25 worst decorating mistakes and how to avoid them

From hanging artwork too high to buying too many accessories, our expert shares 25 of the worst decorating mistakes and offers tips on how to avoid them. 

By Karl Lohnes

25 worst decorating mistakes and how to avoid them: 1-7
Photography by ©iStockphoto.com/dem10
1. Purchasing furniture before measuring a room
In their excitement, many homeowners buy furnishings before taking possession of their new homes. However, when the furniture arrives, often it doesn’t fit through the door or it’s too long or deep for the room. Rather than making buying decisions based solely on a floor plan, live in your space for a while. You’ll make better choices.

2. Highlighting wimpy trim and moulding
Everyone thinks they have to highlight baseboards and trim by painting them white. But if your trim is 3½ inches or smaller, paint it the same colour as the wall so it blends in; otherwise, you’ll end up with a racing-stripe effect around the
room. Another great tip: Paint your baseboards, walls and crown moulding the same colour to make the ceiling feel higher.

3. Going without a headboard

The head of the bed is the focal point of any bedroom, but many people tend to overlook the headboard. If you prefer not to have one, add interest with eye-catching artwork or a decorative tapestry, or paint the wall behind the bed a dramatic colour.

4. Buying area rugs that are too small
An area rug should allow for a 12- to 16-inch border of flooring around a room’s perimeter; anything more and the rug will look insignificant. Remember: The front legs of your furniture should sit on the area rug, so the rug doesn’t appear to float in the middle of the room.

5. Trying to hide your TV
If watching television is the primary activity done in your living room, it’s silly not to embrace it. Work the screen into your decorating scheme by adding touches of black or dark grey elsewhere in the room, with accessories such as picture frames, lamp shades, curtain rods and
side tables.

6. Choosing paint colours first
You’ll drive yourself crazy trying to find a bedspread that perfectly matches the shade of smoky plum you already painted the bedroom walls. Instead, invest in the bedspread you’ve fallen for, and let one of the colours from its pattern inform your paint colour. Remember: Although there are thousands of paint colours on the market, there are only a handful of fabrics that will really speak to you.

7. Having more than one focal point in a room
Every space needs a focal point, but most people never figure out where those focal points actually are. In the living room, the focal point is either the TV, fireplace or window view – whichever one you enjoy most. In the bedroom, it’s the headboard; in the bathroom, the vanity area.


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