Styling your way to the home of your dreams takes a lot of patience, time, and energy. So is curating the perfect pieces. But actually styling and setting everything up to create a cohesive space is yet another challenge altogether.
The thing is you can have the best art or gallery wall in the world or the coolest unique styling items, but if one or more these elements are askew to each other, the entire room can look off. Oftentimes you won’t even realize what went wrong — all of the pieces look great individually, so why does everything look like a hot mess? Let’s break it down.
There are a few common reasons you might be feeling like your space isn’t signing. It might be that your sofa is positioned incorrectly in relation to the rest of the space, your couch is too big for the room. Perhaps the space is too crowded or things are just too matchy-matchy.
Check out these Top 10 decorating mistakes to avoid that will help to make sure you’re not committing a design disaster:
1. Scale Issues or Things Match Too Much
Perhaps the most common mistake I see when it comes to interior decorating is purchasing furniture that is either too big or too small for the space it’s in. No matter how gorgeous the piece is, if it’s too big or too small for the room it will feel “off.” Measure first, buy second! To avoid this, consider the scale of every single piece in the room and make a layout so you can see how each piece fits together. Don’t go too big. Believe it or not, not every standard couch works in any living room.
Remember to think of the space as a whole puzzle where each piece needs to fit together harmoniously. Pro-Tip: Pull furniture off the walls and remember that you want negative space on either side of your couch or accent chair. Don’t have everything pushed into the corners and feel free to create zones of interest. You could have a great-looking piece of furniture, but if you’re squeezing into a space you’ll never get the look and feel you want.
Also, please try to avoid having a matching couch, and accent chairs. Your look will be much stronger if you try something contrasting. Go for it!
2. The Wrong Rug
I cannot stress this enough: Make sure your rug is the perfect size for the area you’re placing it in and that it’s a pattern or color that grounds the space creating contrast. Don’t have your rug be the same exact tone of your couch or they will blend together and look flat If your even a tad bit too small with the rug, it will throw the harmony of the space off making it feel tiny or pinched. Also, don’t go wall to wall with the rug. Have plenty of floor space around the edge to avoid the space feeling cramped. My post popular rugs are here.
3. Hang Window Treatments High + Wide
Poorly placed drapes can quickly bring down the look of an entire room by making it look more constricted than it actually is. A lot of people make the mistake of hanging the rod right at the window edge. Don’t do that. Instead, hang them as high up on the wall as possible and be sure to extend your curtain rod at least 12 inches on either side of the window to help the space feel bigger and more grand. Don’t forget to let the curtains just kiss the floor, don’t have em floating above the ground. For more tips on how to get the look perfect check out my post here.
4. Discordant artwork
When curating artwork for your home, be sure to stick to either a general theme or style, or at the very least a specific color palette. There’s nothing wrong with buying inexpensive art as long as it’s interesting and adds to your homes narrative in-terms of the aesthetic and tone that you’re trying to evoke. I love to mix oil paintings, thrifted pieces, and art printed offline. This includes sketches and abstract black and white art too. Just be sure to make sure they can sit next to one another and feel related.
Remember: It’s not about the price tag. It’s about the mood.
5. Basic lighting
Having builder grade lighting fixtures all throughout your home is a surefire way to bring the vibe of your house down. One way to really elevate the look of your home is to invest in elevated types of lighting for different rooms. The lighting and their fixtures in a space will help elevate the mood and ambiance of your space, so it only makes sense that you’ll want different light fixtures for your space so that each room has a focal point, point and that soft golden glow.
For instance, installing accent lighting in your living room is probably a good idea, while task lighting would work best in a home office or library. Some of my favorite affordable lighting options that are easy to swap in and out here.
6. Worn Furniture
Nothing is a buzz kill to a space more than tattered, stained or worn furniture. Don’t get me wrong a vintage distressed piece is amazing, and I’m all for saving money and being smart about spending, but sooner or later there comes a time when you just have to loosen up the purse strings a little and replace furniture that needs to go.
Frayed rugs, chipped furniture paint, and generally broken pieces should go. On a budget? Head to Facebook Marketplace and get a deal, or even better, head to your local thrift store like a pro and swap something out that’s in a good shape.
You can hang the most beautiful artwork on your walls, but if you’ve got a couch that looks like it’s on its last leg, it will instantly bring down the look.
7. Outdated or Overly Trendy Accessories
When it comes to styling items, it’s always nice from time to time to refresh them for a fresh new look . You might also want to avoid accents that are too trendy. Of course do what makes you happy! But having too many overly trendy design accents can lead to a space feeling like it has no soul. Especially when the trend has pst. Remember, trends are always shifting and although there’s nothing wrong with having these pieces aim to fold in some classic and modern touches by incorporating new and contemporary pieces and staying up-to-date while you stay up-to-date on what’s hot and current.
8. Too Much Clutter
Don’t have clutter if you can. Having too many things going on in one space is a huge stressor to people and a pet peeve of mine. Often times just decluttering makes a big difference in a space. Less is more most times in my spaces. So remember, to spend just 10 minutes a day decluttering, and throwing things away. Do it! It doesn’t matter how cool or expensive your furniture and styling items are — they will end up looking lack luster if you are not mindful of the amount of “stuff,” in your space. Try avoid this, and choose pieces with care and remember that less is more.
9. Boring or Dated Hardware
I’ve said this before, but quickly swapping out builder grade hardware for more luxurious options is an easy way to upgrade the look of inexpensive furniture. While you are at it update your vents to brass registers too.
There’s note a ton of great reason to keep the builder grade hardware when there are so many amazing inexpensive options out there that look great and are all super easy to install! Go for it.
10. Closest Hangers
Having random hangers in your closet is a big no-no, especially since it’s a mishap that is so easily fixed. Buy hangers in one style and one color to make everything look uniform and pleasing to the eyes. Trust me, it makes a subtle yet very effective difference. I upgraded to wooden and I can’t believe how much it leveled up my closet game.
You see, buying great pieces is only half the battle. The real trick is making sure that all of the individual elements work together seamlessly and that each furniture and styling item benefits each other.
The 10 points I listed here are some of the most common mistakes I see my friends and family make. I see it even with some of the best by even interior decorators, so just try to be extra mindful of how you style your space to make sure that you’re not accidentally committing a design faux pas. I want you all to have homes you love. You deserve it! Remember, that the little details matter because even a slight change can greatly impact a room in its entirety.
I know it’s tempting to keep adding new furniture and new styling items every time you find a great piece but the key here is tasteful restraint. Trust me, most of the time you’ll be better off with less done well. Xoxo