At this point, you’ve been to enough bridal showers and Thanksgiving dinners to know what you do and don’t like about other people’s living rooms. And while most of our friends have good taste, there are a few mistakes that nearly everyone makes. Here, eight decorating blunders and what you can do to fix them.
Mistake 1: Not Enough Color
We know, you’re going for minimalist. But zero color can easily look less modern and sleek and more boring and sterile.
Solution: Baby Steps
Throw pillows! Art! You don’t have to paint the walls terra-cotta, but pops of color will give a room personality and liveliness.
Mistake 2: Matchy-Matchy Furniture
Step away from the Price Is Right matching living-room set.
Solution: Mix It Up
Instead, go for furniture that’s an eclectic mix of texture, size and time period. As long as the proportions are right and you have unifying elements (like color family), it’ll all tie together.
Mistake 3: Only Overhead Lighting
This isn’t a dressing room, people.
Solution: Area Lights
Play around with table and floor lamps, and install some dimmers, stat. Different sources, heights and brightness will yield a warm, flattering glow.
Mistake 4: All Furniture Against Walls
You’re just trying to create the illusion of more space, but arranging everything flush against the wall creates an overly formal vibe.
Solution: Move to the Middle
Unless there’s something inherently embarrassing about the back of your couch, bring the pieces together to create cozy areas where guests can intimately chat.
Mistake 5: No End Tables
You’re going to balance that glass of Malbec on your sofa cushion? Yeah, didn’t think so.
Solution: End Tables
Mistake 6: Art Hung Too High
Hanging photos and paintings mere centimeters from the ceiling doesn’t heighten the room, it just makes us crane our neck to get a good view.
Solution: Think Eye Level
Art should be hung so that the center of the piece is about 60 inches from the floor. (Psst, here’s a cheat sheet.)
Mistake 7: Too-Small Rugs
Yes, rugs are expensive. But if the proportions are off, it can mess with the decor of the whole room.
Solution: Fill the Space
As a general rule, a living-room rug should touch the front legs of every piece of nearby furniture (but it’s OK to go bigger).
Mistake 8: Useless Furniture
A writing desk may have seemed like a good idea at the time, but are you ever actually going to use a writing desk?
Solution: Buy What You Need, Then Design Around It
There’s no shame in having an office area in the living room, as long as you use it. Make design choices that suit your lifestyle.