6 Common Decorating Mistakes And How To Avoid Them, According to Top Interior Designers

From Veranda

Many of us have been spending our spring and summer revamping our gardens, finally building out our dream home offices, and tackling other renovation projects we may have put off if we hadn’t been spending every moment inside these past months. Warren Shoulberg, a retail journalist and columnist for Business Of Home, says he is expecting the home furnishings industry to see a boost in the coming months as companies like Lowe’s and Home Depot did earlier this year.

Shoulberg explained during his panel at BOH‘s Future of Home virtual conference that when the housing market does well, ultimately the home furnishings business follows, and while home improvement stores feel this first, furnishings and decor companies are sure to follow suit in the next six to nine months. And if you spent even a few minutes at your local Home Depot this spring, you know there’s about to be a lot of decorating and redecorating about to be underway!

Whether you’re upgrading your current home’s furnishings, filling up a brand-new house, or giving a well-loved area a much-needed refresh, decorating a room—let alone a whole home—can be overwhelming. We asked four designers from around the country the top mistakes to keep in mind that people often run into when decorating.

You’re trying to decorate your home as quickly as possible.

“Often, homeowners choose furniture for their home in haste, without longevity in mind,” says Marie Flanigan of Marie Flanigan Interiors. “I can certainly understand the desire to furnish a home quickly and feel settled, but this hurriedness can lead to costly mistakes. Before purchasing furniture for a room, I recommend measuring and measuring again, and ordering samples to test fabrics in the room where they will reside. Take the time to carefully choose pieces that you will have for years, hopefully generations, to come.”

You’re not expanding your personal style to fit the aesthetic of your home.

“It’s important for homeowners to be mindful of wanting everything that they love to be a part of the design in their home,” says Kesha Halden of Halden Interiors. “Just because you love floral patterns and wear them in your attire or have them on your favorite porcelain dishware doesn’t always mean that it will translate in an impactful way in a larger footprint on a sofa or drapery. Always take into consideration the overall aesthetic of the house and leave room for the design to evolve over the years.”

You’re accidentally disrupting your open floor plan.

“A key decorating mistake that homeowners should avoid is placing multiple area rugs in a home with an open floor plan,” Halden says. “This is a common mistake because the area rug is used to help map out where to group your furnishings. However, carving out these spaces with a rug can easily make the open concept feel choppy and minimize the scale of the room. And in my opinion, nothing beats a big, open, and airy design concept!”

You don’t prioritize accent lighting.

“I cringe when I walk into a home and the homeowner tells me ‘we just added all new can lights throughout,'” says Lauren Lowe of Lauren Elaine Interiors. “Overhead lighting in areas other than kitchens and dining rooms (by way of a chandelier or pendant, please!) cast shadows similar to an overcast day. We always specify a lot of accent lighting in rooms like living spaces and bedrooms. Multiple table lamps in addition to floor reading lights, sconces, and picture lights feel warm and inviting and not builder-basic.”

You’ve accepted the lampshade that came with your lamp.

“A lampshade is just as important of an investment as the lamp itself,” Lowe says. “Adjusting details such as the shape of the shade (drums feel very modern, while an empire is a traditional classic); pleating and pleating style; and material (silk, block-printed cotton, or even a vintage scarf) will make the lamp itself feel intentionally designed in your space. Take your lamp to a local lampshade shop, and they will guide you through selecting the right size, adjust the harp height, etc. And don’t forget that you can pull out your hot glue gun and add some trim yourself.”

You bought all the décor for your house at once.

“Focus on the most important pieces and let them form the anchors for rooms you can build around,” says Jeffry Weisman of Fisher Weisman. “Trying to find everything ahead of time and assembling in a moment is challenging for professionals and almost always a fatal mistake for the novice.”

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