Five Common Decorating Mistakes – and How to Avoid Them

Image: Clair Strong Interior Design

Getting to know your personal style and decorating a home can involve a lot of trial and error. It’s my job as an interior designer to help you keep those errors to a minimum. Here are five of the most common mistakes I see, and ways to avoid – or fix – them:

Mistake #1: Blowing the Budget

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of decorating and very quickly go over budget. But is that designer sofa worth the financial stress and unfinished project? Probably not.

Solution: Take your time to set out a clear budget. Make a list of everything you need and projected costs. Shop around, don’t buy the first thing you see – you may find it cheaper elsewhere. Consider seeking the help of a professional – the cost of hiring a pro is often paid off by the savings they will help you make.

Mistake #2: Poor Lighting Choices

That glaring overhead light is doing your beautifully designed room no favours. You deserve better!

Solution: Every room (with the exception of the bathroom and kitchen) should have a minimum of three lighting sources. They should vary in height and intensity for a cosy, layered look. Opt for a mix of task, ambient and natural lighting from windows, lamps, chandeliers, candles and string lights.

Mistake #3: Too Many Focal Points

Every room has a focal point; an area that automatically draws the eye. Too many focal points can feel confusing and cluttered, and it can dilute the effect.

Solution: Stick to just the one focal point; it might be an architectural feature (like a fireplace), a really great piece of art, an accent wall or piece of furniture.

Mistake #4: Making Rush Decisions

You’re anxious to finish the project and start making hasty decisions. A month later you regret that sofa purchase or that paint colour choice.

Solution: The solution here is really simple: don’t rush. Take your time with big decisions. Do test swatches with paint, ask for fabric and wallpaper samples. Sleep on decisions. Let the room build up over time; don’t be afraid of a few temporary unfinished edges. It will be worth the wait.

Mistake #5: Awkward Furniture Arrangements

Are you guilty of pushing your furniture against the walls and leaving it at that? You’re not alone…

Solution: Create groups of furniture; imagine the way you use the room and build little pockets to suit those activities. Cluster furniture together, rather than around the edge of the room for a more intimate and practical feel.

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