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.

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!

Copyright © Rugs Direct ®


10 Ways to Make Your Home Feel Bigger

via Domino
via Domino

#1 Open Shelving
While most people’s first instinct is to hide everything away behind closed cabinets, open shelving in the upper half of your kitchen or bathroom creates the opposite effect – one of airiness! Yes, you’ll need to pare things down and be a bit more organized but you also still have those traditional bottom cabinets to tuck away anything you don’t want in sight. If you’re staunchly against open shelving, consider glass-fronted cabinetry.


#2 Mirrors
It’s an age-old trick, but adding a large mirror to any room creates the instant illusion of space. The bigger, the better! The depth created and light reflected is magical, just be sure to direct towards an interior wall rather than a window or your neighbor’s place.

#3 Furniture with Legs
The same trick is true with legged furniture, it feels lighter because you can see everything on all sides. The room it’s in will feel more spacious as a result and give the illusion of some added real estate. Pro Tip: Pull your furniture slightly away from the walls to get even more out of this trick.

My Domaine

#4 Built-Ins
Most homes tend to have nooks and crannies that aren’t being used to their full advantage, and that’s usually when a built-in makes the most sense. Add storage in the form of shelves, an entryway bench, or breakfast nook. It’s virtually impossible to find the perfect free-standing piece for these spaces, so consider the splurge of a permanent solution or create your own Ikea hack.

#5 Light Colors
The lighter the color, the more wide open the feel. Stick to paler, neutral choices throughout your space to take full advantage of the natural light coming in and you’ll thank yourself later. Bonus points for sticking with a predominantly monochromatic color palette throughout.

#6 Oversized Art
Make the decision to go with one large piece of art instead of a gallery wall. The impact will be huge, guide attention exactly where you want it within the room, and create the look of order and space by freeing up the other walls. Hang the piece a little lower than you normally would to give the impression of taller ceilings.

#7 Double-Duty Furniture
A smart call no matter the size of your home is furniture that pulls its weight. Whether it’s an ottoman or a coffee table that opens for extra storage, use it to place out of season blankets, games, or books out of sight and out of mind.

Lobster and Swan

#8 Build Up, Not Out
One of my favorite tips is to take advantage of the square footage you have vertically! I love the look of a shelf that sits only about a foot below the ceiling. It’s a sweet spot to house your plant babies, your ever-growing library, or whatever other little things you collect.

#9 Strategic Furniture Placement
Find a focal point and prioritize the placement of your largest pieces. Try not to block windows or doorways, and keep a clear walkway open. If you’re going for a more formal look, think about placing things symmetrically, an asymmetrical layout welcomes a more casual vibe.

via Domino2
via Domino

#10 Stripes
Elongate a room by pulling in some stripes! If they’re going on the walls opt for vertical, on the floors align them with the lengthier width of the room.

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

Copyright © Rugs Direct ®


How To Get the Right Size Rug

The right rug can make your living room cozy and warm, add color and pattern to the dining room, and give your feet something cushy to sink into when you hop out of bed in the morning. But getting the right size rug for your space is one of the most common decorating mistakes around. Luckily, with a few handy rug-sizing rules of thumb, you can learn how to choose the perfectly sized rug for your space with confidence, every time.


Measure your furniture arrangement first. When it comes to the living room, the ideal rug is large enough that all of the living room furniture fits on top of it, as shown above. The simplest way to figure out how much rug you need is to measure the perimeter of your seating area first, and then order the next rug size up from that. For example, if your seating area measures about 7×9 feet, an 8×10 foot rug would be just right. If you can’t swing that, opt for a rug large enough to scootch under the front legs of the major pieces of furniture (sofa and armchairs).

Harlowe James

Layer up. If you already have a rug you love, but it’s not quite big enough for your current space, feel free to “cheat” by layering it atop a neutral natural fiber rug, as shown here. This is also a great way to be able to splurge on a fancier rug, and yet still get your entire living space covered.


Measure from the foot of the nightstands. In the bedroom, your rug should start just below the nightstands, so take your measurement starting there, and past the edges of your bed by at least two feet on each side and at the foot. As in the living room, you really can’t go too big with your rug, so when in doubt, order the larger of two sizes you’re considering.

Always Rooney

Pair a smaller rug with fluffy bedside rugs. As in the living room, if your bedroom rug is too small, no worries. You have options! In this case, the thing to do is pull your small area rug to the foot of the bed. Either place the bottom feet of the bed on the rug, or not, depending on the rug size. Then, boost your small rug with a cozy, fluffy runner or sheepskin on each bedside…perfect for sinking your feet into on a chilly morning!

My Scandinavian Home

Measure with your dining chairs scooted out. Your dining room rug should be large enough that chairs won’t get caught up on it when you (or a guest) scoots their chair out to get up. To get the right size, add about two feet to each side of your dining room table to allow room for scooting. Or simply pull out the chairs as much as you would if you were going to sit down, and measure on all sides.

Whitten Architects

Go wider than you think in hallways. Leaving a six-inch border of exposed floor on all sides of a runner will make your hallway look warm and inviting. A too-narrow runner, on the other hand, will just look dinky! Measure the width and length of your hallway, subtract six inches from each side, and order the nearest available rug size for a perfect fit.

Right Size Rugs
Rug shopping guide: (Clockwise from top left) Safavieh Amsterdam in ivory and light blue; Safavieh Tunisia in ivory; Safavieh Amsterdam in light gray; Surya Jill Rosenwald Bjorn in dark brown, black, and khaki.

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

Copyright © Rugs Direct ®


Perk Up Curb Appeal With A Front Door Refresh

Repainting an entire exterior is a huge undertaking — thankfully, that’s not the only way to boost your home’s curb appeal! Making your home the belle of the block is simple if you focus your energy where it counts most: the front door. Read on for 4 design ‘recipes’ to inspire your front door makeover, plus a roundup of cute doormats perfect for a summer refresh.

Southern Living
Southern Living

Cobalt door + citrus planters + copper details. This gracious southern home features a bold blue door, flanked by potted dwarf citrus trees and flowers. Warm metals like the copper lantern and brass door hardware echo the warmth of the brick underfoot, bringing this bold traditional look together.

Urban Mettle
Old Brand NewUrban Mettle

Yellow door + wall planter + desert pottery. A can’t-miss-it lemon yellow door pops against the crisp white siding of this home. Instead of typical house numbers, consider using a wall planter with house numbers built in for a modern twist. Clay pots of cactus and a pair of aqua chairs add up to a quirky Southern California modern vibe.

Schoolhouse Electric
Schoolhouse Electric

Black door + barn light + cafe chair. If understated chic is what you’re after, this is the look for you. A glossy black door and matching black barn light are simple and timeless, while the folding cafe chair and hedgehog boot brush provide a fun twist.

Lesley Unruh for One Kings Lane
Lesley Unruh for One King’s Lane

Pink door + stenciled doormat + purple flowers. A pink door is certainly not for everyone (or every house!) but when it works, the pure joy can’t be denied. Keep things light with a painted porch floor, a pair of simple terracotta flower pots, and a fun doormat featuring a stenciled message.

Ready to start your front door makeover? The easiest way to begin is by replacing that ratty old doormat with something fresh and new! Here are six of my current favorites, including floral and lattice prints, a classic monogram, and even a cheeky lemon slice:

Doormat Shopping Guide (clockwise from top left): Nourison Waverly Greetings accent rug in navy; Nourison Elegant Entry Personalized Rug; Nourison Waverly Greetings accent rug in aqua; Nourison Waverly Greetings Accent Rug in Aqua; Nourison Waverly Greetings Accent Rug in Blue Bell; Liora Manne Front Porch in Lemon Slice.

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

Copyright © Rugs Direct ®