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What NOT to Do When Decorating

There is no limit to where you can draw inspiration and advice on how to decorate and design your new home. You can read books and magazines, watch Home Shows, visit showrooms and search home decorating and interior design websites to find out how to get a beautifully decorated home. What they don't usually tell you is what NOT to do when decorating. Here is a list of what NOT to do when decorating to avoid being disappointed with your new home:

THD-7228 The Siena House Plan

Take these design tips to avoid decorating disappointments in your new home.
  • Don't Let Someone Make Decisions for You
    Your home is your own personal space; so don't let someone else tell you what you should do. If you need help, ask for suggestions or do the research online. When the time comes to make final design decisions, make sure they're your own, because it's YOUR home and you need to feel comfortable and confident with your choices.
  • Don't Choose Paint From a Paint Chip
    A small paint chip might look great in the fluorescent light in the paint store, but a whole wall of it might be overpowering and nothing like you expected. When you've decided on a color, purchase a quart of the color and paint a small section on the wall to see how the color will look 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.
  • Don't Decide on Colors in a Store
    Don't buy fabric, flooring or paint on your first visit. Such large design elements shouldn't be an impulse purchase. Ask for samples of paint, carpet, wood, tile and swatches of fabric so you can see what they will look like in your home in natural light and at night.
  • Don't Force a Color Scheme
    Don't force things to match. Just because you have a red print sofa doesn't mean that it will coordinate with any red window treatments or accents. Choose your color family and then identify the major pieces so you can coordinate all the elements.
  • Don't Let Your Furniture Hug the Walls
    Don't arrange the chairs, sofa, and tables along the walls of the room unless you have no choice. Make groupings of furniture for cozy social settings and pull pieces into the center of the room to create an inviting feeling.
  • 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. Resurface old and odd wooden furniture to blend with your existing pieces or recover pillows and upholstery with coordinating fabrics. 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. That doesn't mean bring it to the dump. Ask your friends if they would enjoy the piece or donate it to a charity.
  • Don't Be Extravagant on Useless Pieces
    If a piece doesn't serve some function and won't last for years, simply fight the impulse to purchase it. Save your money for the more important items.
  • Don't Display Every Personal Treasure
    Don't overcrowd your home with collectibles. Each piece should mean something. If it doesn't or if you don't have room, consider rotating your collections from time to time. You'll be glad when it's time to dust! And guests can really appreciate your personal pieces when they are not cluttered.
  • Don't Forget the Details
    Don't just paint the walls and put the furniture around the room. Learn about accents and accessories that make your decorating style unique. Find interesting lamps, candles, vases, mirrors, decorative pillows and more to personalize your new space.