Having visited hundreds of homes over the years, we’ve seen a lot of great ideas and even more decorating don’ts & near-misses. So, if you think there’s just something not quite right about your own decorating, you’re definitely not alone. As much as every home and its decor is unique in some way, the majority share common problems that we’ve helped fix. Over time, we’ve been able to compile a list of the most common decorating problems shared by those we’ve helped.
So here’s some FREE decorating therapy on how to recognize the problems you might have in your own home and some simple suggestions for fixing them.
The ten most common decorating problems, in no particular order, we encounter are:
Mini blinds and blinds in general are not window treatments! While they offer privacy and light control, they rarely enhance your decor. Try pairing them with floor-length fabric panels hung at least halfway between the ceiling and top of the window or higher for a more refined and decorative look. If you only want blinds, some treatments, like Hunter Douglas’ Silhouettes™ , offer clean-lined style combining the light control and privacy of a blind with a soft sheer treatment for a more contemporary look.
Changing colors in every room in your home creates sensory overload. Try painting your open common areas with different shades of the same color to unify those areas. In rooms closed off to the main living area by a door, you can be a little more random in color choices. Keep in mind, however, that a good color story includes repeating colors throughout the home. If you have a teal powder room, for example, then teal pillows on the family room sofa would be a good repetition of that color.
Artwork doesn’t have to match the color palette in your room but should compliment the style of your decor. Family photos are NOT artwork (see below). And most important of all, artwork should be paired with the furniture and other items in your room rather than hanging too far above them. Hang artwork about 6-8″ above a piece of furniture (i.e. sofa or table). And for free floating art, hang it approximately 60″ from the floor to the center of the piece.
Good design involves layering. From floor coverings, to accessories, to window treatments and more, layering elements rather than having a series of stand-alone objects helps create a cozier, more attractive design. Put an area rug in your room, even if it’s on top of carpet to create a ‘room within a room’. Rugs provide added color, pattern and visual interest. (NOTE: Don’t float a rug in the middle of the room. Instead, make sure it is touching/mated with the furniture in the room.) Feel free to stack books on the coffee table topped with a vase of flowers or your favorite accessories for more height and drama. Lamps are a great way to enhance your decor and fill in that void of “nothing”. And it’s ok if items overlap!
Overhead lighting isn’t the most flattering light for you or your decor. Spread at least three lamps evenly throughout a room trying to create a triangle of lighting when possible. This will help eliminate dark corners in the room, provide more flattering light and will add another layer (see #4) filling in the vertical void between the top of your seating furniture and the top of your window treatments or artwork.
While layering (#4) is great. Too much of a good thing, like too many color changes (#2) in a space, creates sensory overload. Your eye travels the room encountering so many elements that they all blend into visual noise. “Negative space” in design refers to the area around an object. Without ample negative space (think nothing) between accessories, artwork and furniture, you run the risk of having a space that looks cluttered rather than designed.
While most rooms are built around the expected furniture for their use, accessories are the detail that give the room personality and life. Finding the right balance between enough accessories and too many (See Clutter) is a problem that confounds many homeowners. If you need help, pay attention to the accessories the next time you shop for furniture. A well- merchandised furniture showroom will group accessories and keep them to a minimum. You should too!
It’s especially hard for more sentimental clients to give up the family photos they have all over their walls and tables. Having 1-2 larger photos on tables and nightstands is fine. For all your other framed family pics, consider creating a gallery wall mixed with 3D objects like clocks, word art etc… keep a couple of your favorite shots for side tables or night stands and restrict the rest to photo walls in hallways or similar spaces. You and your guests can enjoy the photos up close where faces are visible as opposed to viewing them from across the room.
Nothing is more predictable than buying everything on page 23 out of your favorite home decor catalog. We’ll just call that ‘Decorating for Dummies’ and leave it at that! While there are obvious exceptions like matching bedroom, dining or table sets, push yourself to think outside the box and create an eclectic mix of complimentary styles and finishes. And remember, wood tones do NOT have to match.
Trends are just that….temporary obsessions. Whether it’s a wall color like gray, or a specific pattern like chevron, fads come and go and can quickly “date” your decor. If you just have to have the latest and greatest in your decor, consider introducing it in small amounts and in things that are easily changed. In other words, don’t upholster your sofa with paisley fabric. Save that, instead, for the throw pillows you can replace when the next trend comes along.
As you can see, many of the most common decorating problems we encounter are multi-faceted. One problem and its solution can impact other decisions you make as you take inventory of your own decor. As you look around and reevaluate your own decorating choices and pitfalls, hopefully these tips will help you Fix It Yourself in no time.
Happy Decorating from Decor Designs. 815-245-2433