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20 Decorating No Nos - What Not to Do When Decorating

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20 Decorating No Nos - What Not to Do When Decorating

Don't be afraid to use color.

Rohm and Haas Paint Quality Institute
20 Decorating No Nos - What Not to Do When Decorating

Don't forget to add touches to even the smallest space.

Photo by Glenna Morton
20 Decorating No Nos - What Not to Do When Decorating

Coordinate fabrics and accessories for a total look.

Photo by Glenna Morton

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!

  1. 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 the choices.
  2. 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.

  3. 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 the color.

  4. 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 with lamps.

  5. 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.

  6. 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."

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Don't Let Your Furniture Hug the Walls
    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 comfort.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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 coordinating fabrics.

  16. 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.

  17. 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!

  18. 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!

  19. 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 to dust!

  20. 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 interesting lamps, arrange books neatly, add decorative pillows to furniture, and include fragrant candles and flowers.

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!

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