The Dos and Don’ts of Home Decorating

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Making a house into a home involves pulling together pieces you love and arranging them attractively. It’s a balance of comfort and style. Furniture, rugs, colors, and lighting all play their part, along with artwork and treasured mementos. These dos and don’ts of home decorating will give you some guidelines to create a welcoming and pleasing space.

Do Respect Your Home’s Architecture

A New England saltbox would look off if it were stuffed full of mid-century modern furniture. Although it’s okay to have a few accent pieces and mix up your historical periods, pushing too hard against your home’s natural lines and style will result in a jarring, disjointed look.

Similarly, don’t try to pretend that you live somewhere you don’t. A houseful of woodsy, rustic ranch furniture is as out of place in the middle of the city as a cottagecore living room is in a city townhouse. Whether you live in the desert, mountains, or by the sea, incorporate pieces in your home that reflect your actual surroundings.

Do Think About Proportions

A massive sectional that consumes your entire living room is a big don’t in home decorating. Keep furniture, rugs, and artwork in proportion to the rooms they occupy. Even if the room is small, try not to shove all the furniture up against the walls. Consider removing a piece or two so you can pull the seating away from the walls a bit and give the room more of a flow.

Do Lighten Up on the Theme

While a theme is appropriate for a nursery or playroom, populating your entire house with nothing but floral patterns, wicker furniture, or Mad Men-style artifacts will look cheesy and be visually overwhelming. Instead, pick a few favorite pieces from an era or pattern you admire and mix them with other styles for a more subtle suggestion of your passions.

Do Use Color Wisely

With so much advice about keeping things neutral, some home decorators have begun to fear color. Big rooms that you use a lot, such as the living room and kitchen, should have calming, unobtrusive color schemes. Meanwhile, smaller spaces can make effective use of brighter or darker paint. Choose a palette of three colors you like that go well together and use it discretely throughout the home in throw pillows, accent chairs, rugs, and drapes.

Don’t Be Too Matchy-Matchy

Matching furniture sets are for furniture store display rooms. It isn’t necessary to have 6, 8, or 10 identical chairs around your dining table or to buy a bedside table from the same line as your headboard. Choose the large pieces you love, then surround them with smaller pieces that you find interesting, and that complement the mood you are trying to create.

Home decorating dos and don’ts serve as broad guidelines. You’ll know if your rooms seem off, or if the arrangement feels just right. Go with what you like, and you’ll find it easy to add pieces that fit right into your overall décor.

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