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Design is my passion. I hope that in these articles you will be inspired to introduce more design into your life.

Top Ten Decorating Mistakes

If you’ve got a room in your house that doesn’t feel quite right but you don’t know why – there’s a good chance that it’s an easy fix. The trick is figuring out why the room isn’t quite working. Take a hard look around and you will likely find one or more of these very common decorating mistakes.

1.Furniture Lined Up Along The Walls

When the furniture in a room hugs the walls it leaves a big void or hole in the middle of the room. Move furniture away from the walls and create a cozy and more intimate conversation area. Surprisingly, it will also appear as if there is more space in the room

2.Ignoring Architectural Features

Whether it’s a grand arch, a bay window, an angled wall, or some other feature in your room, pay attention to it. Arrange your furniture so your seating makes reference to the key architectural feature.

3.Not Using A Focal Point

Accent the primary feature in the room with furniture, art and accessories. If there isn’t a natural focal point then create one by building your furniture arrangement around an interesting piece of furniture or a piece of art – something to visually anchor the room and draw attention.

4.No Cohesive Feel

A room that lacks a cohesive, pulled-together look can easily be helped by utilizing a pair of chairs or lamps. However, do not overdo it, this can lead to a very ‘matched’ and formal look. Also, don’t forget to define your main seating area, and then try adding a few items in the same colour to help pull it all together.

5.Inadequate Lighting

It’s surprising how many rooms are too dark. Think triangle – three lighting sources make the triangle with three layers of light; task, ambient and mood lighting.

Read more about decorating with lighting in the RPI blog

6. Improper Accessorizing.

If it’s a collection, keep it together. Less is more, so keep the knick-knacks at a minimum, and rotate accessories occasionally to keep a fresh look. Balance accessories with the size of the furniture piece on which they sit.

7. Hanging Artwork Too High

The rule of thumb for art placement is that the bottom of a piece should be eight to ten inches above the top of a piece of furniture (sofa, chair, headboard, etc.). Or, if hanging art on a wall without furniture (hallway or stairwell), hang the artwork so that the middle of the work is about 66 inches from the ground, or at eye level.

8. Mixing Too Many Wood Tones

We all use wood in our homes here; for cabinetry, ceilings, furniture etc. To keep your décor looking fabulous, use no more than three different wood stains in one room. If you have a furniture piece you love and can’t part with, simply re-stain it so it fits with the rest of the room.

9.Hanging Draperies At The Wrong Height

When the hardware is installed too high the drapes will float above the floor and look skimpy and cheap. If it is installed too low it will appear to crowd the window, look rather ‘squat’ and make the ceiling seem lower.


It is best to avoid matching everything – complete sets of furniture, wood finishes room colours etc. This is boring and unimaginative. If you have a matching furniture set, break it up and use some of the pieces in other rooms. Leave the monochromatic colour schemes to the professionals, and use caution with pairs. Items are better displayed in groups of three or five, and vary the heights, shapes and textures for more interest.

Top 10 Decorating Mistakes

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