While there is no “right” and “wrong” way to decorate your home, chances are that you’re reading this because you have an interest in making your house look put-together and stylish. I wholeheartedly believe that you should follow your instincts and design your home in a style that reflects what you are drawn to and how you want to feel. But here comes the big…
There are ways of bringing things together that are just more visually appealing, and there are common mistakes people make that destroy what could be an otherwise beautiful room. Have you ever noticed with fashion that someone could wear a sweater, jeans, boots, and a few delicate pieces of jewelry, and look soooo stylish, yet you put on the same items and it just looks frumpy or bland?
It’s because that other chick knows how to STYLE her outfit rather than just WEAR it. She may have the front of her sweater tucked into her jeans, the arms pushed up, her jeans hit at the right spot on her ankles and her jewelry is layered. For extra points, maybe her boots have some unique details.
Interior décor works the same way. You can have a bunch of elegant furniture, sophisticated textiles, and cool, current accessories but if you fail to arrange them in the best way possible, the whole room looks cheap.
Let’s tackle the most common design sins I see, and how you can easily solve them to improve your home today…
1. Spaced Out Seating
So many peoples’ first instinct when decorating is to push their furniture against the walls. I’m not sure if there is a fear of making a space seem smaller or disrupting the flow of foot traffic, but in many cases those fears are unfounded.
Never will you see a professionally designed room where the seating is pushed against the four walls of the room. Your aim should be to create a space conducive to bringing people together, allowing for conversation and connectedness.
A subset of this faux-pa is the Floating Area Rug.
Ensuring that all of your seating has at least two feet/legs on the rug will go a long way to creating a cozier and more stylish room, yet so many people place an area rug in the middle of a seating group like an island.
One of the main purposes of an area rug is to “ground” the space so that the furniture sits in a well-defined area. When your rug sits in the middle of the room and all your seating surrounds it, the room fails to look pulled together and it creates a feeling of disconnection.
Part of the reason this epidemic prevails is that people select area rugs that are far too small for their rooms. While they can get pricey, typically at least an 8x10 or 9x12 foot rug is needed for the average living room. There are plenty of websites that sell stylish and affordable (under $300) area rugs of that size. Try rugs.com or rugsusa.com for starters.
2. Wall Art Placement
There are two main issues when it comes to how many people hang art on their walls:
· They choose art that is too small for the wall
· They hang their art too high
When you select a piece of art to adorn your wall, a great way to ensure that it doesn’t seem out of place, is to hang it above a piece of furniture- a couch, console table, bed, etc. Ideally, you’ll want a piece that is at least three quarters of the length of whatever you’re hanging it over.
While you don’t have to hang art over furniture, it’s a fool-proof way to keep it looking like it’s meant to be where it is. If you’re hanging art on a blank wall, go as big as you possibly can. If you think a piece of art is big enough for the wall, think again. It typically only looks right when it seems almost too big.
Next, it’s important that you get the height right. Art should be hung at a height where the center of the piece is between 57 and 60 inches off the ground.
3. Curtain Height
You may have heard that hanging your curtains at the ceiling helps make your ceilings look higher and improves the overall look of your décor. But equally important is making sure that your curtains don’t leave space between the bottoms and the floor.
If you’re looking for easy ways to improve your décor, I’d recommend getting curtains that can be hung at the ceiling. But if you don’t want to spend a dime, at least make sure that whatever drapes you’ve got touch the floor.
4. Matching Furniture
For those of you who dread furniture shopping, I have some bad news. Creating a well-styled room cannot be achieved by walking into a furniture showroom and purchasing a complete set of matching pieces.
Look at your favorite décor magazines, Pinterest pins, or Instagram posts. It is highly unlikely that a bedroom is filled with matching dresser, nightstands, and armoire, or living room with a matching couch, loveseat, and chairs.
Varying the materials or finishes of the pieces in a room provides visual interest- the key element to a stylish room. While it can take a bit of skill to select pieces that are different but belong together, it is absolutely critical if you want to achieve that designer look.
Because I’m all about helping people improve the homes they live in without major investments of time or money, I have to give a tip to those who aren’t ready to replace any large furniture. If you’re looking to combat the issue of a matching furniture set, you can make smaller investments in décor that adds texture to your room.
A major reason the matching furniture set fails to make a design impact is because of the lack of texture. You can bring in more texture with varying throw pillows, bedding, blankets, curtains, lamps, art, and accessories. Think about achieving a variety of smooth, nubby, worn, shiny, soft, and even patterned. Adding enough of these elements can stave off the need for new furniture pieces, while elevating your décor immediately.