Home Decor

10 Common Mistakes in Decorating Homes and How To Avoid Them

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Last Updated: Nov 24, 2016

Despite having worked for many years with several interior designers and clients, Mary Cook along with Michael Smith have noted common design mistakes that continually exist. Smith, who is based in Los Angeles, is the man Obama appointed to redesign the residential headquarters of the White House. He’s the author of several decorating books, with “The Curated House” being his most recent. Cook on the other hand has also written about interior design and happens to be president of Mary Cook Associates based in Chicago.

According to these award-winning professionals, here are 10 home decorating mistakes people make and how to go about them:

1. Disregarding Scale and Proportion

In reference to Cook, proportion as well as scale is very crucial when it comes to home design. Scale represents the size of your house while proportion weighs the relationship between their sizes in relation to that of the room as a whole. Cook advises on integrating appropriate scale and proportion in all your design layers when building your home. Smith on the other hand, suggests the size of your furniture should be scaled depending on the size of your room.

2. Ignoring Room Function

Smith reckons that people become obsessed with the way things should look like rather than the way things should function. You can turn your dining space into a library to give it a function, according to Smith. Thinking about the furniture it will require to make it operational in a unique way should be the main concern. Cook recommends understanding how a room should function. Put into consideration the purpose of the room and how many people it can accommodate. Other considerations you should make include the furniture, multitasking and multifunction while designing your room. In addition, Cook suggests that the current lifestyle trends should serve as good indicators while designing a room to match its function, and that it is paramount to focus mostly on flexibility.

3. Exaggerating Theme of a Room

Exaggerating Theme of a Room
Despite living in apartments, most people often tend to adopt certain themes merely out of influence while ignoring the available space.Smith recommends that you should stick to a narrative theme that is more personal rather than getting influenced by a magazine if you have a limited space.

4. Insufficient Lighting

Every home designer, including Cook and Smith, knows the role of lighting when it comes to decorating your house. Among lighting factors to consider include color, quantity and where you will have it placed. Designing your lighting in layers is recommendable keeping in mind different times of the day and seasonal changes. Having adjustable light is also ideal to match your mood at any time of the day.

5. Purchasing Low-quality Furniture

What’s the point in buying cheap furniture that will only last for a few years and need replacement? Although Smith doesn’t insist on buying expensive furniture, he recommends being judicious and opting for something that will last longer. Rather than buying poor quality furniture or fabric, he suggests going for durable and beautiful dinning chairs, tables and fashionable upholstery.

6. Failure to Test Paint Colors

Failure to Test Paint Colors
Just like the way you test your makeup, it makes a lot of sense to try your colors when painting your house. However, Smith cautions against using a verystrong color. Instead, carefully mix your colors and find out what they look like on a patch before proceeding to the rest of your house.

7. Not Leaving Space Between Furniture and Walls

Most people make the mistake of having all living room furniture leaning against the walls. While this can be ideal for entertaining in large, you should place your furniture in such a way to come up with a seating arrangement that is warm for a family conversation.Nevertheless, leave adequate spaces for guests and family to move freely if you are entertaining in large.

8. Cluttering Art and Accessories

In reference to Cook, your art and accessories should bring the composition of your home into a perfect harmony if done the right way. However, most people end up cluttering between the two. She recommends performing constant checks for proportion and scale when composing your accessories plus art. This will bring your composition into perfect harmony.

9. Ignoring Room Focal Point

Ignoring Room Focal Point
Each and every room has an outstanding item, such as a fire place or an art mirror. According to Cook, the focal point in a room should be equipped with unique background design along with attractive architectural elements. However, the design should not clutter your accessories or art.

10. Trying to Match Everything

If you have visited furniture and ready-made furnishing showrooms, you can become lured into buying everything that resonates for your house. Nevertheless, home design experts recommend combiningaccessories with other pieces to amp the look of your house. Rather than buying everything at once, grab a piece each time you hit the stores and eventually make your home unique as you want.

See also: The Ultimate Guide To Living Room Essentials


Have you made any of the above mistakes while trying to design your home? Don’t worry because there is a solution for each. Take your time and eventually your house will appeal the way you have always wanted. And don’t forget to advance with the upcoming trends in home designs!

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