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5 Common Decorating Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Whether you’re decorating your first place or revamping a home you’ve lived in for decades, figuring out where to begin can feel overwhelming. To take away some of the guesswork, we’re walking you through five top decorating mistakes so you know what to look for, and (more importantly!) how to remedy them in your own home. With these five areas of design know-how under your belt, your home will feel beautifully, intentionally designed in a flash.

Erin Gates Design
Erin Gates Design

Problem #1: Too short curtains. If your curtains do not reach the floor or if the curtain hardware is attached to the window frame, your curtains are probably too short. The only exception being if you have a radiator blocking the curtain’s path to the floor — in which case, you may want to consider opting for blinds or roman shades rather than drapes.

The fix: Think of your curtains as not just a covering for your window, but a frame for these light-enhancing architectural features. When measuring for curtains, take your measurements high enough that you can hang the rods near the ceiling, and the drapes will just brush the floor. If there’s wall space on both sides of the window frame, consider hanging your curtains wider than the frame itself, so when you pull your curtains open the entire window is visible, maximizing the light.

Svenja Brucker for Decor8
Svenja Brucker
for Decor8

Problem #2: Too small rug. It’s tempting to go for a 5×8 foot or even a 4×6 rug because they tend to be more affordable. But the thing is, unless the room you are decorating is truly petite, or if you’re looking for an accent rug, those sizes are not usually big enough. Most standard size living rooms can easily handle an 8×10 rug, if not bigger.

The remedy: The simplest way to measure for a new rug is to set up the furniture arrangement in your space first, and then measure around it. There are all sorts of design quibbles about how many feet ought to be on or off your rug, but it’s never wrong to have a nice big rug that all of the main furniture can fit on. If you already own a pretty little rug, consider layering it over a less costly (but bigger) natural fiber rug to expand the sense of space.

Lighting 3 studio mcgee
Studio McGee

Problem #3: Not enough lighting. It’s a fact: a dark room feels smaller and less inviting. Including lots of light sources is second-nature to professional designers, but isn’t always so obvious to the rest of us. After all, isn’t the overhead light that came with the house, plus a table lamp enough? The answer is…nope, probably not.

The fix: At a minimum, aim to include at least three different light sources in each room. But if you really want to make your space feel magical, bump that number up to five. Overhead fixtures can be great, but consider swapping out the simple flush-mount light that came with the house for something more stylish (and with more lighting potential) like a pendant light. Floor lamps are handy for lighting dark corners, and sconces are fantastic in dark hallways and bedrooms.

 The Shade Store and Studio McGee
Studio McGee

Problem #4: Jumbled color palette. This usually comes down to indecision and lack of planning. You may have the best of intentions, but without a clear plan for your home’s color palette, chances are you’re going to end up with a mishmash of hues throughout your space, lending it an unintentionally cluttered look.

The fix: I find a camera to come in quite handy for determining which colors need to go — simply snap a few photos with your phone, and look at them with a keen eye for color. What jumps out at you? How many different colors can you spot in each room? Once you’ve examined your photos, go back into each space and edit out excess items in clashing colors until you’re down to neutrals plus one main hue.

Decor
Studio at One Kings Lane
via Studio McGee

Problem #5: Too many little decor items. This is what I like to think of as the Target trap. You’re strolling along, minding your own business, just trying to buy some cat food and laundry detergent when — bam! — sparkly, shiny, colorful little decor items call to you from those enticing endcaps and somehow end up in your cart. I know, I’ve been there! The problem with collecting too many small decor items is they end up losing their impact. From a distance, it reads as clutter. So let’s take a step back and edit our decor.

The fix: Less is more when it comes to decorative objects. Choose just a few key decor items for each room that have real presence. This could be a big mirror, a pair of cool vases, and one framed art print you love, for example. Fewer but larger decor items will make a stunning statement.

And that’s it! Put these 5 tips into practice, and your friends might just start asking you whether you hired a decorator.

Gorgeous Large Rugs

Rug shopping guide (clockwise from top left): Loloi Rugs Hygge in gray and mist; Loloi Rugs Hygge in smoke and taupe; Jaipur Rugs Genesis Atha in copper and gray; KAS Montreal Heidi in gray.

To shop more large rugs, shop all 8×10, 9×12 and 10×14 rugs.

For more inspiration from Laura, follow along with her at LauraGaskill.com!

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Tips for Decorating With Vintage Finds

With bright blue skies and crisp air, fall weekends are perfect for antiques hunting trips. Even if you don’t find anything to buy, browsing vintage shops, flea markets, and antique fairs makes for a fun and satisfying day trip — and of course, if you do find a treasure, so much the better! Read on for a few favorite pieces to keep on your radar, how to decorate with them, and what to look for when inspecting vintage furniture and decor. Happy antiquing!

Design Sponge
Design Sponge

Consider your needs: When you need something specific for your home, it’s easy to overlook vintage and antiques. After all, shopping for brand-new items in your local big box store is usually quicker (and more of a sure bet). But taking the extra time to shop for something that has stood the test of time is worth the effort — vintage goods are usually well made, long-lasting, and elegant. A few practical finds to look for in vintage shops and flea markets include cast iron cookware, wooden spoons, drafting tables, desk chairs, wall hooks, and all sorts of cabinets.

Domino
Domino Magazine

Where to shop: Local vintage and antique shops are fun to pop into, but if you’re looking for a full-immersion experience, it’s worth seeking out a big antique fair in your region. Antique fairs bring together many individual sellers into one (often outdoor) space. Vendors go all-out with beautifully styled vignettes that can help you imagine how you might use some of the pieces in your own home. Plus there are usually stands selling food and drinks for when you need a break! A few of the best fairs across the country include:

Holly Marder
Holly Marder for Avenue Lifestyle

Master the mix: A mix of old and new makes a house feel more like a well-loved and lived-in home, so don’t stress about whether your vintage and antique pieces will “go” with the newer items in your space. Pair vintage bentwood chairs with a modern tulip-shaped table; use an antique glass cabinet to hold your bath towels; or put a vintage credenza to work in the living room as a media console for your flat screen TV.

A Beautiful Mess
A Beautiful Mess

Start a collection: If you love browsing flea markets and fairs, starting a collection can be a great way to focus your shopping efforts. And of course, displaying a cherished collection in one spot can make a beautiful focal point in your home. Just remember that when it comes to collecting, small and curated is often more impactful than large and unruly. Here are a few ideas for fun vintage items that look great in collections:

  • Rainbow-colored glassware

  • Vintage globes

  • Midcentury pottery

  • Vintage oil portraits

  • Typewriters

Rip & Tan
Rip & Tan

Look for quality: Before you make a purchase, be sure to take your time inspecting the vintage piece from all angles. Look for wood that’s smooth and blemish-free; drawers that slide open easily; and sturdy, comfortable chairs. If a dealer claims the piece was made by a known designer (and has raised the price accordingly), check the underside or back of furniture for a maker’s mark. But the most important question to ask yourself is, “do I love it?” As with people, a few imperfections just add character.

Rug pairings: What could go better with your antique and vintage finds than a gorgeous one-of-a-kind rug? Each of the rugs shown featured here is either handwoven or hand-knotted, and the rich hues would go perfectly with all sorts of vintage treasures.

One of a kind rugs

Rug Shopping Guide (clockwise from top left): Bokara Rug Company Semi-Antique Turkish Kazak in blue; Solo Rugs Tribal in orange; Solo Rugs Suzani in purple; Solo Rugs Tribal in red.

For more one-of-a-kind options, shop all of our one-of-a-kind rugs.

For more inspiration from Laura, follow along with her at LauraGaskill.com!

Copyright © Rugs Direct ®

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A Touch of Terra Cotta

Tess Guinery
Tess Guinary

A full range of earthy terra cotta hues have been making their presence known in interiors as of late – from pastel cantaloupe to deep rust – replacing the whites and cooler tones we’ve seemed to favor for so long with some warmth. I’m very drawn to this neutral, especially with autumn just around the corner and chilly nights ahead. Surrounding yourself with a few things in terra cotta just might trick you into believing it’s a few degrees warmer than it actually is if you’re trying to hang on to summer for just a little while longer.

This little corner painted a pale terra cotta and brought to life with a few vibrant plants and that fantastic piece of art is sure to be a warm spot on even the dreariest of days. A color like this would make a big difference in the energy of a space that doesn’t get a lot of natural sunlight.

In Bed
In Bed

Don’t you just want to climb right under those covers?! Bring terra cotta into your home in the form of fabric textiles in the bedroom and bathroom and instantly up the coziness factor or give a relaxed earthy vibe, depending on what you surround it with. A thick duvet and plush pillows on the bed would be ideal for fall and winter while some soft Turkish towels in the bathroom would be so refreshing come warm weather.

via Gardenista
via Gardenista

When you think of terra cotta chances are the first thing that comes to mind are traditional terra cotta pots. They’re great homes for your plants, age beautifully, and are generally affordable. Why not make them a focal point by grouping several together or going so far as to create a sort of installation like the one above? It would work indoors or out depending on what kind of climate you live in and would make such a fantastic herb or succulent garden!

Block Shop Textiles
Block Shop Textiles

I’m so inspired by terra cotta that I’m already thinking ahead to the holidays and what a wonderful color it would be to base my entire Thanksgiving table off of. With earthy orange tones being a hallmark of autumn it’s such an beautifully obvious choice! I love the persimmons on branches above paired with a gorgeous tablecloth or runner. Adding terra cotta pots filled with greenery or a pile of pumpkins would make for a great look.

via Country Living
via Country Living

Of course, some of the first terra cotta that may have come to mind are the long-lasting floor tiles popular across Mexico. The look is terribly charming and fits any number of styles – I love it in the kitchen above with all of that traditional black cabinetry! Retiling isn’t in the cards for everyone, so why not consider adding a touch of terra cotta to your floors with a new rug? Check out a few of my favorites below.

Rugs-Direct-Collage
1/ Couristan Recife Saddle Stitch   2/ Rizzy Home Mesa
3/ Liora Manne Ombre Horizon   4/ Kaleen Ziggy
5/ Surya Caesar   6/ Safavieh Cape Cod

For more inspiration from Kelly, follow along with her at Design Crush!

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Nail the Look: Desert Modern

A little bit midcentury, a touch bohemian, and a whole lot of warm Southwest texture and textiles makes up this popular look. If your dream home is a cool adobe in Joshua Tree with a pottery studio out back, you’re in the right place. Read on for interior inspiration and practical get-the-look tips to bring desert modern style home, no matter where you live.


Emily Henderson

Furniture: This is where the modern in desert modern comes in. Think vintage mid-century modern pieces in warm wood tones, like the bookshelf shown here. Sofas and chairs with simple, straight shapes work well, as do campaign furniture (like the folding leather stool seen here) and woven pieces.

Accessories: A few small accent pieces can go a long way towards creating a great desert modern look. Poke around in thrift shops, mineral stores, and antique fairs for hunks of crystal, cool rocks, and vintage pottery. Use your finds to perk up bookshelves, hold down a stack of papers on your desk, or add interest to your coffee table.


Design Sponge

Textiles: Bring warmth to simple, clean-lined modern pieces (like the sofa and pendant light shown here) with rich, colorful, southwest-inspired textiles. A great big rug in the living room is a great way to ground the space and set the color palette.


Style Me Pretty

Lighten up: What sets desert modern style apart from straight-up southwest or desert style is a lighter touch. Instead of bringing in lots of heavy, rustic wood furniture and painting the walls in earth tones, lighten things up with airy wire furniture legs, crisp white walls, and delicate vases of flowers.


Apartment Therapy

Cultivate your desert garden: Thankfully, cacti and succulents make excellent houseplants no matter where you live! Bring in little terracotta or handmade pots and fill them with a variety of cacti to create your own mini-southwestern indoor garden. Don’t have a green thumb? Consider picking up an art print or photo featuring desert-inspired plant motifs instead.

Desert Modern Rug Shopping Guide (clockwise from top left): Surya Scion Tribal rug; Safavieh Aspen rug; Rizzy Home Tumble Weed Loft rug; Nourison Tribal Decor rug in red.

For more inspiration from Laura, follow along with her at LauraGaskill.com!

Copyright © Rugs Direct ®

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