1. Choose Furniture That Doesn’t Fit
You wouldn’t wear clothes in a size that’s baggy or skin tight, so why would you choose furniture that doesn’t fit in your room?
Before you shop for furniture, whether you’re buying new or at a garage sale, measure your space, think about where you’re going to put the piece, and write down notes. Resist the temptation to buy a too-big sofa, thinking you can put it on an angle if it doesn’t fit. Write down the measurements an stick to it.
It’s just as bad to buy pieces that are too small, thinking you can add more pieces to fill the space. Plan out your arrangement, think it over, and then find the pieces that are just right.
2. Use Too Many Patterns and Prints
Don’t pick up just any fabric or piece of furniture you like, thinking you can work around it. Plan your color scheme, select a main pattern, then find coordinating stripes, small prints, and plaids that enhance your choice.
Follow the Rule of 3: Select one main pattern, usually a large print. Then find one small, coordinating print and one stripe or plaid. Then call it quits. If you need another fabric, think about using a solid-colored texture or interesting weave instead of another pattern or print.
3. Float a Rug in the Middle of the Room
The elements in a room should be connected, both visibly and physically. A rug on the floor adds color and a connection between pieces of furniture. The rug should be tucked under the front legs of chairs, sofas, and tables.
A rug placed in the middle of a room, unanchored, poses a safety hazard. It would be easy to trip on an edge or corner of the rug or slip and slide if the rug moves
4. Push All the Furniture Up Against the Wall
You may think that a room will look larger if the middle of the floor is open, without furniture. But the opposite is true. Unless you’re going to have a dancing party in the middle of your room, move the furniture into groupings in the center.
Arrange a sofa with a table behind it, away from the wall with a walking space behind. Show off the back of the sofa and arrange decorative items and a lamp for reading behind it. Move chairs out of corners and you’ll have a more open, airy look in your room.
5. Put Out All Your Collectibles
Whether you collect knick knacks from travels like ash trays or salt and pepper shakers or fine pieces of sculpture or one-of-a-kind hand-blown glass, you shouldn’t put everything out at one time.
Do your best to select only the most important pieces, either in monetary or sentimental value, and get rid of the rest. If you can’t bear to throw the pieces away, put them away and rotate the items on display. Less really is more!
6. Decorate With Family Heirlooms Whether You Like Them or Not
Just because your grandparents chose to decorate in Victorian style doesn’t mean that you have to. If you want to use something that was handed down, select one special piece and use it as an accent in your home. But get rid of the rest of the pieces that you don’t want. Your space should reflect who you are, not who the people are who went before you.
7. Put Decorative Pillows Everywhere
You can buy pillows in every size, shape, color, and texture. But just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Pillows are great accessories to use to add interest and softness to a space, but they should be functional, not just decorative.
It’s almost a natural that you’d use a decorative pillow on a sofa or at the back of a deep chair. Several on the top of a bed would be logical too. But don’t place pillows on furniture that you have to take off to sit down or lie in bed. Make pillows decorative, soft, comfortable, and, above all, useful.
8. Protect Your Furniture With Slipcovers
Slipcovers are wonderful for covering up worn fabric or patterns on fabric that are out of style or don’t go with your decor.But any slipcover should be decorative and add to the piece, not distract from it. The worst of the worst are clear vinyl slipcovers. You might be tempted to choose one to protect the beautiful silk fabric on your furniture. But they just look awful. There’s no question about it and you should avoid them at all costs.
If you must cover a piece of furniture, choose a slipcover in a color that resembles the upholstery you’re covering. Hopefully it will blend with the space and no one will really notice. Remove the cover whenever you have guests and replace it for everyday activity.
9. Hang All Your Artwork and Mirrors at the Same Height
You’ve probably heard the rule about hanging art at eye level. That’s all well and good, but people’s eyes are not at the same height. Think about it: a 6-foot person’s eyes are higher than those of someone sitting on a chair.
Please read previous post about How High to Hang Art that will guide you through the process of deciding where to hang pictures and mirrors so that they create a focal point on a wall and enhance the space instead of detract from it.
10. Use 100 Watt Bulbs in All Your Lamps and Light Fixtures
Of course you’ll want to have a good light for reading, but the other lights in your room should be selected for specific tasks or to create a mood.
Choose your lighting to match the function of the space. For the kitchen, you might want recessed lights or a small lamp in the corner of a counter. You’ll need a good lamp over your desk and maybe track lights over your computer and work space.
For total light control, install dimmers on all your wall light switches and on lamp cords.
11. Choose Dining Room Chairs to Look Good, Not for Comfort
Not! A dining room is a place for people to gather, visit, and enjoy each other’s company. The dining chairs should fit comfortably around the table. But the most important thing they should be is inviting, giving guests no reason to get up and move out. Create a welcoming room and your dinner will be a time to remember.
12. Decorate With the Trend of the Day
Even if it doesn’t match your decor it’s fun to be up to date with trends and fads, but your home is not the place to be “au courant” every season. Decorating and furniture are expensive investments and you can’t expect to change colors and styles with the calendar.
Choose trends you really like and decide how you can get the look without spending a lot of money. There are ways to incorporate decorating trends into your decor without making a total change. You’ll save money but not be left behind the decorating curve.
Some, in fact most, rules are made to be broken. Choose the rules you’ll follow wisely. The things listed here are absolutely not to be done.