What Not to Do When Decorating - 20 Decorating No Nos
We can read books and magazines, watch TV shows, read online articles, and visit decorating showhouses to find all sorts of wonderful
advice on things to do to get a beautifully decorated room.
But it's hard to learn ahead of time what things to avoid before you even start a decorating project.
Here is our list of the top things NOT to do, not now, not ever!
- Don't Let Someone Make Choices for You
Your home is your personal space.
Don't let someone else tell you what you should do. If you need
help, ask for suggestions. But when the time comes to make decisions,
they should be yours. It's your home and you should feel comfortable with
- Don't Paint First
You can buy paint in every color under the sun. In fact, you can have
paint mixed in any imaginable color you might want. Choose fabric,
carpet, and upholstery first.
- Don't Choose Paint From a Paint Chip
A small chip of a paint sample might look great in the fluorescent light
in the paint store. But a whole wall of it might be overpowering. When
you've decided on a color, purchase a quart of the color and paint a
small section to see how the color looks in the room with natural
light. If you don't want to mess up the walls, paint a piece of
cardboard and tape it on the walls in the room where you plan to use
- Don't Decide on Colors in a Store
Never buy fabric, flooring, or paint on your first visit. Ask for samples
of paint and carpet and swatches of fabric so you can see what they look
like in your home. Check them out in natural light and in the evening
- Don't Settle for Blah If You Love Bold
A gallon of red paint doesn't cost any more than a gallon of white. You
get my point! If you love color, find a way to use your favorite
colors in your home. Choose colors that express your personality and
coordinate with things you love.
- Don't Make Your Favorite Color the Main Color
If you love red, you don't have to choose it for your walls. Instead,
choose a more subtle shade to provide a background that will let
items in your favorite color really "pop."
- Don't Ignore the Psychology of Color
Don't think that you can create a relaxing sanctuary in a room with
red walls. Blue and green are more calming and relaxing. Choose red and
orange for play rooms or family rooms where the action is. Select a
color scheme to create the atmosphere you want in the room.
- Don't Forget Color Undertones
Not all blue is blue. Not all whites are the same white. Look beyond the
main color to see if the hue is light or dark, crisp or dull. Choose
coordinating colors with the same intensity.
- Don't Force a Color Scheme
Don't "make" things match. Just because you have a red print sofa
doesn't mean that it will coordinate with any red stripe draperies.
Choose your color family, identify the major pieces, decide what you
have that will have a place in the room, and then recover, repaint, and
coordinate all the elements. Find another place for or get rid of
anything that doesn't fit your plan.
- Don't Ignore the Focal Point of Your Room
Not every room has a
focal point, but if yours does, make it important. Arrange the
artwork and furniture around this important element.
- Don't Let Your Furniture Hug
Don't arrange the chairs, sofa, and tables all around the room unless
you have no choice. Make groupings of furniture for conversations and
pull pieces into the center of the room for a warmer feeling of
- Don't Build Barriers
Don't put a chair in front of a door or a table in an obvious traffic
area. Leave room for easy access and movement within the room.
- Don't Settle for Cheap
Don't choose a piece of furniture because of a pretty cover or fun
color. First, see if it's well made, has interesting details or classic
lines. If it does, you can always recover the upholstery in a fabric
you choose or refinish the frame.
- Don't Invest in Trends
Don't break you budget on pieces that are trendy. Trends come and go.
You'll want to spend your precious resources on pieces that will last
for a while. If you are attracted to crystal studded or fur-covered
furniture, experiment with a less expensive crystal embellished
lampshade or faux fur throw.
- Don't Keep Mismatched Furniture
If you inherit or end up with a lot of pieces that don't match, find a
way to tie them together in your decorating scheme. Paint odd wooden
furniture frames to match or recover pillows and upholstery with
- Don't Be Extravagant on Useless Pieces
If a piece doesn't serve some function and won't last for years,
put your money back in your wallet. Save your funds for the necessities
unless you just can't resist.
- Don't Keep Things Because You Think You Should
Don't feel obligated to keep a piece you've inherited. If it doesn't
appeal to you or it doesn't fit your space, either fix it or get rid of
it. After all, it's your home. They'll understand!
- Don't Allow Ugly Anywhere
Of course, ugly is in the eye of the beholder. But don't think you can
learn to like something if you really don't. Get rid of it!
- Don't Display Every Personal Treasure
Don't overcrowd your home with collectibles. Make each piece be
important. If it isn't or if you don't have room, store them away and
change your collection from time to time. You'll be glad when it's time
- Don't Forget the Details
Don't just paint the walls and put the furniture around the room. Learn
about details that make your decorating style unique. Find
arrange books neatly, add
decorative pillows to furniture,
and include fragrant candles and
Decorating is fun! If you follow our
advice, you'll be able to avoid most of
the major decorating mistakes and have a
home you love to come home to!