If you are decorating your home without the help of a professional, chances are high that the final product won’t turn out exactly as you had hoped for. So, to help you with undertaking your own project successfully, I am going to exemplify some common decorating mistakes and how you can avoid them.

Choosing the wrong size of a rug

A rug can add significant impact to a room, even when chosen wrongly. However, in the latter case, the effect is not a desirable one. Choosing the wrong size of a rug is a common mistake, but with some guidance, it can be avoided.

When shopping for a rug for your living room, the first thing you should do is measure your seating area. Ideally, all the furniture should fit on the rug, especially if the furniture is floating (off the walls) or if your room is big. The rug should extend at least 6 inches on each side of your sofa for proper scale.

On a layout with part of the furniture grouping against a wall, it is okay to have a rug that will accommodate only the front feet of the sofa and chairs.

Be consistent when arranging the furniture. If you can’t have them all on the rug, place them equally in reference to it, for example, don’t have your sofa on the rug and chairs off of it.

As for your dining area, choose a rug that amply accommodates your table and chairs, making sure that when the chairs are pulled back for seating their legs won’t fall out of the rug.

Relying on only one source of lighting

Lighting often doesn’t receive the attention it should. It is such an essential element on the design process though, so when decorating a room in your home, make sure that you put some thought to it.

Plan for different sources of light, coming from different heights such as floor lamps and table lamps. Have them on dimmers. What a difference that makes in creating the right mood. Having a harsh light coming from above can be uninviting and uncomfortable.

Think about ambience, but also think about function. Understand the kind of light you will need in a given room and account for it.

Having your furniture against the walls

Unless your living room is very small, when you push your sofa and other furniture against the walls you create an empty space in the middle of the room. Such a layout is neither the most comfortable for conversation nor the most aesthetically pleasing.

Don’t be afraid to bring furniture to the center of the room. Some furniture has beautiful backs and will look splendid off the walls.

In a room that serves for more than one purpose, like living and dining, the back of a sofa could be used to define the different areas. You can even place a console table behind this sofa, adding a surface for beautiful displays.

Holding on to something you don’t like

Have you ever displayed a gift that does not fit your décor or that you don’t like just because you feel bad for not using it?

If a gift that you received or something that you bought does not belong to your room, don’t force it. Try to find an alternative solution to it. It might fit in another room or be welcomed by somebody else. It does not have to go to waste, but its presence should not bother you every time you glance at it.

Ignoring the entryway

You won’t be spending much time in your entryway, but this is the space that will greet you every time you come home, so make it an inspiring welcome and a statement of what your house is like.

Entryways are good places to be a bit more daring, so don’t be shy when choosing wallcovering or paint. If taking the shoes off is a must when walking in, add a seat for comfort. A mirror or artwork are great additions to the space too. A table to store your keys, mail and other belongings would be handy.

Retracting from quality pieces

If you see an accessory that you like but that you find expensive, save up for it. It’s better to acquire over time beautiful, quality and timeless pieces than to fill your room with unattractive small accents just to cover every surface of it.


A room full of clutter cannot be justly appreciated. Accessories in excess, too much artwork and other objects on the walls and collectibles in significant number, among other examples, become clutter, distractive and reduce the potential of a space.

If you have a big collection of objects that you are proud of and would like to display, I strongly encourage you to do so, but not all at once. A collection can imprint uniqueness to a room, tell a story and evoke curiosity, but when shown together in high number, it might do a disservice to your space. To create a proper impact, display small groups of your collectibles and rotate them with time.