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Make it fab!