... and how to correct them.
25. Using toilet rugs. Those ones that wrap around the toilet? Sorry, but they're not the best. FIX: It is better to use an area rug in the bath outside the shower or tub. Ahhh, that's better.
24. Too many photos displayed. Too much of a good thing can be too much. It's like wearing every single scarf, necklace and accessory all at the same time! FIX: display less, and rotate them every month. You’ll see them with new eyes and appreciate what is currently displayed.
23. Ignoring the foyer. FIX: The foyer should entice people to see the rest of the house. This introduces the theme of the entire home’s décor. Welcome your visitors with a little vignette of something charming.
22. Undressed cables. This relates to the mess of spaghetti that occurs with multiple TV and computer cables. FIX: Hide the unsightly cables and cords along the furniture legs wherever possible, and through cable management tools available at Ikea or with 3M Command Hooks (pictured).
21. Out of place theme rooms. For example, having a beach-side theme in a high desert home can feel out of place. It’s better to display shells in a basket, than designing an entire room that looks as if should be in Hawaii. (On that note, a trip to Hawaii sounds lovely right about now....)
20. Outdated cabinet hardware. For example, 1970’s cabinet hardware in the kitchen instead of up-to-date knobs. This is an easy way to update a kitchen for very little money. Try Amazon.
19. Lop-sided furniture arrangements. This relates to scale – having all heavy pieces on one side of the room makes it feel out of balance. Create flow so the eye travels up and down, around the room.
18. Keeping something you hate. What do you do with that gift or inherited piece that just is not you? Only live with what you love! FIX: Bless the unloved object sell it or donate it to your favorite worthy cause. (And no guilt.... your relationships are based on love, not things!)
17. Too formal. Is your living space is so formal that no one wants to enter? FIX: loosen up your décor a little. Make every room inviting and comfortable. Live in your living room! What a concept.
16. Uncomfortable dining chairs. Your chairs should be so comfortable that someone would be fine spending the rest of the evening sitting in them. FIX: Test the dining chairs before purchasing with the 'tush test'. To be really 'designer-like', switch up the styles (see #14).
15. Lack of a traffic pattern. Here’s a hint – if you have a party and people always rearrange certain pieces, they’re helping you create a better flow. FIX: rearrange and discover how much better your room can feel.
14. Everything is matchy - matchy. Do not feel obligated to purchase matching bedroom suites, all matching living room suites or even matching dining suites for that matter! FIX: Well-designed rooms have a mix of furniture. If you already have a matching set, break it up. Move a living room side table into the bedroom as a nightstand, and vice versa. Isn't that fun? A whole new look for $0.
13. Following fads to a fault. FIX: If you like a particular fad, acknowledge the fad in a small accessory (i.e. throw pillow) or a paint color to invigorate your room. Don’t go overboard and buy everything new, chasing the latest trend. It's easy to repaint, or replace a small pillow when the trend passes. And it will pass.
12. Furniture that doesn’t fit. Measure, measure, measure before buying new furniture. Make sure it is proportional to the space. Learn from my own mistakes. Measure twice, buy once.
11. Too many patterns. Use Alana’s trick to mix the fabrics for fool-proof, pulled-together rooms. Big print... little print... geometric... stripe and a texture. Works every time.
10. Floating rugs. Small rugs should not float by themselves in the middle of the room. FIX: Anchor the furniture grouping with a larger size rug, with each piece of furniture having at least the front legs on the rug. When in doubt, go a little bigger than you think necessary. You’ll be glad you did.
9. Improper lighting. A common problem is not enough reading lights and only relying on overhead lighting. FIX: Incorporate all three levels of lighting: ambient, task and accent.
8. Frames hung too high. Artwork should be hung at your eye level. Are you a different height than your sweetie? Hang the artwork halfway between your eye level and his eye level. Problem solved.
7. Tacky couch covers. If you need a slipcover, get one tailor made for your piece. It's worth every penny.
6. Pushed back furniture. Like awkward pre-teens at a dance, hugging the walls hoping to join the fun, your furniture does not belong against the walls either. FIX: Bring the furniture into the middle of the room and create conversational clusters. So much more interesting and inviting. Whether your room is small or massive, pull the furniture in from the walls. No wallflowers allowed.
5. Too many pillows. Yes, we love pillows but let’s be sensible too. We have to sit on the sofa! After years of a plethora of pillows, I finally recognized too much is well, just too much. FIX: Exercise restraint, ladies. (Yes, ladies. Every time we entertained, the men would remove my sofa's extra pillows. It was a hint.) Additionally, if you take 30 minutes to remove your bed's pillow before retiring, it's a hint that you need to edit as well. Less is more. I can't believe I'm finally admitting that.
4. Fear of color. Paint is the least expensive way to dramatically transform any room. It’s just paint! Go ahead – try some color!
3. Knick-knack overload on tables, and in rooms. FIX: Remember, it’s easy if it’s odd – rule of 3, 5, or 7 on a table. Group like with like and you'll appreciate your treasures. Rotate the displayed treasures every month and it'll always feel fresh.
2. Ignoring windows. Highlight your windows, and consider drama drapes. While we're talking windows, wash them, and let there be light.
1. Fake flowers and plants. Still have silk plants or plastic fruit? (Yes, I have seen them in your homes.) FIX: Use real plants, or a beautiful bowl of fresh fruit instead. Every room can benefit from a touch of organic (geode, woven basket, twigs in a vase, etc.). Give your rooms some life…. Use the real thing wherever possible. Mother Nature's bounty is the best interior accessory.
No matter your "mistake", it's easily correctable. Happy Decorating!
It's a New Year, and time to refresh your home: 3 easy steps that cost you $0
Sometimes when we take down the holiday decorations, the house feels a little sad. We loved the festive decorations and there’s a little feeling of loss, when we take it all down. It’s not a letdown – but it’s a set UP for you to make some positive changes in your home. Let’s give your home some new life. You need a box, a towel, and a hammer.
Step 1: Let's go boxing
Look around your room right now. Is there anything that does not spark joy in your heart? For instance, if you’re in your home office – are there any books that really are not you anymore? If so, grab that box and gather the books you are going to donate. Move to the next room and repeat this process. Someone will appreciate these books – whether it’s the library, or the local thrift shop that benefits your favorite charity.
"HEY CLOTHES, COME OUT OF THE CLOSET". If your clothes are so jam packed into the closet that you always have wrinkled clothes, chances are you can let go of a few items of clothing. If this is you – get the grocery sack and pull out all the clothes you haven’t worn in the past 12 months. Pull out all the clothes that still have the tags on them that you never got around to wearing this past year. Eliminate all the clothes that don’t fit. Ladies, if you have a dress that’s a few sizes smaller than you are, clothes do not exist to shame you. Put all these items in the donation box. Guys, if you're in your 30's and still have high school tees, time to let them go. It’s a win win - Every time you walk in your closet, only have clothes that fit you and make you smile when you wear them, and the clothes reflect who/ what you are today. And you’ll donate to organizations that will benefit others with your old clothing. That is the first step - fill up a box (or two or three! ) and donate them.
STEP 2: Grab a towel. We're going to move some furniture.
Think about the room you had your Christmas tree, or your holiday decorations. Could that room use a bit of a refresh? You can easily do this by rearranging your furniture in a more conversational set up. If your furniture is pushed up against the walls, pull it out a little – ‘no wallflowers’. The towel under the furniture make moving furniture easy. (Or you can use Super Sliders, available at most stores. During January I'll have these on the Links page.) If you always have the recliner in that one corner, switch it up a little – and see how the room feels. If you have always had your room arranged straight on, with sofa parallel to the wall, consider changing it up by putting the sofa on an angle.
We were celebrating our anniversary at the Inn of the Anasazi in Santa Fe, and I noticed the little living area adjacent to the concierge was arranged on an angle. Something as simple as shifting the arrangement to be on an angle can dramatically change the look and feel of a room. Or if you have a kitchen table that’s square to the wall, try turning it 45 degrees. I encourage you to rethink your rooms, and rearrange – change it up. This step costs nothing, but can make the room feel brand new. That was fun. What's next?
Step 3: It's hammer time.
When refreshing a room, I like to take down every piece of art and reconsider where they are placed. Could you regroup your pictures / artwork in a new way so it’s more pleasing to the eye? Go ahead – take down all the artwork in a room, and look at your walls – it’s a blank canvas! Rearranging your artwork can completely revitalize a tired room, and again – it costs you nothing to do that. So many times we just throw artwork up to fill empty spaces. But if you’re more thoughtful about it – you will love the results.
The key is to group like with like – such as landscapes all together, or a certain colorway together. Perhaps you have different pieces all framed in a similar fashion – that’s your common denominator. Group like with like items together and you will be pleased with the new arrangement. (The example above shows how brightly colored art from different artists and genres can effectively coexist.)
Play with the artwork arrangement over your bed – try something different behind your sofa – and change it up. All you need is a hammer, and an adventurous spirit. If you have lots of family photos, instead of having pictures here there and everywhere scattered throughout the house. Gather all the family photos and create a hall of memories. I was at someone’s home recently who did exactly that and it looks fantastic. It’s a nice reminder of our loved ones every time you pass through that hallway.
There’s a medical bonus to this work. If you’re over 50, studies show that rearranging your artwork and furniture can help stave off Alzheimer’s – giving your eye a new arrangement to look at is good for you.
REFRESH YOUR HOME this New Year. All you need is a box, a towel and a hammer to refresh your space. Fill up the box with donations of that which you don’t need any more and know that you’ll be blessing someone else with your donations. Use the towel to slip under heavy furniture when rearranging for better functionality. And the hammer is for rehanging your artwork in a new way.
Here's to your New Y.E.A.R., Your Easy Affordable Refresh. It's not a let down, it’s a SET UP for you to give your rooms new life, at no cost.
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