Common Home Decorating Mistakes - Have You Committed A Crime of Home Fashion?

It's happened to anyone who has decorated a room. You put in tons of blood, sweat, and tears (not to mention money) designing a room with the perfect color scheme, the perfect furniture, the perfect window treatments -- only to find it's lacking that certain something.

A common design mistake could be the culprit.

But don't lose hope. For every design mistake, there is a lesson to be learned, and an even better home design to be achieved. So, we've collected some of the most common design mistakes and some creative ways to fix them.

Design Mistake #1: Bad Lighting

Let's face it - no matter how trendy your color scheme, no matter how fashion forward your furniture, if you can't see it (or if the lighting is so poor it alters the look), you can't appreciate it.

How to Fix It:

First of all, make sure your most valuable lighting accessory (the sun) is getting through. Effective window treatments that combine fashion and function are key in this solution. Any shade or blind that allows you to control incoming light is going to help you out here: sheer shades with horizontal or vertical vanes that can be adjusted are one solution. Plantation shutters also offer a classic look, with the ability to control the light that comes through.

Also, try not to ever limit any room to a single light source. Add floor and table lamps, even when there is an overhead light fixture. This will not only give you more resources for brightening the room, it will also give you more options for changing the ambience, as you can play with the number of lights you have on at once.

Design Mistake #2: Looking Up to Your Art

For some reason, many people try to balance out a room by placing their wall artwork high above their furniture. However, instead of balancing the room, it makes the pieces appear as though they are "floating", achieving a disorganized effect instead of a "put together" one.

How to Fix It:

Wall decor should relate to the furniture below it. Some designers suggest that there should be between 66"-72" from your floor to the top of any hanging wall artwork or pictures. Of course, there are exceptions with larger pieces, but this is a good rule of thumb that will help you keep your wall decor from floating away.

Design Mistake #3: Everything Matches!

While we're not suggesting clashing colors and furniture is in, too much matching can actually be a design nightmare. When everything matches exactly, a viewer's eye is not drawn to any one thing in particular, which can make the room appear dull. In addition, with nothing standing out to break up the monotony, a completely matching room can actually appear more cluttered.

How to Fix It:

Coordinate, don't duplicate. When choosing accessories, furniture, and colors, pick items that will blend well together but do not repeat themselves. Items from the same color family, but not of the exact same color or pattern will work better.

No plans to replace that matching furniture suite? No problem! You can neutralize extreme matching by changing colors! Choosing a different wall color can tone down or unite the patterns.

Design Mistake #4: Choosing Quantity over Quality

This is, by far, one of the most common design mistakes, and often results in over furnishing, over accessorizing, and way too many knick-knacks. It works against a unified look for a room, as every space becomes crowded with tiny accessories and picture frames. In moderation, these accessories accent a room - but their overuse can make a room feel crowded, cramped, and disjointed.

How to Fix It:

But what you love, and only buy it because you love it, not because it's on sale. (Admit it, we've all done it) And if you can't afford that gorgeous large wall hanging yet, don't purchase small candle holders and picture frames instead. Wait and save up! Your room decor will thank you for it.

Let's say you have a collection of knick-knacks and small items you adore; they really capture your personal style. You can still have quantity AND quality. Organize your favorite home design accessories by massing groups of smaller things together, for a more unified look. And don't forget - not every accessory you own has to be displayed at once. Display one group at a time, and you'll have plenty of ways to refresh your decor each season!

Design Mistake #5: I Just Want to Get it Done!

Home decorating takes time, exploration and research, but too often people make decisions too quickly, without testing the possibilities or researching various options. This can lead to paint colors that don't look right (they can often look different in the natural lighting of your home), or even worse, an ignoring of your own personal style in an effort to get it done.

How to Fix It:

Test, explore, and research! And when you've done all that, listen to your gut! Home decor magazines are a great place to start your research. There are also a variety of online tools that can help, like's MyStyle, an online guide to design styles, based on what YOU like, not only what is hot now.

Ultimately, your home decorating choices are up to you. These guidelines can help you achieve the look you are aiming for, but always remember to trust your gut -- there truly is an interior designer within all of us.