Decorating is fun. I’ve made it my life’s work, and I am never bored. Decorating can also be expensive and frustrating, however. Making a decorating mistake isn’t like operating on the wrong leg or taking that GPS-guided turn into the lake. But decorating mistakes can be costly and make you want to pull your hair out. So today I want to talk about three common, decorating mistakes you may want to avoid.
Common Decorating Mistakes: Hanging Curtains Improperly
I’ll admit it, sometimes I am a lazy decorator. I chalk it up to decorating all day, everyday in my work life. Sometimes that means that in my home I’ve used the path of least resistance. For example, when I first moved into my condo there were curtain rods over the windows, left behind by the previous owner. They were attached to the window casements, right at the edge. In my haste to cover the windows, I took curtains that I already owned and hung them from these rods. They were too short,stopping several inches from the ground. Not only that but by hanging them from the casements they made each of these rooms seem smaller. That’s because what hanging curtains improperly does is make the ceilings seem lower.
I lived with this for several months before biting the bullet and re-hanging the proper length curtains from properly placed rods. This means that my curtains now just skim the floor. The rods are mounted to the wall, outside the casements and half the distance from the casements to the ceiling. OMG! What a difference. I get more light from these windows because I can push the curtains all the way out of the way of the windows. And my rooms seem more spacious with taller-feeling ceilings.
Common Decorating Mistakes: Busy Pattern on Major Upholstered Pieces
Even if it looks GREAT on the couch in the showroom, it is often a decorating mistake to use a bold pattern on your large upholstered furniture (like couches, love seats, sectionals and headboards). Tastes change so quickly these days, that a busy pattern is a big mistake to make if you change your mind in a year or two. When you consider the investment you are making in these pieces, it makes sense to stick with solids and patterns that read as solids when choosing your upholstery. If you must have wild fabrics, get busy with pillows and throws. They are easy and less expensive to replace.
For more on this topic, check out my previous blog: Best Colors For You Next Sofa or Couch.
The Wrong-Sized Art is a Common Mistake Too
Have you ever made the commitment, put in that big, ol’ hook, hung one of your favorite pieces of art, only to be so disappointed? I know I have. Nine times out of ten, what’s really wrong has more to do with a size mismatch. When you love a piece of art it does not, and I repeat, does not have to “match” your sofa. So why you’re hating it in this wrong spot is that the size is wrong. It’s too small or it’s too big. OK, I also admit that sometimes the framing is wrong, but those are the two major ones. There’s a 2/3rd’s Rule for hanging art: your art piece should be two-thirds the size of the sofa, headboard, or furniture piece under it.
This is helpful but it’s not complete, because collections of art (or photographs) or gallery walls that take up the 2/3rds also count. A pair of prints or a tryptic counts as well. And when I said earlier that the art does not have to “match” I mean it, but it does have to feel right in the space. You may love that nude you scored at the Paris Flea Market, but the living room may not be the place to hang it. Your bedroom, absolutely, but you get where I’m going. And framing can be a great compliment to art or a grand distraction. First, make sure it goes with the piece and secondly make sure it’s in-keeping with your room.
Insider Tip: Thrift and consignment stores, like Consignments Ltd., are great places to find art for your home. But, did you know that they are also terrific for discovering replacement frames for art that you love that’s just not working as is. Happy decorating!