The Worst Decorating Mistakes You Can Make, According to Pros

Not Considering Fire Hazards

The Lesson: Safety first. "We always make sure to double-check measures and items before we order, particularly on custom goods, which are not returnable. When it comes to installing drapery, make sure to check that there are no heaters close by that could be a serious hazard."

Not Seeing Fabric in Person

The Lesson: If returning the item is not an option, consider layering in patterns and other complementary colors in the rug, accent chairs, and pillows to take the focus away from the sofa, advises the designer.

The Studio at One Kings Lane designer Sally Gotfredson urged us to always see a fabric sample before ordering a big piece of furniture.

Wallpapering Just One Wall

Lesson: “Accent walls are tricky in the first place, and if you are going to do one, make sure that it’s dramatic enough,” says Henderson.

Basically, it looks like you just couldn’t afford to paper the whole room—which was kinda the case.

Not Checking for Outlets

Gotfredson recalls an event when simple styling turned a little more complicated. "One time, I created a whole living room layout that revolved around these amazing lamps on a sofa table, only to find out the nearest outlet was across the room," she says.

The Lesson: If you're not planning on bringing in an electrician or renovating, plan your electronics and lighting wisely.

Not Measuring for Scale

Henderson also admits to having ignored the principles of scale when it came time to choosing a chandelier for her old dining room. "The original chandelier was absolutely too big once you got into the room. It looked good from the front door and was scaled nicely in height, but it was too wide. When you were in the room, it felt claustrophobic."

The Lesson: Always choose your ceiling lighting proportionately to the size of the room.

Using Too Much of a Good Thing

The Lesson: “There are a couple of lessons here. One is to continue to collect objects over time but to play around and rotate them in your home. Your story changes over time, so let your home be a reflection of that,” says Calderone. “And that brings us to the second lesson—the look is all in the edit. Coco Chanel said it best: Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off. The same can be said for your home—and clearly, my shelving!”

Overlooking Architectural Details

The Lesson: "In new construction and renovations, I think the lesson is that sometimes things are just out of your control," says Segal. "No matter how much planning you do, unforeseen issues always arise. Learn to roll with the punches, and sometimes you come out with an outcome even more spectacular and unique than you could have planned."

Not Doing Your Prep Work

The Lesson: "If you are painting, take the time and do all the necessary prep," says Segal. "If, like me, painting isn't for you, Benjamin Moore will actually do full sample boards for you in any color of your choice for about $15—we now pin these up at all of our sites to help clients choose the correct color."

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