We are all guilty of making a few design mistakes when we decorate our homes. Much of the joy of interiors and creating a unique space is trial and error and we learn best when we take chances and try things that might be slightly out of our comfort zone. Without doing this, our homes would be bland and impersonal and no one wants a home that doesn’t reflect their personality. However, there are a few things that repeatedly crop up that can mean the difference between a fabulously styled space and one that feels a bit ‘off’ or simply doesn’t function well for your needs.
In 2015, I shared 10 different mistakes that are easily avoided when decorating your living room. Today I wanted to help you to avoid some of the other common mistakes I’ve seen since. These are so easy to avoid and each of the images shown give you an example of how to get it right! Have you been guilty of any of these? Read on to find out!
Neglecting to consider your natural light when choosing paint
Natural light is every room’s best friend and understanding both the quality and quantity of light your room gets will make all the difference to how your room feels during the day. Test paint colours on different walls and see how they react through the day before you paint. The same shade will look very different depending upon which direction your room faces at different times of day. Understanding the kind of light you get – whether it’s the warmer light from a South or West facing room or the cooler, greyer light from a North or East facing room – will mean any colours or neutrals you use will be seen at their best.
Buying furniture too big for the space
We may be tempted to purchase a huge corner sofa that looks fantastic when we see it in store but will your room be big enough? Even further than it fitting in the room itself, will it fit through your doorways? Ensure you always check the sizes and measure carefully that the room your furniture is destined for will be a perfect fit. Check out our guide to measuring your sofa here for some helpful tips.
Not using decorative cushions
There’s nothing that will make a room look more unfinished than a lack of accessories. There’s no need to pile them 3 deep of course – even one or two will break up the large expanse of fabric or leather on your sofa and create an inviting space. Mix and match colours or patterns that tie in the rest of the colours of your space or use textural accent cushions in neutral shades for a softer cosier look. Scale your cushions accordingly, too. The larger (or higher the back of the sofa), the larger your cushions should be – you don’t want a tiny single cushion looking lost on a larger sofa and you will want to avoid a really huge cushion taking up too much space on something more petite. Mix and match different shapes – square, rectangular or circular – for the most stylish look.
Ignoring your coffee table
While it may be a depository for the remote controls, old magazines or the kid’s toys, clear up the clutter with storage baskets or drawers fit for purpose. Your coffee table is a great surface upon which to draw upon the style of your space and still have enough room for your cup of tea. Consider decorative accents like a tray to corral smaller items, a stack of your favourite coffee table books and either a vase of flowers or a small houseplant to give it some life.
Not considering visual flow
How does your living room relate to the rest of the house? If you use very different colours and styles in every room, your home will feel smaller at best, chaotic at worst. As much as I can relate to loving lots of different styles, your home should be a cohesive reflection of your tastes so ensure that there are some commonalities throughout. Things like flooring, a limited palette of colours, a specific style or era of furniture or repeated use of finishes will unify your home, making that visual flow better and creating a sense of calm throughout.
We are all guilty of amassing too much ‘stuff’ in a world where consumerism rules. But taking the time to really consider the purchase we make, whether it’s something we actually need or will use long-term and where they will fit in our homes is important. Not only does it keep us from impulse buying things or wasting money, it makes our home less cluttered. If you look around and see that there are things are spilling out from every surface, it may be time to purge. Sell on those things that are still in good condition but don’t work with your space, consider charitable donations or pass on to family or friends that need them.
Are you guilty of any of these decorating faux pas? We’ve all done them at some point or another so go and share in the comments below.