|Avoid These Decorating Mistakes!|
s everyone knows, the best way to avoid disaster is to know what causes it! The same goes for your home’s decorating. There are certain “disasters” that are so noticeable to the trained eye, that even lovely furnishings can’t disguise them. However, the untrained eye needs a little instruction to know what to look for, right? Well that's what we're here to do, help you get it right. To make it easy, we've listed 5 main decorating disasters. Read through the list, decide what might be occurring in your home, and then take our advice to help you fix it!!
The 5 most common decorating "disasters" are:
1. Why did you hang the ARTWORK there? Let’s start with the most common “disaster” of all. (An extreme description for a little mistake, but I do want you to pay attention!) This first mistake deals with the hanging of art in the home. It’s not just about how high people hang artwork, it’s also about the scale of the art to the wall and furnishings. If you have this issue in your home, never fear, you are in good company - Matt and I see this in nearly every house we visit. So here's how to fix it.
Start with HEIGHT.
Always hang a piece of art at eye level while viewing. In other words, in a dining room, art may be hung lower since it will be viewed from a seated position in most cases. Hang artwork over a sofa or chair with just enough space between the top edge of the furniture and the lower edge of the frame so the art appears to be a part of the furniture arrangement, not hovering a couple feet above it.
When Matt and I try to hang a piece of art together, he’s tall and I’m short, so we compromise. Somewhere in between is always just fine.
Now what about SCALE?
To the trained eye it is obvious that this picture is just too small for the wall space above the headboard. It would be better to fill in the space between the posts of the headboard with a collage of six of these small prints.
Or, another option is to select a print that fits within the posts of the headboard and fill in the space appropriately. This picture is just right. And, to go into a bit more depth, it actually extend past the tops of the posts creating a soft rounded shape when drawing a line from one post to above the picture and back down to the other post. This repeats the gentle curve of the headboard and that makes this artwork an even better choice. NOt to mention the red dress in the artwork picks up the red in the pillow shams!
Here is another scale issue. If you have a small framed picture, look for a small wall in your home, a wall space near a lamp and a chair, a backsplash or a similar scale area to hang it. Another option would be to group it with other coordinating art pieces or wall sconces to increase the overall size of the “art” to be hung over a large sofa, buffet, headboard or fireplace.
2. Stop pushing FURNITURE against walls!
The second most common “disaster” is pushing furniture up against the walls. However, there is a better, in fact much more interesting solution, “Shari’s patented angle” as Matt would call it!
Try placing the furniture in your room in the center of the floor space in a pleasing, perhaps even an angled presentation. The best way to determine if this is even a possibility in your room is to draw a floor plan to scale and try your furniture in different positions around the room. Pencil in the traffic patterns first and place the furniture so as not to create road blocks or unsafe conditions. Though this does work, I have heard of a more fun option - invite your friends over for a “Dessert and Decorating” party and let the ideas flow!
Plus, in a party setting, you have the muscle to move things around until you have a whole new look to your home. Make sure to have furniture moving pads around. They go under the legs of heavy furniture and make furniture arranging a snap. It really can be fun!
3. No BORING window treatments!
Disaster number three, don’t even show anyone your window treatments unless they cover these three issues. Window treatments need to take care of any PRIVACY concerns, they should control the amount of LIGHT you do or do not want to come in, and they should make sense with the DESIGN of the room.
Layered window treatments are best for controlling privacy and light…plus they’re stylish!
What do I mean by layered window treatments? Well, start on the inside or the frame of the window and select either a blind, shade or sheers to combat privacy and light issues. Be sure to choose a style that reflects the casual or elegant style you have developed for your room.
There are some exceptions to this rule of course. If your windows open to woods or a fence or there is an awning outside, you may not have these problems. Even so, mock shades that work as inside mounted valances can add layering to soften the windows but not decrease the view or the light coming in. That's the first layer.
For the second layer, consider draperies of some sort. They are lovely over the top of any shade, blind, sheer or valance. They can be simple stationery panels or full draperies. The length may vary but the finished look they create is well worth the effort.
4. Turn on the LIGHTS!
Don’t skimp when it comes to lighting! No, you can’t light up a room with one lamp. Generally, most rooms need at least three fixtures to light the corners of the room, not including the entrance corner. It’s best to consider the three types of lighting when determining what to add to a room.
For GENERAL light, which helps you to move around the room but isn’t necessarily the most attractive lighting in the room, over head lights or center ceiling fixtures can work. Often this is a light kit attached to a ceiling fan. Of course there are other options like recessed lighting, track lighting, and flourescents.
Consider the tasks in the room to determine your TASK lighting needs. You may need a chandelier for over a game table, several table lamps for reading, and a piano lamp for reading music. Don’t skimp anywhere here. These lights can double as your accent lights but it’s best to consider accents separately.
For instance, do you have lighting over your artwork? How about wall washers in the ceiling to graze the brick fireplace? Any floor lighting that dapples the ceiling as it travels through plantings or floral arrangements? This is ACCENT lighting and it can make a dull room, simply fabulous! You might want to consider adding rope lighting around your home, and Matt has a great article on how to install it.
Matt’s favorite lighting project is to install dimmer switches. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and turn off the power to the switch at your electrical box. Once those precautions are out of the way, you can add real ambiance to any room in just minutes by adding dimmers.
5. Are they ACCESSORIES or Clutter?
Perhaps the last major “disaster” in decorating is using either too many small accessories or none at all. There’s a difference between accessorizing and cluttering up a room!
If you do have many small items, arrange them in large groups or collections in a small wall mounted shelf system, on a round table, or in a glass accessory cabinet. Spread around the room they have no impact at all and make the space look cluttered.
Large pieces generally have more impact and give the room a finished appearance.
So there you have it, a couple quick fixes and you can avoid ALL decorating disasters! Now go enjoy the fruits of your labor!