Don’t hide your face in shame. We’ve all done them. Even as an interior designer I’ve crossed over to the dark side a time or two. I make a rush to judgement, grabbing some horrendous lamp off a shelf, thinking I can get by on the cheap. And every time it comes back to bite me in the arse. That stupid lamp become an unwelcome relative who just won’t go home until I finally have to have it committed and removed from the house with force. I don’t typically make the mistake twice but by the time I finally find the perfect lamp, I’ve overshot my budget. And I have to come up with a way to counter my husband’s “I told you so.”
Don’t let that be you!! Here are 5 interior decorating mistakes to avoid at all costs!
1. Walk away from store bought drapery panels
Look, this is a big one! And I know they’re tempting. They seem like a reasonable expense and they come in lots of fun colors, one of which is just perfect for your family room! But they aren’t perfect for your family room and I’ll tell you why. Never ever will you find a store bought drapery panel that is the right length, properly lined or an appropriate width. So here’s what happens. You buy 2 panels of drapery. You go home and hang them up and it’s your lucky day because by some twist of fate they are the right length. But then you notice that the cute fabric isn’t so cute anymore because the light from outside is blasting thru it like a prison flood lamp. If that weren’t bad enough, as you fluff the drapes so they fold and drape like they should, that 54″ wide panel is now more like 18″ wide. So you go buy more of them to make them look wider. But now you have a messy opening between each panel and you’ll kick yourself until you can justify getting rid of them.
Look, custom window treatments aren’t cheap. My advice is to save your money and, even if you need to do one room at a time, contact an interior designer to measure your windows, suggest the appropriate treatment, width, lining and header. Most interior designers will also assist with fabric selection so you know your draperies will hang as they should. You’ll have invested in quality window coverings that will last for years.
2. Don’t skimp on accessories
This is one of the hardest things to get across to clients who are spending money on new furniture, rugs, and window treatments. When it comes to that line item on the budget, they always want to cut it back, thinking they don’t need that many accessories, or worse…..they can get them at Home Goods.
Here’s what happens when you skimp on accessories. Let’s say you hire the county’s finest wedding cake baker. You know her cakes are to-die-for-delish and gorgeous, but you learn that it’s a little more than you really wanted to pay. You have to cut costs somewhere so you whip out your stellar bargaining skills. By the time you’ve whittled away those pesky dollars you have a to-die-for-delish cake with no flowers or embellishment and the white icing doesn’t cover the entire cake.
Now, I’m not saying budget isn’t important. It’s key to any decor project. But consider other ways you can cut costs without losing the integrity of the space because the truth is in the details. And if you pinch accessories, you’re losing the icing on your cake.
Don’t let this be you……..
3. Make sure your area rugs are the right size
Rugs ground a space by connecting the furnishings and creating intimate conversation areas. Nothing looks worse than a rug that is too small or too large. Important to note: All furniture legs do not have to be on the rug unless you’re working with a dining table. A rug looks best when the front legs of the seating group are on the rug and the back legs are off. Along that same vein of thinking, never buy a rug that is so small that none of the legs of the upholstered seating pieces are on it. Every situation and furniture layout is different but be cognizant that your seating areas shouldn’t look like they’re sitting on a giant tarp and they shouldn’t look like they’re gathered around beach towel.
This is the way it’s done!!
As for dining rooms, my rule of thumb is to add 24″-30″ to each end of the table and 24″-30″ to each side of the table. So if you have a table that is 60″ x 36″, your rug should be 108″ x 84″ to 120″ x 96′. This rule will allow for enough room for dining chairs to move about without feeling like they’re falling off the rug.4. Don’t hang artwork too high
4. Don’t hang artwork too high
People like to say that artwork should be hung at eye level. Well a person who is 5′-2″ and one who is 6′-0″ don’t have the same eye level. So what do you do? Meet in the middle and use the standard heigh most galleries use as a starting point. 58″ from the floor to the middle of the piece of art. Art looks better lower so if you err a little on the shorter side, don’t sweat it. And if you’re hanging something directly over a chair or sofa, a piece of art a little lower will make the space feel more intimate and you can enjoying from other seated areas within the space.
5. Go larger rather than smaller with table lamps
A table lamp that is too small will look cheap and out of place. Consider going with a taller lamp or a beefier lamp. 31″ is a nice height for a table lamp. I prefer a lamp that makes a statement and visually draws your eye upward. This is a great trick if you want to highlight a high ceiling OR if you want to make a low ceiling feel taller. So for me, I lean toward a 36″ high lamp to get that bang for my buck.
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