Five Decorating Blunders to Avoid

As a San Francisco interior designer, I have seen many spaces in need of a little help. Some projects are more complicated than others, but the following issues seem to pop up over and over again. These are relatively simple mistakes and are easy to fix with a little effort and know-how.


Are Your Drapes Waiting for a Flood? Drapery panels that stop far short of the floor are a simple fix. Aim for panels that are 1-2 inches above the ground. If a standard size panel doesn’t work, you can order the next size up and have your local dry cleaner hem the panels, or enlist the help of an interior designer and have custom drapery panels made. The cost goes up but so does the number of options.

An Elephant in the Room. Putting a huge sofa in a small room is something I see time and again. It’s tough to remedy this situation without purchasing a new sofa, so think twice about the scale of a piece before making snap decisions.

Is Your Coffee Table an Island? This classic problem usually features furniture pieces shoved against the walls and a coffee table just floating in the center of the room – with no relation to any of the furniture around it. Instead, use furniture to create intimate seating groups. Be sure to avoid blocking major traffic flow patterns in the room. Coffee tables should be placed 16-20 inches from a sofa or armchair – not 5 feet!

Tiny, Tiny Rugs. We have all seen a large room with one lonely 5’x7’ rug in the center. Rugs should be used to ground a room, particularly a seating arrangement. First determine your furniture plan, then measure out a rug that will allow all the furniture legs to sit on it (with a few inches to spare). Area rugs should not be placed closer than 12 inches to a wall.

Unwelcoming Guest Rooms. For years we have visited relatives during the holidays, and each time I have had to “borrow” a nightstand from another room during our stay. Finally, they got the hint – now each side of the bed has a night table and a reading lamp. Provide these two necessities, along with a comfortable bed and nice linens, and your guests will feel right at home.

NEED PROFESSIONAL HELP? Niche Interiors offers a variety of interior design services in the San Francisco Bay Area. We look forward to learning more about your project!

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