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Five Common Decorating Mistakes

Five Common Decorating Mistakes
By Stephanie Platt, Interior Designer and Staging Assistant for A Goode Start

Are you decorating a space in your house or do you have a space that just doesn't;t work and you can't figure out what the problem is? Below is a list of some common mistakes that when addressed can make a big impact on your space.

1. Not Enough Light- The key to creating an effective lighting plan in your space is to use layers.  There are three categories of lighting and all three need to be used to create a well lit space.
  • General- General lighting, also known as ambient light, provides your room with overall light.  The most common types of general lighting is chandeliers, ceiling or wall mounted fixtures, recessed lights and floor/table lamps.  The overall light in a space should be comfortable and allow you to perform tasks and move around safely.
  • Task- Think of task light as light for your work space. It is lighting that helps you perform certain activities such as reading, writing, sewing, cooking etc.  Task lighting can be achieved with recessed lights, track lights, pendant lights, under cabinet lights or desk lamps. These lights should be controlled separately from the general lighting. Task lighting should be bright enough to prevent eye strain while performing tasks, but not too bright to avoid glare.
  • Accent- Accent lighting is often used to spotlight architectural features, paintings, etc.  Accent lighting should be brighter than the general lighting to create interest.  Accent lights can be track lighting, focused recessed lights, wall mounted fixtures or lights inside display cabinets.
2. Everything Matches- This is a common mistake that most people make when decorating.  They buy furniture as sets and everything has the same fabric or color.  It looks good together but the space can end up looking staged.  A room should look like it evolved over time, this creates a more inviting space.  The furniture in a room should coordinate and you can mix different fabric patterns and textures; this will give your space visual interest.

3. Artwork Hung too High- The average eye level is 5'6".  Artwork should be hung so that the center of the picture is about 5'6" so that it can be viewed easily.  If you are hanging a group of pictures or collage than the center of the group should be at 5'6".  This will create uniformity in your house.  Also if you are hanging a picture above a piece of furniture it should be hung so that it is closer together.  If there is too much space between them then they read a visually separate instead of a cohesive vignette.

4. Visible Clutter- I personally do not like a lot of knick knacks in my space- mainly because I do not like to dust.  But this is probably the most common decorating faux pas.  When decorating it is easy to want to put something interesting on every table or surface to dress it up.  This is not necessary, it clutters the space visually.  When there are too many accent pillows on your couch, yes it looks nice but it makes it hard to sit down and relax.  Your house is a place to live and your decorating should reflect that. You don't want to create rooms that people are uncomfortable in because they are afraid to mess anything up.

5. Area Rug too Small- Rugs are a great way to help define your space. Used properly a rug can visually group furniture together, creating a more intimate and inviting space.  If you have a rug that is too small it can make a space uninviting or make your furniture look smaller. For a living room you want to choose a rug that will be able to fit your main grouping of furniture on it. In the picture you can see option 1 and 2 look more like a group instead of separate pieces. The rule that most designers use is that the rug should be large enough that the front feet at least can rest on the rug. 


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