Decorating your home can be an exciting yet daunting challenge for anyone, especially if it’s your first time behind the proverbial (colour) wheel.
When decorating your home, there can seemingly be a never-ending list of choices and decisions to make, from countertop surfaces to wall colour, right down to the smallest finishing touches such as lightbulbs and framing arrangements. A good place to start is researching timeless home décor tips or hot interior design trends to ensure you stay on track as you go. That said, and with so much to consider, it can be an overwhelming task which is why we’ve put together a list of the most common first-time home décor mistakes one can make and how to avoid, and if necessary, fix them.
Mistake #1: Not choosing or sticking to a theme
The first, and perhaps biggest, mistake you can make when decorating your home is not choosing a décor theme at the outset or not following it through throughout your home. While mixing a few differing styles and textures can be attractive and visually effective, not having an overarching theme or losing its consistency as you move from room-to-room is a common design mistake. To start off strong, begin the décor process by picking a main theme and researching what styles, colours, patterns, textures and accessories compliment that theme to ensure that the visual varieties of each room all work together to create a cohesive décor thought.
Mistake #2: Minimising or blocking natural light
The presence of natural light can go a long way to making a room feel more or less inviting. It’s therefore imperative to avoid making the mistake of not considering natural light where possible when envisaging a room’s décor. Things to consider to help promote or showcase a room’s natural light include where best to place furniture, especially big pieces such as a couch or bookshelf; the use of light linen-based curtains or sheers instead of thick drapery; placing a mirror or two on the opposite wall to the windows to boost the amount of light, as well as painting the room with a bright, neutral colour to reflect and not absorb sunlight.
Mistake #3: Not balancing the space correctly
One of the keys to good home décor is getting the balance of a room right as without it, inhabitants can feel uneasy or anxious. Lighting is a core way to achieve balance. For example, be sure to fill the space with a large chandelier if you have high ceilings or if your ceilings are lower, use pendant or wall lighting to instill a sense of intimacy and proportion. Also consider the placement of bold or heavy accessories as you’ll want to avoid one side of the room feeling “heavier” than the other. For instance, if you have a tall bookshelf against the wall on one side of the room, balance it with a chunky standing lamp on the opposite wall to create a sense of visual stability.
Mistake #4: Interfering with flow of a room
Entering a room that doesn’t have a natural or logical flow – either visually or physically – can be disconcerting and unwelcoming for anyone so another décor mistake to avoid is arranging your furniture in a way that messes with the room’s natural flow. While it can make sense to place the couch in front of a window or TV unit for the best view, it could mean that everyone is greeted by the back of your couch every time they enter the room. Rather place it with its back to the largest wall in the room. If that’s not a viable option, you can reduce the jarring feeling of seeing the back of your couch by adding a console table in front of it and styling it with a low stack of books or smaller accessories. If you have a small space to work with, increase the appeared flow of the room by “floating” a few pieces i.e. placing them off the wall and closer to the middle of the room. In doing so you create the illusion of flow and a less crammed sense of space.
Mistake #5: Putting the rug in the wrong place or choosing the wrong size
Another common décor mistake that you can make is choosing the wrong size and place for a rug. According to experts, a 2x3m rug is typically a good size to opt for if you haven’t measured the room and worked out the correct proportions beforehand. Another good yardstick of measure to use when choosing the right size or place for your rug, is going for a rug that will extend beyond the edge of your biggest piece of furniture. For example, make sure at least the two front feet of your couch are on the rug to avoid the space looking disjoined and unharmonious.
Mistake #6: Hanging things at the wrong heights
A final mistake you can make as a DIY decorator is hanging items such as curtains and frames at the incorrect heights for the room. When it comes to curtains, hanging them slightly above the windowsill or halfway between the floor and ceiling can make a room look and feel outdated. Rather, hang them as close as possible to the ceiling line and at least 15cm from the edge of the windowsill to create an illusion of openness and spaciousness in a room. For hanging frames, opt to hang them at eye level if on their own or with the highest frame slightly above the top of the frame at eye level if you’re hanging more than one in the same space.
With so much to consider when decorating your home, there’s bound to be a few mistakes made along the way! Don’t judge yourself too harshly though – making mistakes doesn’t mean that they can’t be fixed and keeping these common mistakes in mind can definitely help prevent you from making any of them unnecessarily. That said, decorating your home should be an enjoyable process so don’t focus so much on making mistakes that you miss the potential for fun right in front of you.