Decorating mistakes are so easily made: You buy a sofa without measuring your door clearance, you hang a light too low and bump your head on it, or you paint an entire room in the wrong color. Yes, decorating faux pas are a dime a dozen, but most often, they're not so easily fixed. Whether you have to return a large piece of furniture, call a plumber or an electrician, or even spend an entire weekend repainting a room, it can be tempting to put these decorating fixes at the bottom of the to-do list.
But other mistakes are actually much easier to fix than one would think, so we asked a handful of interior designers to share the most common design mistakes that can be fixed in 15 minutes or less. Whether it's hanging a second hook behind your frames, switching a light bulb, or even rotating a rug 90 degrees, we guarantee you can fix each of these faux pas in a pinch.
Don't delay any longer—these decorating mistakes quick fixes will make your home a better, more stylish place.
Choose and Hang Art Strategically
"A common misconception is that a small space only warrants small pieces," explains interior designer Abbe Fenimore of Studio Ten 25. "Larger pieces actually bring in visual interest, texture, and color, completing the look of the space. And when hanging pieces, don't go too high or too low. Aim for the center of the piece to hit 60 inches, directly at eye level for most." Another cool option that totally disregards the size and height of your art? Gallery walls.
Layer Your Lighting
"A room often has overhead lighting and that is it. To make a room really stand out, I recommend using light from all different heights and angles: overhead lighting, a floor lamp, a table lamp, and the often forgotten up-lighting," explains Kazuko Hoshino, principal at Studio William Hefner.
Beyond placing lighting below chin level, which casts a flattering light on just about anyone, Caitlin Murray of Black Lacquer Design recommends swapping light bulbs: "Switch out light bulbs to softer ones that create a pretty, warm glow, and put any overhead lighting on dimmers for more control over ambiance."
Rework Your Layout
Sometimes people take a large room and place all the furniture against the walls," Murray continues. "Move the furniture around to make the furniture part of the room and part of the conversation. It's okay to walk around a piece of furniture." It's okay not to have a walkway in the middle of the room and create a slight obstacle in the space.
Jaclyn Joslin, a designer at Coveted Home, believes you should not only pull furniture away from the walls but that you should also pull pieces away from each other: "Pull furniture out from the wall, and give it room to breathe. I see furniture crammed together so much, and it's such an easy fix. Plus, it will create flow in the room."
Opt Out of Drapery
Cecily Mendell of Cecy J Interiors recommends getting rid of drapery. She notes, "I'm constantly breaking the rules on window treatments. If lack of privacy or the blazing sun are not an issue, I often talk clients out of drapery. It is often the first thing I suggest removing to let the outdoors in."
If you would prefer some sort of window treatment, opt for blinds. Not only do they do just as good a job at blocking out the sun as drapes, but they take up way less visual space.
Choose Storage-Friendly Pieces
"Entryways and kitchens always seem to become catchalls, attracting clutter easily and leaving a not-so-welcoming impression on guests," Fenimore admits. "That's why it's important to decorate with intent. Choose functional pieces like consoles or ottomans to store keys, shoes, and handbags, while keeping them at arm's reach."
Then add interest with a small patterned rug or mirrored pieces, which open up the space. In the bathroom, baskets, pretty containers, and trays are a godsend," she adds. "They work wonders on top of the vanity and the toilet (if you're short on space), and under counters. They contain the clutter in an instant while still allowing for easy access to the things you use the most."
Don't Go Overboard With Pillows
"A typical 84-inch sofa doesn't need copious amounts of pillows to have a tremendous visual impact in a room," Kay suggests. "In fact, we find that three to five is plenty! A 20-inch pillow is too small by itself, but add a 22-inch behind it, and its proportion is much more appropriate." After all, it's all about scale and proportion.
Get the Right Rug
The last mistake you might not have known you were making is placing your rugs in the wrong direction. "Rugs should be wider than the area of the furniture they're framing so they extend past the right, left, and front of the sofa or bed (or whatever furniture is resting on it)," explains Murray. "Just remember that this rule doesn't apply to behind furniture."