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10 Home decor mistakes to avoid — and how to get it right

Time to redecorate? Remember these basic rules and make home decor mistakes a thing of the past.

1. Artwork hung too high

Art hung too high

Image credit: Richard Cawood/Flickr

Artwork hung too high on the wall makes a room look unbalanced. According to Liette Tousignant of UTR Decor Blog, the bottom of the artwork should be 20 to 25 centimetres above the top of a piece of furniture, whether it’s a sofa, piano, bookcase or the headboard of your bed.

2. Poor lighting

Poor lighting

Image credit: Cole Young/Flickr

Newsflash: One overhead bulb in the middle of your ceiling isn’t sufficient. If you don’t have enough light in your room it will look dull, dated and unwelcoming, warns interior designer Nina Campbell. To create the best light in your room, use lamp shades to hide bulbs and position lamps below standing eye level. Use table and floor lamps to direct light where you need it most, for example on bedside tables and beside the chair you sit in to read. Another common lighting mistake is to fit an overhead light that’s too small. She advises using the following calculation: for every foot of the width of the room, multiply that number by two for the diameter (in inches) of the chandelier that will work in that particular room.

3. Boring colours

Boring colours

Image credit: Countrykitty/Flickr

While white, magnolia and other neutral colours are inoffensive and go with everything, bright or deep colours can bring your home to life. Don’t be scared of a little colour experimentation, says interior design guru Abigail Ahern. Start playing with colour by introducing soft furnishings and bedding in vivid hues then try an accent wall in one room. Ahern suggests picking a colour for your biggest room and building on it to create a complete palette of colours to use throughout your home.

4. Clutter


Image credit: Gail Frederick/Flickr

It’s great to add personality to your home with ornaments and accessories but messy, cluttered surroundings don’t make for a relaxing home life. You’ll create more of an impact by displaying collectibles in one place — on a table, in a cabinet or on one wall. Try not to spend money on too many small, insubstantial accessories and invest in a standout piece instead which will give your room the “wow” factor.

5. Bare floors

Bare floors

Image credit: Jinkazamah/Flickr

Forgetting about rugs — or not having enough of them — is a big mistake. Rugs add colour, softness and help to absorb sound. Aim to have at least one rug in your living room, hallway, bedroom, kitchen, bathroom and home office. Bigger is always better: a rug that’s too small for the space won’t add anything to the overall look, says interior designer Danielle Oakey.

More: 10 Beautiful bathroom makeovers you have to see to believe

6. Badly spaced furniture

Huge dining table

Image credit: Anne Swoboda/Flickr

To make your home look comfortable and cohesive follow some basic furniture spacing rules. Don’t cram as much as you can into a small space — this will make it appear even smaller. For example Apartment Therapy recommends leaving about 61 centimetres between chairs around your dinner table to reduce the risk of elbow-clashing, which is never conducive to an enjoyable dinner party.

7. Too many focal points

Two focal points

Image credit: Coco+Kelley/Flickr

Every room should have a focal point. In your living room the focal point is likely to be the television, fireplace or view and in the bedroom it should be the headboard. Too many focal points is confusing to the eye and makes a room seem haphazard.

8. Copying catalogue rooms

Room that looks like a catalogue

Image credit: Gatsby/Flickr

It’s great to take inspiration from magazines and catalogues when you’re decorating a room but make sure you let it look like your room. Buy a few of the larger pieces featured (e.g. the sofa, armchair and coffee table) and shop in a range of other places for different cushions and accessories. Homemade, clearance and charity shop pieces will add character to your space, says interior design blogger Jennifer Ciani, and you won’t need to worry that your friend or neighbour has the carbon copy of your living room.

9. Mixing too many wood tones

Wood tones

Image credit: Steve Bennett/Flickr

Don’t have more than three different wood stains in a room, advises Apartment Therapy. That applies to flooring, cabinets, tables and furnishings. You can always restain some of the wood in your room to create a more unified finish.

10. Not having window treatments

No window treatments

Image credit: Stephen Harris/Flickr

Curtains and shades soften the effect of bare windows and add warmth to a room. Don’t make the mistake of assuming window treatments will starve your room of light. Hang cotton or muslin curtains if you want to maximise the natural light in your home, suggests interior designer Laurence Llewelyn Bowen, and don’t leave a window completely bare unless it’s exceptionally beautiful.

This post is brought to you by Sainsbury’s.

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