Sure, your rooms look OK at first glance: You finally got rid of that lumpy sofa and own a set of kitchen chairs that don’t fold up. But what would an interior decorator have to say about the state of your home? If you suspect your attempts at “mix and match” just look messy or your furniture arrangements are a little too fussy, read on to see if you’re committing our experts’ top decorating faux pas—and learn what you can do to fix them.
Faux Pas #1: Ignoring Scale
Every piece of furniture looks great in the store—but chances are your rooms aren’t showroom size. “Measure your space and decorate accordingly,” suggests Kenneth Brown, a Los Angeles–based interior designer who sells home decor pieces through QVC. For smaller rooms, ignore your instinct to use a series of diminutive pieces; fewer large-scale pieces will make it seem less busy. On a similar note, consider filling a wall with a single large painting, rather than a group of smaller frames. “It will act as an additional window and draw the eye beyond the room,” says Brown.
Faux Pas #2: Relying on Recessed Lighting
“I’m so tired of recessed lighting,” says Brown. “It makes a room look like a football field.” If you have recessed lights, use them, but layer your lighting by incorporating additional lighting features. Consider table lamps and floor lamps, and highlight artwork with picture lights. “Your room—and everyone in it—will look beautiful,” says Brown.
Faux Pas #3: Buying the Entire Matching Set
Just because a store showcases a sofa, loveseat, chair, table and ottoman as a set doesn’t mean you have to buy every piece. The first piece Brown recommends leaving behind? The loveseat. In its place choose two chairs, which will allow you to mix and match colors and patterns. Another way to mix things up: Choose a traditional sofa in an unexpected, modern color.