5 most common decorating mistakes—and how to fix them

If, as the saying goes, the devil is in the details, it sometimes may only take a few tweaks to make your home the oasis of calm you’ve always craved — with everyday cozy, coordinated decor.

The first most common mistake is to think that your walls are a logical place for your furniture.

This layout, though, hardly ever encourages conversation and intimacy. My suggestion is to move your pieces to the centre of the room to create more compact zones, giving you plenty of space to manoeuvre everywhere. This arrangement also allows you to add some furniture, like a sofa table, behind your couch for lamps and out-of-sight storage.

Life is full of memories...

And no matter where you travel, you seem to bring them back home. This is in addition to children's toys, stacks of magazines you hope to read one day, cherished family photos and the gifts you get and “must” put on display to please the gift-givers. The operative words here are change, change and change. If your “little treasures” are all must-haves, yet way too diverse to share space, try changing everything up every season. Vases are perfect for the summer — when fresh flowers are in full bloom. Family photos can be changed annually. For your living room, you can even convert your three-dimensional souvenirs into digital photos. This will not make your vacations any less wonderful. Most times, our need for instant gratification beats out our desire for patience, even with decoration. We like to “finish” decorating one room and go right to the next. This is another common mistake…for many reasons. You end up buying furniture sets that lack a distinct personality or are not really to our liking. You may accessorize with items from one shop that reflect a particular style and do not offer the variety you sometimes seek. A better approach is to decorate like you would select a fabulous evening dress, choosing fabric, material and patterns that go together perfectly to tell a story…and, only at this point, adding accessories that are a flawlessly fitting ending.

And here’s another decorating no-no that bears repeating: downward lighting benefits no one.

It creates dark circles and shadows in the least favourable spots of any room or person’s face. Although very useful, ceiling lighting, whether it’s recessed or suspended, should always be accompanied by other light sources, like a side table or floor lamp. With a dimmer, you can control the intensity of a bright light that you sometimes need to perform certain everyday tasks but gets in the way of creating just the right room atmosphere at night.

Finally, there’s one last common mistake we tend to make: we neglect to do a budget.

Every year you see one or two studies with the finding that renovation creates tension and stress in a relationship. These worries are more often than not caused by bad surprises during a project that affect the budget. So why bother worrying unnecessarily...make a budget before you do anything.