1. Don’t over-furnish your room
It doesn’t take much for a room to turn from well planned and thought out to one that closely resembles a dumping ground of collected furniture and accessories. Your furniture should fill your space and create a space that is both appealing as well as functional. There should be enough space in the room to create movement and flow. A room should never look and feel cramped. If it does, try moving or removing one piece to see if this helps.
2. Don’t try to squeeze into something that doesn’t fit.
Like a pair of jeans that are too small, furniture must also fit. Furniture that is too small will make your room seem unbalanced and awkward and might even make it seem more like a dollhouse – this is certainly not a look we’re after! Conversely, a room whose furniture is too large will also feel unbalanced and cramped.
Before you move your furniture, and certainly before you purchase new furniture – whether couches, tables, dressers or beds – be sure to measure both the furniture as well as the room, for height, width, and depth. Not doing so could end up being a very costly mistake.
3. Don’t be a clutter-bug!
There’s no need to over-clutter. In terms of accessories, less is more, as with furniture. A sense of order balance, calm, flow and movement are essential to any well-decorated space. When there is too much clutter there is too much distraction and order becomes discord. Clutter can be easily remedied by removing a few things. Take a look at what you have and divide them into three categories:
- The things that matter
- The things that are important
- Those things that you can do without.
- Remove all that you can do without. If necessary repeat until you have removed enough items and order and balance has been restored.
4. Don’t be a victim of poor lighting.
Lighting is key. It is one of the most important elements of design. Your space should have as much natural lighting as possible. Do not block natural light sources with poorly placed curtains and accessories. Even a cloudy day allows for a lot of natural light to pour in. Enhance natural light with the placement of mirrors directly across your source to allow the light to bounce around the room. You will want to add to your overhead lighting.
You should have more than one source illuminating your room. Add proportionally sized and well-placed lamps and sconces to enhance your lighting when needed. Your lighting should be bright enough to function under but not so bright that it is jarring. Dimmers should be added to all ceiling and overhead lighting
5. Don’t pick your furniture before you pick your paint colors.
Choosing your paint color before your furnishings (couches, rugs, etc.) It will be much harder to match to match furniture to an already painted wall than the other way around. We suggest working first with your couch or couches. Do bring fabric swatches to your paint store to help select your color palette. This mistake is common and can create more work for yourself while designing your interiors.
Bring several paint swatches home and test again at home. We also strongly encourage you to test out several shades of your preferred color on your walls before you start painting them. While paint swatches are very accurate a room’s natural lighting at various stages of the day does change and this will affect the color of your walls. Leave your paint swatches on for at least 24 hours before selecting your final color.
6. Don’t underestimate the importance of budgeting.
Don’t be too eager. Don’t buy too much. Don’t buy everything all at once. And don’t overspend. Buy the best that you can afford today – not what you think you will be able to afford tomorrow. Make a budget and stick to it. You don’t have to have everything all at once. A well-decorated space is one that is curated over time so it’s best to go slowly and build slowly.
7. Not enough variety.
Don’t buy all your stuff from the same source or store. You do want everything to coordinate, but you don’t want everything to match. A well-decorated space has personality and dimension and this simply cannot happen if everything looks the same. You may want to recreate a look from your favorite mail order catalog, but chances are your space will still not look the same.
8. Don’t hide your windows.
Hanging curtain rods too low is a very common mistake. Curtain rods should be hung as close to the ceiling as possible to create a sense of height and largess. Rods that are hung too low make a ceiling feel lower, and can make a room feel a lot smaller than it is. A sense of scale and proportion has been tossed and most likely windows will appear dwarfed and valuable, natural sunlight will be blocked.
9. Don’t back your furniture up against the walls.
This may be, perhaps, the most common mistake novices make. What you want to do is to push your furniture together and create an intimate setting that is conducive to good conversation. By creating this grouping you will create a flow that will allow people to move in between and around the furniture.
By pushing the pieces together you’re creating a small scene. Of course, we are not telling you not to place any furniture along the walls, we just don’t want you to put it all there… unless you’re planning on having a large party and want to create a dance floor in the middle!
10. Don’t have a focal point.
A focal point gives you direction and order. Find that one thing that you want people to take notice of when they enter a room. It should be something large and bold – something that makes a statement. Opt for something like a large bay window, fireplace or a large piece of artwork. Work from there and build out and around it. Your room will look well thought out, organized and balanced. It is possible, and acceptable, to have more than one focal point.