Decorating Faux-Pas: Five to Avoid

While there are more than five decorating mistakes that are commonly made, these are some that are easy to make, but simple to fix.


  1. Hanging draperies too low.  What good is a 10’ ceiling if everything is hung  too low – it’s like wearing high water pants.  Mount your rods or valances as high as possible – right under the crown molding or up to the ceiling.  If you have a valance, it should cover the top of the window trim or the headrail of anything inside mounted, like a blind.
  2. The Noah’s Ark effect – too many pairs of pairs in one room.  One of my biggest peeves are putting too many pairs of things in a room – pair of lamps, pair of sofas, pair of candles…you get the idea.  One or two is fine, but then step away.
  3. Avoid rugs that are too small for the space.  They disconnect the space and make everything look like it is floating.  Rugs should be large enough that either all of the furniture should sit on top of the rug, or all of the furniture should frame the rug and sit just off of it.  Measure the dimensions of your room first to determine which size is best with your furniture arrangement.  By the same token you don’t want it to look crowded.
  4. Hanging the artwork too high.  This one is sometimes a judgment call depending on the artwork, but typically the horizontal center line should be comfortable to look at without having to bend down or look up.
  5. Over-lit rooms.  Lighting is everything, but I’ve walked into rooms with so many cans that I’ve actually felt the heat they give off.  Plus, it washes out the color of the furnishings as well as those occupying the room.  Put everything on dimmers, and depending on the room consider table as well as floor lighting.  Under-lit rooms are just as bad – be aware of how much light is needed for the basic tasks.

Sometimes the best thing you can do is step away from a project for a day, and them come back to reanalyze.  The most obvious mistakes are not always realized until after the project is done, but knowing the basic pitfalls can help you avoid them.

—Jan Finlayson, Allied Member ASID


Categories: Design Tips

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