Lori Gilder

Lori Gilder is an award-winning Architectural Interior Designer known for her clean, architectural lines and comfortable California Modern style.

Top 5 Decorating Mistakes – And How To Avoid Them

Whether you’re ready to re-design your entire home or just intend to redecorate a single room, make sure you have a master plan.  Here are the top 5 decorating mistakes and how you can correct them.

1.  Poor Furniture Placement.  A bad furniture layout can set the tone for the room and is still one of the most common mistakes that many people make.

  • Mistake: Don’t line up all your furniture and seating against the walls of a room, it’s almost impossible to carry on a decent conversation.  And no matter what you think it does not give the illusion of more space.
  • Solution: Try moving the large sofa off the wall and position it in the center of the room facing the focal point whether it is the fireplace or entertainment unit.   Re-orient all the other furniture pieces to work off that sofa, creating a more intimate living space where great conversations can happen.

2.  Oversized Furniture. I can tell you that, contrary to popular belief, size does matter.

  • Mistake:   Oversized furniture can be overpowering and chunky, eating up the space within the room by making it feel cluttered and smaller than it really is – particularly when those pieces are disproportionate to the space.
  • Solution: Large-scaled furniture works best when fewer pieces are used.  In construction, there’s a saying: measure twice, cut once.  The same should apply to decorating.  Measure (your space) twice and purchase (the right pieces) once..

3.  Unbalanced Room. This is where furniture placement and size come together to create balance.  It’s very important to be aware of the height, width and depth of all your major pieces.

  • Mistake: If your bulky sofa, heavy wood cocktail table and your inherited bombe chest are gathered to one side of the room with a pair of club chairs, all of those “bottom heavy” pieces create an imbalance in the space, both physically and visually.
  • Solution: Make sure your overall layout and conversation area is balanced. Then introduce some lighter pieces into the mix.  By all means use your sofa, but introduce glass, iron or metal combinations for cocktail tables and end tables.. If you have a very tall unit or hutch in your space, balance it out with a beautiful tall tree or an art arrangement.

4.  Poor Traffic Patterns: The ability to walk through each room in your house without navigating through a maze of furniture can be a challenge for some.

  • Mistake:  You don’t want to walk into your family room and immediately be faced with an aisle just wide enough to squeeze through, then knock into the corner of that lethal weapon called an end table…. bruising your thigh again, in the exact same spot as you did yesterday!  Always keep the doorways at the top of your list when thinking about traffic patterns in every room of your home.
  • Solution: If you have two openings into and out of your space, then move the traffic behind the seating, not through it.  If you have a sofa floating within your space and away from the wall make sure there is at least 30” to 36” of clear floor space to walk around between the wall and other furniture pieces. The ultimate solution is to arrange your furniture so that you direct traffic through the space.

5.  Identifying A Focal Point. Every space needs to have a focus or anchor for other design elements revolve around. This highlight is the glue that holds the room together, and creates a sense of interest.

  • Mistake: Some people never really figure out what the focal point to their room is, while others try to highlight too many.  Not taking advantage of natural focal points, such as fireplaces, expansive windows with a killer view, or charming French doors onto the patio can dull the senses and be very uninviting.
  • Solution: A good rule of thumb to follow is to look for the most dramatic element in the space.  In the family room or great room, the focal point is either the fireplace, windows to the view or the entertainment unit.  Make sure that your conversation area somehow faces the area or at least part of it.. If you lack a focal point – create one!

I encourage you leave questions or comments below this post, and fill out the form on the right hand side of this page to receive your free copy of my special report: “15 Money Saving Strategies When Planning Your Home Renovation”

Article by Lori Gilder, Architectural Interior Designer, Los Angeles, Ca. © 2010 Lori Gilder. Interior Makeovers Inc.



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Lori Gilder is an award-winning Architectural Interior Designer known for her clean, architectural lines and comfortable California Modern style.
©2014 | Lori Gilder Interior Makeover