Decorating or redecorating a house or room can be a lot of fun. However there are a number of common mistakes people make when decorating.
Attribution: Flickr - Josh Wedin
1: Not having a theme or central idea
Every design should start with an idea which develops into a theme. One common example is the rumpus room versus a living room. The rumpus room is where everyone relaxes. So all the furniture should be casual and comfortable. The wall decorations should be fun and so on. While the living room can be more formal.
Just start with an idea. For example, when helping a friend decorate her dining room I loved the idea that this was a very light, clean and open space. It was in complete contrast with her living room which was full of warm earthy colours and gave a wonderful cozy feeling.
After discussing this idea we actually removed some of the decorations and replaced others with lighter open ones. So lots of white, cream, light greens and light browns. The result was a sense of space where you could breath even in what was a small room.
2: More is less
The most important item to decorate with is space. If there is one piece of advice I would give it is get rid of your coffee table. This item usually sits in the middle of living rooms, requiring you to sidle past it. Throw it out and suddenly the whole space opens up.
Attribution: Flickr - Faylyne
So to home decorators out there, stop putting things in your house. I especially like rooms that are very filled with light. Keep the walls as bare as possible and use the most simple furnishings. Walking into a room like that can make you just breath out and relax.
I remember throwing out our coffee table and moving some the sofas back from the centre. I would have one friend who would always come into my living room and twirl, such is the joy of open space. But I could never persuade her to throw out her coffee table from her own house.
3: Not making your house livable
Every time I see an award winning house design I often find myself laughing for two reasons. Most of these innovative designs are similar to what has been proposed for decades and the second reason is that I would hate to live in these houses.
Attribution: Flickr - Jeremy Levine
The primary reason for decorating your home is to make it a living space. Chairs and sofas need to comfortable, coffee tables (though I hate them) are there to put your drink or plate and let's face it, we have bags, shoes, coats, magazines and other things that are part of living. There needs to be space for these.
One of the items I really hate even more than coffee tables are TVs. Nearly every living room that I have been is dominated by a big screen. People set up the space so everything points in one direction. This is the worst for sitting down and having a conversation.
4: Not creating a space for everyone and all activities
Even if you live alone, chances are you will still have friends and guests visit and even have house guests on occasion. I remember sharing a house with a weird and creepy guy who arranged the living room so only he could use it. He would try and have conversations with people while lying on the sofa (so no one else could use it) and the rest of us had to stand up and talk to him.
Yet this is more common than you realise. You can go to people's houses and there is no where in their house to sit and talk to them. Other people have pets but everyone is tripping over their dog or cat beds because they didn't make a space for them to live.
Create spaces to work, to relax, to have conversations, to welcome guests, to eat together and so on.
5: Adding every item you like
I love chocolate, but I wouldn't put it in a salad. Many people fill their house with things that they like, but which don't enhance the space. I even talked to an art gallery owner who didn't understand why some people would decide not to buy a painting because it would clash with the curtains or furniture.
Attribution: Flickr - EvelynGiggles
Home decorating is about the best of everything. Have the best painting on your wall, best photograph of loved ones on the mantle, best books on the shelves and so on.