Top 10 Decor Don'ts

couple about to decorate
Photo: iStock
Before you rearrange the living room (again!), read this first so you won’t make the same design mistakes again. Learn how to turn your “Don’t” into a “Do!”
  1. Don’t hang floor-length curtains level with the top of the window.

    Photo by Mark Lund / The Nest

    Hang curtains close to the ceiling for the illusion of greater ceiling and window height. Width-wise, curtains should just cover the frame to create the look of wider, grander windows.

  2. Don’t have all the same color wood in one room.

    Photo by Deborah Jaffe / The Nest

    Mix all colors of wood together in a single space. (All woods can coexist in a room just like they do in a forest.) Then, lighten a space up with Lucite, polished chrome, or glass accents.

  3. Don’t put an area rug over wall-to-wall carpeting; it’s like wearing socks and sandals and is a big design no-no.

    Photo by Mark Lund / The Nest

    Use an area rug in a bedroom or living room with wood floors. The rug should peek out from under a coffee table at least 18 inches from the sides.

  4. Don’t underestimate the power of personal photographs.

    Photo by Ellen Silverman / The Nest

    Go big and crop in. Then hang the framed photos uniformly with about four inches between and above each piece.

  5. Don’t use a pale color on the walls -- they’ll look washed out.

    Photo by Mark Lund / The Nest

    Go with a dark, saturated color like this deep red. Choose three to five paint chip colors for your entire home and put them on a single piece of paper. If they are in harmony, use it as your whole house palette to work toward.

  6. Don’t push all your seating against the walls in any room.

    Photo by Quentin Bacon / The Nest

    Float your seating (be sure to leave about two and a half feet for walkways between pieces). But if you do have a hefty piece of furniture on one wall, balance it with a mirror, indoor tree, or furniture piece that is roughly the same dimensions on the opposite wall. Otherwise, it could feel like the room might tip over.

  7. Don’t display paperbacks when decorating with books.

    Photo by Ellen Silverman / The Nest

    Remove the jackets on hardcover books to show binding color, embossing, and texture. Display them on the coffee table, stack them on side tables with knickknacks on top, or neatly stack right on the floor next to your sofa.

  8. Don’t cover your couch with too many decorative pillows.

    Photo by David A Land / The Nest

    Stick with two 18-inch square pillows and layer in with other smaller shapes on a standard size sofa. Use the pillows that came with your sofa somewhere else to pull the entire room together.

  9. Don’t buy your furniture all in one place. It’s like wearing head-to-toe of the same designer.

    Photo by David A Land / The Nest

    Show off your personal style and mix old and new pieces. Find a good place to showcase your favorite family treasures and heirlooms.

  10. Don’t put a tiny piece of art above your bed.

    Photo by David A Land / The Nest

    Aim to fill two-thirds of the wall space above the headboard. Then hang a mirror behind your bedside table lamp. The mirror enlivens the space and creates visual depth in a less than spacious room.