5 Common Decorating Mistakes

Knowing how to decorate effectively can make the difference between a relaxing, comfortable home environment and an uncomfortable closed-in feeling. However, if you avoid the five common decorating mistakes, you will set the foundation while expressing your personal style.


Color sets the stage for your decor. You can use light colors to make a room seem larger, while dark colors create a more intimate setting. Painting one wall a dark color can create an elegant backdrop for art or collectibles, or make the room seem cozier. As a general rule, wall colors in neutral tones will make future decorating easier. You can create a new look with a change in accessories.


Light also makes a room seem larger. One of the tricks in learning how to decorate is learning how to use lighting for the greatest effect. Spotlight art and collectibles; include soft general lighting as well as task-specific lighting. A light placed in front of a window will improve privacy even if curtains are open.

Furniture Style

Furniture is one of your largest decorating investments. There are a wide range of choices from delicate antiques to crisp contemporary styles. While everything doesn’t have to match, the style should harmonize throughout the room. Be careful not to overpower a small room with massive furniture.

Furniture Placement

Placing a long couch along a narrow wall can make the room seem larger, while placing it along the long wall will make the room seem even narrower. Pay attention to traffic patterns. Place the largest pieces first, then fill in with the small accents.

Shelf Displays

While it is acceptable to fill a bookshelf end to end with books, display items present more of a challenge. One effective rule of thumb is 1/3 books, 1/3 display items such as pictures, candles or collectibles, and 1/3 air. If you have an abundance of display items, rotate displays seasonally to give the room a fresh look.