A well-designed room incorporates color, light, window treatments and furnishings that fit the scale of the room.
Don’t Short Your Windows
Mounting your curtain rod six inches to one foot above the window molding will make your ceilings appear taller and will let more light into the room. Curtains should hang from the height of the curtain rod to the floor.
Top 5 Design Mistakes
Avoid these “Don’ts” when decorating your home.
- by Trisha Kemerly
With the abundance of television programs, magazines, books and websites dedicated to offering decorating ideas, it’s sometimes hard to recognize the best advice. Try considering what NOT to do! Here are some of the top interior design mistakes homeowners make, and simple tips on how to fix (or avoid) them.
1. Avoiding Color and Light
Many people shy away from painting their walls because they’re afraid of making a mistake or negatively affecting their home’s resale value. Or, they use only light colors to “make the room look bigger.” The truth is, your home should be a place you love, a place that reflects you and the colors you love. And you’re not adding any square footage by keeping those walls beige!
Let your personality shine through with some color. If a bold color is too scary for you, try painting accent walls (only one or two walls in a room) for your color statement.
Similarly, pay attention to the lighting in your room.
“Lighting in a room setting is critical not only for mood but for function,” says Domnick M. Minella, interior designer for Robb & Stucky Interiors of Fort Myers, Fla. “Pools of light in triangles throughout the setting will create interest and make the wall colors come alive.”
Consider the different activities (reading, watching television, playing games, doing homework, paying bills, etc.) that occur in each area of the room. Try adding floor lamps, table lamps, and dimmers on overhead lights to help brighten the room and change the mood of the room for different activities.
2. Weak Windows
When they are done right, window treatments are an easy and inexpensive way to really polish a room. However, a common mistake is to hang the curtain hardware too low or to buy the wrong size curtain. This makes the ceiling appear lower and makes your curtains look cheap.
“Windows are generally focal points in a room. Using the correct treatment can create height and balance for your room setting, and drama and color are created with side panels and swags in coordinating fabrics,” Minella adds.
Mounting your curtain rod six inches to one foot above the window molding will make your ceilings appear taller and will let more light into the room. Curtains should hang from the height of the curtain rod to the floor; an extra ½-inch or inch of extra material is also an option that creates a graceful puddle on the floor.
3. Floating Rugs
“Area rugs help set the space and create color and pattern for any room setting, but placing a rug that is too small in the center of the room ruins that effect and ends up looking extremely out of place,” says Minella.
Rugs should be large enough that all of the furniture sits on top of the rug, or all of the furniture frames the rug and sits just off of it. Rugs that are too small for a space appear to float (like an island) in the middle of your space—which breaks up your décor instead of tying it together.
“The size of the rug can either be room- or accent-size dimensions, such as under a cocktail table, giving continuity to the furnishings used in a setting,” he adds.
4. Accessory Overload
Accessories are supposed to enhance a room, not take it over completely. Unfortunately, many people fill every inch of flat surface with frames, candles, plants, vases and various knick-knacks—without a plan.
“The use of too many accessories or too few will affect the rhythm and balance of a room,” says Minella. “Placing like items in groups of three to five will add visual interest without adding clutter. Varying the heights of the objects also will make items more appealing. Books strategically placed can be the elevation needed in a group setting.”
Display what you have so that your favorite things get the spotlight and focus they deserve. Then rotate them with some of your other accessories—this will keep your home interesting and fresh for both you and your guests.
5. Ill-fitting Furniture
“Using the wrong scale for the room setting by placing too large or too small pieces can make a room seem uncomfortable and thrown off balance,” Minella says. Obviously, the idea is to find the right balance for the amount of space that you have.
“All furnishings should be placed in an imaginary grid trying to fill the spaces with an even placement,” he continues. “Too much weight on one side of a room will visually tip the room balance out of control.”
You should allow at least three feet around a sofa for people to pass by—any less and your space will feel crowded and cluttered. It’s just as bad to buy pieces that are too small, thinking you can add more pieces to fill the space. Plan out your arrangement, think it over and then find pieces that are just right for your space.