The HF List: How To Fix The Top 10 Decorating Mistakes

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

It's true that when it comes to decorating your home you should feel free to break the rules. As long as you're happy living in the home you've created, what does it matter if it doesn't suit your mother's taste? Although this holds true for most things, there are a few rules that should be obeyed. Domino magazine has compiled a list of the Top Ten Decorating Mistakes along with what you can do to fix them. Read on, and see if you're guilty of any of them (even I have fallen victim to one or two!).

Martin Stripe Silk Drape by Pottery Barn 

1. Curtains hung too low: It's a matter of tricking the eye- like how wearing vertical stripes makes you look taller. Hanging your curtains too far below the ceiling makes your walls look shorter. Hang 'em high- right at the ceiling- and your room will look larger than it really is.

2. Curtains too short: You shouldn't wear highwaters and neither should your walls! Curtains should hit the floor or break one inch beyond it.

Silhouette Chinois Green Duvet Set by Dwell Studio 

3. Too many throw pillows on the bed: Not only will any man in your life hate this, but it makes your bed look cluttered and small. Opt for two standrd pillow, a couple 18" pillows and one 14 x 20" in front of it. Clean and tailored.

4. Beds or sofas on the diagonal: Leave this one to the pros. It will leave you with an odd floor plan that is hard to place other pieces around. Try placing nightstands next to a bed sticking out of a corner (impossible!). Instead, keep things simple and place large pieces flush against the wall. It will give you more room to move around and open the room up more.

Organic Cotton Safari Duvet from West Elm  

5. Theme rooms: You'll see these a lot in model homes, but just say no to copying the look in your home! Whatever your theme is- animal prints, your favorite baseball team, etc.- stick to one of two things and leave it at that.

PB Basic Sofa from Pottery Barn 

6. Art hung too high: Art is meant to be looked at! That's why it's meant to be hung at eye level. Any higher and your guests will be craning their necks to check out your collection.

7. Stylish yet uncomfortable sofa: While antique sofas are beautiful, they aren't exactly practical. For your main living room, go for comfort. You're family will thank you. However, feel free to use the antiques in formal living rooms or bedrooms where it won't get as much use.

Rashida Jones' Manhatten studio apartment from Domino's February '08 issue
8. Rug too small for the room: A small rug just looks skimpy and out of place, rather than making a room look warm and inviting which is it's purpose. There are two ways to do rugs. Buy one large enough so that all of the furniture can sit on it, or smaller, so that all of the furniture sits just off of it. Large rugs can be expensive, so getting the smaller one and surrounding it with your sofa and chairs is a rule-abiding way to cut costs.

9. Pairs of everything: There's nothing wrong with having a matching pair of chairs or end tables. But when everything matches, it's too much of a good thing. Shake things up by getting two end tables in the same finish, but different styles. Instead of two matching candlesticks, try three or four completely different ones to make a pseudo-collection. Having a home that looks slightly imperfect is better than looking predictable!

10. Too bright overhead lighting: Think back to the last time you were in a dressing room. Pretty bad, huh? Take a lesson from that and go for a lower wattage in your home. Soft pink bulbs make skin look luminous in the bedroom. Bulbs in living rooms shouldn't exceed 65 watts. You'll notice a difference every time you look in the mirror. And if you don't spend your entire day at work, nothing beats daylight during the day!

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