Design 101: 4 Common Decorating Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

There is so much gray area when it comes to decorating. Everyone has their own style and ways of doing things. Decorating is subjective; it allows us creatives to take risks with things like color, art, and accessories. This can be seen as a gift and a curse. While I love the freedom of expression and personality that is captured in decorating; there are some things that are just downright awkward.

Full disclosure: decorating mistakes happen to the best of us. This includes design professionals. This includes me. I'm able to write this post with such candor because I'd like to think that I've learned from these rookie decor snafus. So let's take a walk down memory lane as we discuss common decorating mistakes (that I've made) and how to avoid them.

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Not Testing Colors Before Painting-Decorating Mistake #1

When my husband and I first moved to Atlanta, we bought a gorgeous one bedroom condo in the City. It was built in 1925 and had plastered walls, squeaky original hardwood floors, and crown molding that was swoon worthy. I was in love.

Before we moved in, we decided to have the entire space professionally painted. The condo was only 990 square feet and the living room and sitting room took up at least half of that space. So knowing this, I decided to choose a burnt orange for the living room and a deep chocolate for the sitting room. Yes you read that right. I chose 2 of the darkest colors on the planet to make an already small space feel..smaller.

Although there was lots of natural light coming in from the 3 windows in each room, the space felt moody and dark ALL. THE. TIME. I lived with this decorating mistake for 5 years. I now know the importance of testing out paint colors in a space with both natural and artificial lighting before you make a commitment. I've also learned that paint colors will look different depending on what direction your space is facing. Rooms facing north, south, east and west will affect paint colors differently depending on the direct amount of sunlight each space receives. I know that sounds weird but it's true. Learn more about it here.

Not Measuring a Space-Decorating Mistake #2

You walk into a store and see a sofa that makes you do a happy dance. Its just what you've been looking for and it's within your budget! Before you can blink twice; you've handed over your credit card and arranged a delivery date for your new beauty. Within a week it arrives and is set up in your living room. Although it looks the same as what you saw in the store; there is something slightly different about it. As you stare around the room, it hits you like a ton of bricks- your lovely sofa is too big for your space. Many people make this decorating mistake of purchasing things on the spot before measuring. It's important to understand the scale of your space and measure how much room you have for large furnishings before you make a purchase. I would also suggest to maybe sketch a very general plan of your space to get an idea of your layout and to understand what may or may not fit. This will save you money and feelings of sofa resentment in the future.

Choosing the Wrong Rug Size-Decorating Mistake #3

Choosing the wrong rug size ties in with proportion and scale. A rug that is too small will get lost under furnishings and a rug too large will make a room feel small and cluttered. This is a common decorating mistake but it doesn't have to be! A general rule of thumb is that the room size and furniture layout will dictate the size of the area rug. And bigger is better; you want to select a rug that is large enough to have the furniture placed entirely on the rug or at a minimum just the front legs.

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Lack of Focal Point-Decorating Mistake #4

A lack of a focal point makes a space feel chaotic. On the other hand, creating a focal point gives a room direction and order. Its the statement piece in a room that the eye lands on when entering the space. A TV or fireplace is an obvious focal point. However; there are others that stand out and can make a room feel grand. Try using large artwork or a floral arrangement. Your space will look well thought out and balanced. In the picture above there is a beautiful chaos occurring with all the patterns, colors and textures however; its pretty obvious that the focal point is the dog snoozing on the couch. I kid-your eyes should immediately be drawn towards the gorgeous artwork display.

"When you know better, you do better" is such a true statement. These are simple mistakes that are easily overlooked when starting a project. However; my common decorating mistakes doesn't have to be your common decorating mistakes. Now that I've shared my dirty decor laundry with you, its time for you to do the same! Schedule a decor session and let's get your design dilemmas worked out before you get started on that next project.

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