Humans love to decorate their homes, and it seems we’ve always loved to give our living spaces little personal touches. Just look at our timeline of the Evolution of Interior Design, and you’ll see what we mean.
There are many reasons why people enjoy getting creative with their homes. The main reason being that adding these special touches makes our homes truly feel like they are our own.
Home décor trends come and go, while some decorating ideas are timeless. Then there are those trends that are so bad that they should never have been a home decorating idea in the first place. Some of these may have seemed like a good idea at the time, but you’ll look back in 5 years and undoubtedly say, “what on earth was I thinking?”.
Whether you’re into a classic decorating style, a contemporary one or even something a little edgy, there are definite decorating mistakes that you need to avoid if you don’t want to waste time and money re-decorating.[i]
We all have a favourite colour, and it’s perfectly natural to want to see that colour prominently featured in your home décor. What you don’t want to see is that colour saturating everything in sight. This is a decorating mistake you want to avoid at all costs. Even if you choose different shades of the same colour, it will still look monotonous and dull. If it’s an overly bright or bold colour, well, then you’re really in trouble.
Instead of flooding every corner of a room with your favourite colour, stick to light coloured walls and simple furniture. Then add your favourite colour accents with cushions, vases or curtains. It’s also a good idea to mix a couple of contrasting colours for a warm, inviting look. While you’re adding furniture, it’s worth remembering that you don’t need to have a couch with matching armchairs. By including armchairs and ottomans of different colours and fabric textures, your room will look intriguing and chic.
When you look at home décor magazines, there is always that one home that seems to be all white. The trouble with an all-white room is that it looks a bit too pristine and show-homey. White isn’t very practical for a home that is actually being lived in. If you have kids or pets, your pure white furniture and rugs won’t stay white for very long.
The other problem with an all-white house is that it can look cold and institutional. If the purpose of home decorating is to show your personality, you’re going to miss the mark if there is no colour in the room.
White or off-white walls are fine, and you can also add white vases and ornaments to tables, end tables and sideboards. If you really do like white for decorating your home, don’t overdo it. Add a few pieces of coloured furniture, such as a pink tub chair or two, for a bit of a cute, whimsical look. Choose a shade that is not too bright but more of a soft blush, and you’ll have a timeless and feminine look.
There is no denying that combining patterns with solid colours can elevate the look of a room, but there is a little thing called overkill. Having too many different designs is not a good look in any home, and some patterns should never go together. Bold, edgy patterns tend to clash with soft, florals, so it’s best not to put them in the same area.
Go easy on the patterned elements while you’re decorating. If you want the room to look interesting and chic, add a few patterned pieces and match them with solid colours. If you do like the floral patterns, mix large floral patterns with small ones and incorporate one solid colour to match your chosen patterns. As a general rule, stick to the rule of three. Never mix more than three patterns in one room.[ii]
Many years ago, it was quite normal for homes to have a collection of stuffed animals placed. These days, this is not something anyone wants to see in the living or dining room. The last thing you want is a pair of beady glass eyes staring down at you while you watch TV or sit down to dinner.
Animal prints are another faux pas. Sure, they trend every so often, but their resurgence never lasts long. If you have a leopard or tiger pattern on your rug, grab a shovel, take it outside and bury it. Stuffed animals and prints are a decorating mistake you really do want to avoid.
That reflective mirror looking black or metallic wall in the middle of your house may look quite imposing and visually stunning, but the novelty of that feature wall is going to wear off fast. That attractive mirror finish may look good for a while, but it will also show every single tiny fingerprint and every speck of dust. If you have little ones running around the home, you’ll end up spending most of your time polishing the monstrosity in your home.
Mirrored walls become outdated very quickly, and they are tough to replace. They are usually dark and metallic, which can look overbearing in the room, so this is one decorating mistake you don’t want to go anywhere near.
Most homes have a ceiling light right in the middle of the room. This is perfectly normal, especially if you have a chandelier or another type of light fitting. However, it should never be the only source of light in the room. A dark room generally doesn’t have a nice feel when you’re entertaining, but it’s not too bad when you’re watching a movie.
In the evenings when you’re trying to unwind, you don’t want to flip on the bright light in the middle of the ceiling. You want to have different light sources, especially in the living room. Add a few wall sconces or even some lamps around the room to allow better control of the light in the room. For even more ambience, keep scented candles in your favourite rooms and enjoy aromatherapy as well as soft light.[iii]
When it comes to decorating a room, less is more. The idea should be to create a warm and cosy room where family and friends can gather. However, you don’t want to have too many pieces all crammed into a single space. You should also avoid overstuffing the room with end tables, bookshelves and other odds and ends. If you need to weave your way around piles of furniture just to get to the other side of the room, you’ve got too much “stuff” in there.
The other furniture mistake is pushing all your furniture up against the walls. You’ll possibly clear a path through the middle of the room, but the room will look sparse and awkward. If your living room is small and you must push the sofa against the wall, bring the other furniture pieces closer to the sofa for a cosy family feeling.
Do you have a patio area right beside an indoor living area? It’s absolutely amazing when your indoor and outdoor areas are next to each other. However, avoid making the decorating mistake of having matching indoor and outdoor furniture.
Many people are tempted by the idea of having the same colour scheme or fabric inside and out, but this look lacks imagination and it quite dull. What’s worse, you’ll lose the distinction between your indoor living area and the patio area. Keep these two areas separate and you’ll enjoy them both a lot more.
You may have chosen a particular colour scheme to decorate your home and you may even add a few pieces to remind you of a special event or vacation. We all get nostalgic from time to time, but you don’t want to transform any room into a cheesy imitation of anything. You may love the beach, but that doesn’t mean you should decorate using shells and sandy tones. Themed rooms are perfectly fine for kids’ rooms, but avoid this mistake in other areas of the house.
Take your time when you decorate your home. Discover your style and the things you like then stay focused. Your home should reflect your interests and personality, but it’s very easy to get carried away.
Don’t become a slave to trends as many of them come and go. It’s better to find simple, classic decorating styles that will last longer than a single season. Most importantly, you should avoid rushing into decorating as you will inevitably rush into buying pieces you think you like at the time, but you won’t like them for very long. Take it slow and only buy furniture and decorative pieces that you really like. It may take a few months, or even a year, but at least you’ll be happy with your choices.
Office and marketing manager for Sloane & Sons Stylish Chairs, who sell a range of high-quality tub chairs, accent chairs and more.