The Dirty Dozen Don’ts

The truth is, if you avoid a few common don’ts, your rooms can instantly feel fresh and stylish.

1. Don’t overlook the foyer. This is the first thing people see when they enter your home. So make sure your entryway exhibits some sort of style! Use color, textures, patterns, and shine to your advantage here, just like you do everywhere else.

2. Don’t overcrowd a room. You’ve often heard the expression, less is more. This is especially true in home furnishings. People are inclined to add too much furniture and too many knickknacks. The current trend is towards simplicity. Purchase a few stunning pieces and don’t surround them with average ones.

3. Don’t pick your wall color until you’ve selected your furniture. You want the color of your walls to complement your furniture, art, carpet, and anything else in the room. It’s much easier to pick paint from the vast array of colors and paint manufacturers than it is to match your furnishings to the walls.

Tip: Don’t select paint at the store. Stores often have terrible lighting. If you choose a color based on what you see in the store, chances are you may not be satisfied with it on your walls. Take the paint sample home and look at it under the light in your room. Some brands even let you buy a small jar of paint you can try on your wall.

4. Don’t make everything in the room matchy-matchy. Just because a store showcases a matching sofa, loveseat, side chairs, table and ottoman as a set doesn’t mean you have to buy every piece. This can dull the charisma of a space. Instead, leave behind the two chairs and mix and match patterns from other chairs.

5. Don’t clutter your couches and chairs with pillows. Although loads of pillows look lovely in decorating magazines, too many pillows on couches or chairs are off-putting to guests. People won’t want to upset your arrangements and may be reluctant to sit down and be comfortable. Also, use pillows that are overstuffed and formable. Use the classic “karate chop” to the top center of the pillow to break up the pillow’s blockiness.

6. Don’t hang your artwork too high. Remember that most people will view your artwork from a sitting position. As a rule of thumb, the middle of the artwork should be at eye level.

7. Don’t scatter tchotchkes all around a room. The most frequent offenders are mismatched candlesticks, angel statues, or collections. Edit your collection as much as possible and consider showcasing them in groups in a curio cabinet or on bookshelves. By grouping them, you make insignificant items more significant.

8. Don’t forget the rule of three. Arrange items such as candles, vases, table plants, and flowers in group of three (or even five). Odd numbers of items are much more interesting than even numbers of items. Also try to vary the sizes and heights.

9. Don’t rely on overhead lighting alone. Never underestimate the ambience created by layering lots of levels of light. Mix in table and/or floor lamps so you can change the mood.

10. Don’t forget that every room needs a focal point. A focal point can be a fireplace, a dramatic hood over your kitchen range, an amazing piece of art, or a large window with a wonderful view. If your room doesn’t have a focal point create one. Bookshelves or shelving may be just what the room needs.