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By Lyndsay Wilson
“I’m good with color” you tell your friends, and you truly believe that in another life, you could have been an excellent interior designer. Then how did it happen that your living room just looks… off? Even those of us with the keenest eyes and the best style sense can fall victim to decorating blunders. Sometimes experiencing the feel of a room in person is quite different to the visions you gleaned from home magazines and your Pinterest board. Here are some of the most common style mistakes people unwittingly make when decorating their homes.
Getting sizes wrong
Color, texture and style are always punted as the most important characteristics of a new piece of furniture, but if it doesn’t match the scale of your room, the effect is going to be awkward. Area rugs shouldn’t be more than a foot or two from the wall, light fittings shouldn’t dominate the ceiling they hang from and you’ll only go crazy trying to have a dinner party where the chair backs keep knocking against the wall. First and foremost, furniture needs to strike a good balance in the room. Not only should furniture fit harmoniously with the rest of the space, it should be similarly scaled with the other pieces.
Decorating a hotel
You may have heard so much advice to go with “neutral” and “classic” that you end up putting together a room that is utterly unmemorable. If your room starts to look too generic, it may be time to insert a bold, attention grabbing element. Playing with color, fun textures or sentimental items can give a dull room a bit of personality. Shake things up by throwing together contrasting elements, and don’t be afraid of injecting a little of your own quirk into the mix.
One dimensional decorating
If all of your furniture is pushed up against the wall, you may need to work on a more balanced arrangement. Think about the flow of traffic and how you tend to move about in the space, then arrange items accordingly.
Another mistake to avoid is having everything in the room at more or less one height – try to add interest with furniture of different heights, different sized pictures or tall lamps to balance out shorter furniture items.
Forgetting about lighting
There’s a reason that many professional decorators think of the lighting in a space before they think of anything else. The quality of the light in an area can make or break the mood, no matter how well arranged everything else is. Good lighting should respect the natural light that already comes into the room and find a way to work with it. Don’t think of lighting as an afterthought – actively incorporate lamps, ceiling fittings and even candles into the whole flow of the room.
Also spare a thought to how this lighting will fall on and enhance the room’s key features.
There’s no greater sign that you need better storage than little mounds of clutter forming all over the room. Even the most thoughtfully decorated interior loses its charm under mounds of books, trinkets, bits and pieces. Decide on a few elegant, high impact pieces and put away other knick knacks. A pretty armoire or shelves with repurposed baskets can hide your junk while tying the rest of the room together.
Of course, the only “mistake” you can make with decorating is to keep living in a space that leaves you feeling uninspired and uncomfortable. Make sure that your unique style and personality have the opportunity to really come through by giving some thought to these design basics before you dive in.