Chilly decorating mistakes

The right accessories can create a cosy fall retreat.

Changing up the look of your place with each change of season is a great way to follow trends without spending a lot of money — a few tabletop vases, some pillows, candles and throws can change  a room’s feel for the cold weather months.

Buying good decor basics, like a neutral sofa, proper sized dining table and some unique artwork, can  help accessorize seasonally without breaking the bank. Here’s a few common mistakes people make when attempting fall and winter decorating.

Trying to hide your television:
Families watch the TV more in the winter. It is a necessity when it comes to entertainment for most homes.

If your TV hangs above a fireplace mantle, make sure to attach it to a swivel bracket so it can slant down into the room for easier viewing.

If choosing a console, go for a useful yet decorative one that looks like a piece of matching furniture in your room.

Displaying family portraits:
Unless you have famous or royal family members I suggest enjoying your framed faces in a more private setting like a bedroom (although do you really want them all looking at you?). Put  portraits in hallways, the office or the den.

Plastering furniture along the perimeter of a room:
“What? are you having a town hall dance in the living room?”

Bringing the sofa in from the walls a few inches and arranging furniture in more intimate groupings will create more personal seating arrangements and actually make a narrow or small room feel larger.

Rule of thumb: no seating arrangement should separate people more than 14 feet apart from one another.

The row of three uptight candles:
You know those candles — the  ones that must be displayed in a perfect row, spaced exactly four inches apart from one another.

What you are left with is three bright flames gathered to draw your eyes to one side of a room.

Separate and scatter candles to create an even glow around the room.

Use flameless LED candles to add ambience on bookshelves, window sills and picture ledges.

Floating a tiny rug in the middle of a large room:
Rugs are meant to tie furnishings together, not to sit lonely in the centre of the room to be admired.

If the front legs of the sofa and chairs are not sitting on the rug in your living or family room, then the rug is too small for that area.

In the dining room, the rug should be a minimum 18 inches larger on each side of the table.

Displaying family heirlooms that do not reflect your style:
How many times have you made excuses for unmatched hand-me-downs?

You may as well be saying “Don’t mind that old wooden coffin in the corner — that’s just Grandma!”

If you have a piece of furniture that doesn’t follow suit with your decor scheme, then have it refinished to a wood stain colour or upholstery fabric that helps it blend in.

If it is artwork that looks outdated then consider having it re-framed with a more up to date frame for a fresh look.

If that doesn’t work there is bound to be some jealous relative that wants it more than you ever did, so pass it along.

Hanging artwork too high:
You know when someone has hung their artwork too high — the paintings look like they are creeping up the walls away from the sofa,  your head is angled toward the ceiling and when you sit in a room you stare at the bottom of the picture frame.

The rule of thumb is that your artwork is hung about 10 to 12 inches from the top of the sofa, credenza or desk.

If the art is not hung above a piece of furniture then on an empty wall the middle should be a 66 to 70 inches off the floor.

Shine a l’il light

Cosying up with a chenille throw and a good book gets you nowhere if the lighting is poor.

  • Overhead lighting can often be too bright or undirected, while an occasional lamp may not give enough light for reading.
  • Invest in a good swing-arm, floor-standing reading light to stand beside your favourite chair or bedside.


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