Mistakes. We all make them. When it comes to decorating mistakes, some are quick fixes and others…well, not so much. The good news, though? No decorating mistake is a lost cause. They can all be corrected, even if it takes a little elbow grease to do so, and in fact, I’d argue that they are even an important part of the process.
The thing is, decorating is a creative endeavor. You are going to make mistakes – that is just part of the process. There are two important things to remember: 1) To not be afraid to make mistakes, and 2) to learn from every mistake you do make.
Think of mistakes as discovering what you don’t want. You learn just as much about your decorating taste and style by looking at examples you definitely aren’t into as looking at inspiration that you love. Both help you hone your own style, recognize it when you see it, and understand what works and what doesn’t.
To help you avoid costly mistakes or to correct some that you may already be making, today I’m sharing 5 of the most common decorating mistakes people make with furniture, since furniture is one of the biggest investments you’ll make and therefore, one you want to get right.
Another thing to keep in mind is that taste is subjective. What one person finds beautiful, another person may not and vice versa. That’s why there are really no set decorating “rules.” These solutions are simply a guide to help you improve the look and feel of your home and give you a starting point.
FURNITURE DECORATING MISTAKES
In no particular order, here is a list of the most common furniture decorating mistakes and how to fix them (or prevent them):
DECORATING MISTAKE 1: Buying the whole set of matching furniture. One of the standard decorating “rules” is to not buy the matching set of everything as they have it on the showroom floor. By matching, I’m talking about a 7-piece bedroom suite or a sofa, loveseat, and chair that are all part of a set. By duplicating a showroom display, you’re not injecting any of your own personality into the room or making it special.
SOLUTION: Just as varying patterns, textures, and color tones in a room make it interesting, so does varying the furniture. You don’t have to have all the pieces match for a room to have a cohesive and balanced design that is an expression of your individual style. Choose one or two pieces you like, then look for other pieces that coordinate without perfectly matching. If you already have a matching set, you could break it up by using some pieces in another room or painting them in a different color or finish. If you have matching upholstered pieces such as a sofa, loveseat, and chair, cover the chair with a coordinating slipcover.
DECORATING MISTAKE 2: Furniture that is too small or too large for the room. Not understanding how important scale and proportion are is one of the biggest decorating mistakes people can make. Furniture that is too big (or small) for a room or is paired with pieces that are not the correct proportion completely throws off the balance of a room and makes it feel uncomfortable.
SOLUTION: Scale refers to the size of an object and how it relates to the size of the room. Proportion refers to how one object relates to another object in terms of size and shape. Make sure your largest piece is the proper scale for the room and then use it as a starting point to determine the proportion for all the other pieces. Keep in mind that rooms need things of varying size and height to create interest and drama. You don’t want too many small things in a room, nor do you want too many large, bulky pieces.
DECORATING MISTAKE 3: Buying furniture before measuring the room or the piece. There’s an old saying, “measure twice, cut once.” It also applies to furniture: “measure twice, buy once.” It’s so disappointing to find the “perfect” couch only to have it delivered and realize it won’t fit through the door or in the room.
SOLUTION: Before you buy something and pay for it to be delivered to your home, make sure it will fit the space and through the door (and if necessary, up the stairs or through the hallway). Know what will fit into the room by measuring your space beforehand, including door openings. Then measure the furniture you are considering purchasing. Consider both height and width when measuring these things. Be sure to take your measurements with you when you shop.
DECORATING MISTAKE 4: Pushing all the furniture against the walls. Sure, the living room may feel bigger when you push everything against the wall, but it doesn’t make the room feel inviting and it can make it difficult for conversation.
SOLUTION: Instead of having a bunch of “dead space” in the center of the living room, try pulling your sofa away from the wall. In larger rooms, you could “float” one or two pieces in the room and anchor them with an area rug. If the room is small, pulling it away even slightly will make the room more interesting. If you have a little bit of room, pull it away about 12″ or so and place a sofa table behind it.
DECORATING MISTAKE 5: Keeping something you don’t like. This mistake can apply to furniture, accessories, fashion, makeup…pretty much anything. Maybe it’s something you inherited or bought on a whim only later to realize, “What was I thinking?” You feel like you are obligated to keep it because it was given to you or you spent money on it.
SOLUTION: Don’t keep something if you don’t love it or if it doesn’t serve a purpose. Our styles and tastes change over the years, and something we may have loved years ago simply no longer floats our boat. You want your home to be a reflection of your personality, so always go with what you love. Don’t buy a piece just because you think it’s in style or trendy. Buy it because it’s YOUR style and YOU like it. If you have a piece that isn’t working for you, there are several things you could do. Give it new life by reinventing it with paint or fabric. If that’s not possible, you could sell it to by something that is your style, or give it away to someone that would love it.
These solutions for common decorating mistakes aren’t hard-and-fast rules, but they will definitely help you make better decisions when shopping for furniture to avoid the ever-dreaded buyer’s remorse. Happy decorating!
For more decorating tips, sign up below to gain immediate access to our VIP Library of free ebooks and printables. You’ll also receive special updates just for VIP Members: