Avoiding Common Decorating Mistakes

by : Jerry Clifford

When it comes to decorating, there are so many choices available. You'll find dozens of magazines, internet ideas and design centers just waiting to share their products with susceptible new decorators. A design project can be an overwhelming experience, and the final result is not always what you planned for. Here are some design tips to help you avoid some of the more common errors.

  1. The goal of paint is to enhance your rugs and furniture. Keeping this in mind, you should choose your carpeting, furniture, and room fabrics before choosing your paint colors.

  2. Try not to use more than three types of flooring in the home, and each should flow logically from room to room. Even expensive products can look more like a patchwork quilt if over used.

  3. Unless your goal is to feature the ceiling, your dining room chandelier shouldn't hang more than 36" to 42" above the dining room table. It should be about 9" - 12" smaller than the width of the table.

  4. Artwork should be hung at eye level. Use white or ivory colored matting; so as to avoid detracting from the artwork itself.

  5. When choosing accent pieces, stick to larger pieces. They have a stronger presence and eye appeal than numerous small decorations.

  6. Lighting is for more than just reading, and should also be used to accentuate artwork or other decorations.

  7. Don't be too quick to paint your ceiling white. Rooms with walls painted in pastel colors look good with white ceilings. For more traditional interiors, try using an ivory or antique white. Other common ceiling colors include pale yellow, pink or blue.

  8. Impulse buying can be fun, but make sure you've measured the space this new piece of furniture will be occupying. A common mistake is purchasing a sofa or cabinet that doesn't fit properly in the room, or is too large for the door openings.

  9. Too many new decorators plan great color schemes, but get cold feet when they get to the paint store. Instead of using that bold chocolate brown shade, they opt for a washed out beige that doesn't complete the look they were aiming for. Once you decided on a plan - be brave and go for it!

  10. The most common decorating mistake occurs when people react to trends and don't take the time to plan out their design project. Keep a file of decorating ideas and gradually work out a scheme that fits.

  11. Don't underestimate the power of a good designer. You can save yourself hundreds of dollars and wasted time by enlisting the services of a professional. Even a two hour consultation to help you sort out your ideas or develop a color scheme can be worth its weight in gold.