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10 Decorating Mistakes to Avoid

This example of a pretty perfect interior from Sherrill Canet Interiors for the 2010 Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse shows just how to make it all come together with no mistakes.

Photo by Laura Fenton via Shelter Pop

Not one of these 10 decorating mistakes shows up in the room above.

1. Matching every fabric or item in a room – I learned this as an intern while frantically trying to match a bunch of fabrics..  If every piece of fabric matches perfectly it looks both contrived and boring.  Colors can be a little off.  Adding another color, not part of the scheme as a “punch of color” adds interest and personality.  Look how dull this kitchen is with everything the same tone, blah.

Photo via Luxury Homes

2.  Beds or sofas on a diagonal – This just makes it impossible to use bedside tables or end tables and often leaves the room very unbalanced.

3. Painting one wall a different color – Unless the wall is architecturally unique or used to feature the most important item in a room, such as a bed in a bedroom there is no reason to change the wall color from the others.  This can cause discomfort as well as quizzical looks from guests, “what were they thinking?”

4. Too many pillows – If using a sofa or bed requires moving copious amounts of pillows there are too many.  The purpose of a pillow is to enhance comfort not showcase just one more fabric.

5. Artwork too high on the wall – Hang like a museum, center artwork at eye level which is typically 5′ off the floor.

6. Forcing a look – The look of a home should work with the architecture of a home not fight it.  Southwestern style looks best in the southwest, not in Connecticut.

7. Fabric hung over a wire hook and called drapery – Can we please kill the swag?  The bad one where a  36″ wide width of fabric (this is dressmaker fabric – interior fabrics are typically 54″ wide) is slung through something resembling a metal knot or spiral sticking out of the wall.   If it resembles a scarf, it is not a drapery treatment.  If it just looks like hanging fabric… no.

8. Over sized chairs – These are also called a “chair and a half.”  I have to be brutal here, these are just stupid.  Why take up the space for two when a piece can only seat one?  Super sized chairs with humongous arms can be more frightening than comfortable.

9. Too many accessories – Cramming too many things into a room starts to remind one of the Victorian’s we all poo-pooed. An accessory should enhance a room not just fill a space.  Leave areas empty.  Negative space is a useful design tool which allows a sense of luxury and rest.

10. Over decorating – One never wants a guest to feel afraid or uncertain where to sit down and this is a common occurrence in a room so over “done.”  Order, and perfection are nice but a little juxtaposition offers a sense of comfort and ease.

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4 Responses to 10 Decorating Mistakes to Avoid

  1. Ha. Good points everyone of them!

  2. Love the gorgeous room in your first image, and yes, such good points with rooms to prove it…thrilled to find and follow your blog!!