5 Decorating Blunders, and How to Avoid Them

Everyone wants their house to look warm and welcoming. Here's how.

By FamilyTime


Most of us can use some help when it comes to decorating our homes. We may have a few rooms or pieces we love, others we tolerate, and some we just can't stand. But lack of time and the high cost of materials and furniture often mean we go from month to month and year to year without changing.

Don't wait any longer. The sooner you understand where you are going wrong, the sooner you will love your house!

We have identified five of the most common mistakes people make when they decorate a room. Even if you are guilty of only one, fixing it will make you feel better about your personal space.

One: The Wrong Color and Patterns
Paint is relatively cheap; wallpaper is more costly. Both can make dramatic statements -- as well as wimpy or off-putting ones.

When you decide to paint a room, make sure the wall color matches the others in the room (upholstery, window treatments, carpets). Paint a good-sized swatch on the wall and look at in all lights, from morning to afternoon to electric.

Don't be afraid of color. Go with what you like rather than what is safe and conservative.

Wallpaper is trickier but can make a room look lovely. Be wary of patterns that don't complement the scale of the room. For instance, a small pattern will be lost in a large, bright room, while an overly large one will overpower a powder room or short hallway. Of course, there are exceptions, but generally this is true.

Two: Furniture That Is Out of Whack
If you put all the large, bulky pieces at one end of a room, it looks awkward. Avoid this with proper placement.

All upholstered furniture in a room should be about the same height. Mix taller pieces near lower ones for good balance.

Don't push furniture against the walls. Cluster chairs and sofas into conversation groupings so that those sitting in them can look at and hear each other.

Three: Improperly Displayed Artwork
When you hang pictures, hang them at eye level. No one should have to look up to see a picture. Decide what you think eye level is and then lower the hanger by three inches! It's surprising how much of a difference this makes.

It's better to group framed pictures on a wall than to hang single pictures around the room or house. Make sure the bottoms of the frames align when hanging groups of pictures. Measure carefully.

Four: Inadequate Lighting
Nothing spoils a room more than dim lighting, which can be depressing. On the other hand, bright light can be brash and overwhelming.

Choose the right light for the room. Overhead lights rarely are enough and often are cold and cheerless. Think about torchieres and ample table lamps for reading and close work; indirect lighting for conversation areas and television viewing.

Check the wattage of the light bulbs in existing lighting. Make some brighter, some softer.

Five: Clutter and More Clutter
While we should happily turn our houses into homes by surrounding ourselves with items we love, clutter is just messy and distracting.

Arrange collectables together in one or two places so that it's clear it's a collection. Display a friend's or child's artwork alongside other pieces to offer contrast and whimsy.

Get rid of stacks of magazines, books, and papers. Rely on baskets and shelves to organize items.

Trim houseplants so that they look healthy -- and discard straggly ones.

Your goal is clear, clean surfaces and orderly arrangements.

A carefully and warmly decorated house will welcome your friends and family with open arms. Everyone will feel comfortable there, and best of all, you will love the time you spend at home.