- Insider spoke with a group of interior designers to learn about the top decorating rules people should never break.
- One designer said that if you don’t have a rug big enough for your space, you’re better off having no rug at all.
- Buying all your furniture from the same collection can make your space feel like a showroom.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The way you decorate your home is entirely up to you – but there are a few guidelines and design suggestions you may want to keep in mind as you’re decorating.
Here are the decorating rules you should never break, according to the experts.
Having curtains that are too short can make your space feel incomplete.
Lauren White, the owner and principal designer at Ellen W. Interior Concepts, told Insider that curtains should hit always hit the floor.
“Curtains that are too short are like wearing high-water pants,” she said. “It does not look good and makes your space look unfinished.”
A rug that’s too small can throw off an entire room.
A high-quality rug isn’t cheap – and the bigger you go, the more expensive they become. Because of this, you may be tempted to go for a smaller, more affordable option, even if that means sacrificing design.
If that’s the case, the best thing you can do is forgo a rug altogether, White said.
“A rug that is too small takes away from the space, although you would hope it adds visual value,” she told Insider. “I would recommend not adding a rug if it’s not scaled properly to space.”
But if you insist on getting a small rug, it should at least be able to sit under the front legs of your furniture pieces, White said.
Ordering furniture without measuring your space can lead to expensive mistakes.
It may seem like a no-brainer, but taking the time to measure your space is a crucial first step to a successful design, White said.
“The easiest way to do this is to get the dimensions of the furniture you’re interested in, grab some blue painter’s tape, and create the shape of the furniture with the painter’s tape and dimensions,” she told Insider. “This will give you a visual guide to ensure your furniture will be functional in your space.”
Choosing stylish pieces without thinking about their function can cause your space to look cluttered.
“When choosing furniture for your home, it is important to not only incorporate pieces you love, but to ensure these pieces work for your lifestyle,” Gena Kirk, the vice president of design at KB Home, told Insider.
Because of this, you want to avoid buying stylish pieces that aren’t functional and instead opt for pieces that have a lot of storage space.
Doing so helps to “keep your home looking beautiful without the clutter,” Kirk said.
Having only one source of light in a room can make the space fall flat.
Kirk told Insider that having just one source of light, such as recessed lights, could make the ambiance of a room fall flat.
“It’s important to layer the lighting in your home by incorporating pendant lighting, chandeliers, or trendy wall sconces to soften the light sources in your home,” Kirk said. “This creates a calm and welcoming environment throughout your home and can complement your design style.”
When it comes to expensive, tough-to-replace pieces, you might want to stick to timeless colours and designs.
Kirk said she always tells her clients to “play it safe” with items that aren’t easy to replace, like countertops, cabinets, and built-in furniture pieces.
“You can incorporate current trends through accessories and easy-to-replace pieces such as backsplashes, cabinet hardware, or small pieces of furniture,” she said, adding that this can help you keep up with trends in an easier, more affordable way.
You should always make sure there’s ample room to move through your walkways.
Having enough space to move through your home is important to the overall flow of your space, Alessandra Wood, the vice president of style at Modsy, told Insider.
“You should always be mindful of walkways and how you move about space and tailor your layout to preserve the flow,” Wood said.
She recommends, if possible, leaving about 36 inches free in your hallways so you can “maintain a sense of movability and keep your room from feeling stuffed with furniture.”
You shouldn’t cover a fireplace, even if it’s inoperable.
Wood told Insider that a fireplace – working or not – is a “beautiful architectural focal point that can take your space to the next level.”
She also said that blocking it off or trying to cover it could make your space feel strange.
“When you block a major architectural feature like this with furniture, it makes the room feel awkward, and like something is off,” she said.
Your space might feel awkward if you hang artwork too high.
“Art is commonly hung too high and looks best at eye-level,” Sara Ray, the owner of Sara Ray Interior Design in Nashville, Tennessee, told Insider.
She said the sweet spot is about 57 to 60 inches above the floor.
“There are exceptions to every ‘rule,’ but this one holds true most of the time,” she said.
Buying all your furniture from the same collection can make your home look like a showroom.
It can be tempting – and certainly convenient – to purchase all your furniture, rugs, and accessories from one store, but Ray said that unless you want the space to feel like a furniture showroom, you should mix your pieces.
“It’s better to buy from a variety of sources, as well as from different eras, so you can mix vintage and new pieces,” she said. “The space feels more collected when older pieces are used, and it adds to the ‘story’ of your home.”
- Read more:
- We had interior designers critique 10 famous apartments from shows like ‘Friends’ and ‘Gossip Girl’
- 14 things an interior designer would buy at Dollar Tree right now
- Interior designers reveal the 12 biggest mistakes people make when decorating a bedroom
- The worst interior design trends everyone was obsessed with the decade you were born, according to experts
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