SAME, SAME, SAME.
All matching curtains, cushions and carpets create character free rooms, however upmarket. A house needs a mix of textures, fabrics, colours, tones and patterns to give it life and interest.
NOT MAKING YOUR BED
Decorating starts as soon as you put your two feet on the floor every morning. Making your bed everyday will make your entire place feel more pulled together. And don’t forget to fluff the pillows. Cushions are functional, yes, but once you’ve curled up into them, bring them back to life with a good thump. A well-plumped cushion is a wonderful thing.
Even in interiors, where you have no one to please but yourself, many people worry about what others will think. This leads to bland, hopelessly dull rooms. Be individual.
People get stuck in the era when they grew up. Update your eye by flicking through instagram, blogs and magazines or visiting the best shops in town to see how things are being done. Often many of the things you own are fine, they just need a tweak.
THE DESIGNER DID IT
Think of all minimalist nightmares full of hard surfaces, sharp corners and spiky furniture but devoid of the owner’s personality. Get involved in the design of the house you live in, so that style doesn’t highjack comfort.
People often fail to see what is good and bad in their homes. Blame sentimentality or force of habit. Work on developing a good, strong eye.
BIG STUFF GOOD, SMALL STUFF BAD
Many people have good staples, (sofas and beds) and bad details (cushions, lamps). This is because they choose small stuff on the run, with no real sense of how they will fit in to the scheme of a home. Or they’ve spent so much buying or renting their home that there is no money left over, and they have to live with what they had (beanbags, pine shelves, futons). Factor in the cost of decorating to bring your house up to standard, and keep enough aside for quality basics that make a home and affirm your sense of self worth: good down-filled cushions, decent lamps, china, glassware.
Too many people think they can solve design problems by buying something. That might be anything from an emergency bookcase or sofa bed (never buy anything on the run) to plastic storage boxes. They’ll end up annoying you for decades.
TOO MANY NICK-NACKS
No need to be a total minimalist but curating your bits will keep you from looking like a hoarder. Be on constant patrol to keep stuff out of your house. When people give you something you hate or will never use, return it to the shop or throw it out. If you buy something that is plain wrong, donate it to a good cause. When you inherit something that will never be your soulmate, ring an auction house.
EASY ON THE LIGHTS
Most houses usually get lighting wrong. As soon as night falls, lighting is the most decorative element. Be sure to have lots of different sources of light – don’t light up your house a football stadium.
Never push all your furniture out to the walls – think of a doctor’s waiting room with its hard-backed chairs lined against a wall, and you get the picture. Your space will seem larger if you have at least 5cm of space between your chairs and the walls.