THE PITFALL: Unflattering, overhead-only lighting.
THE FIX: “A balanced lighting plan will eliminate shadows and cast an even glow throughout the room. Overhead lights are fine when there’s also light coming from other heights, like a pair of sconces or lamps. I also use dimmers on all lighting to control the mood.”—Jen Going of Jen Going Interiors
THE PITFALL: Centering art on the wall rather than orienting it around the furniture.
THE FIX: “Art should relate to what’s in the space more than the space itself. One way to do this is to hang the art near the back of the sofa. And personally, I prefer the art be off center than on.”—Philip Gorrivan of Philip Gorrivan Design
THE PITFALL: Hanging curtain rods too low.
THE FIX: “People tend to hang curtain rods directly above the window trim, when really you should be hanging them closer to the crown or ceiling. It leads the eye up, looks more elegant, and can also make a ceiling appear higher.”—Amanda Reynal of Reynal Interiors
THE PITFALL: Lining up all your accent pieces so that nothing overlaps.
THE FIX: “Layering creates depth and enables visitors to view a vignette as a whole while inviting them to take a closer look. It’s okay if your lampshade covers a bit of your wall decor and if your tabletop accessories or flowers overlap your lamp.”—Jen Going of Jen Going Interiors
THE PITFALL: Picking a paint color because you loved it in a magazine or in a friend’s home.
THE FIX: “The mistake is to assume that what you see is what you’re going to get. That paint color will look very different in your home against your fabrics and depending on the lighting you get. Instead, use it as inspiration, and choose a color based on your reality.”—Alessandra Branca of Branca Design Firm
THE PITFALL: Choosing pieces that all have the same silhouette.
THE FIX: “Often when I walk into a living room all I see is legs: The sofa has legs, the chairs have legs, and the cocktail table and end tables all have legs as well. Ideally, a mix of legs, skirts, and solid forms creates a better balance throughout the space.”—Amanda Reynal of Reynal Interiors
THE PITFALL: Buying full suites of furniture.
THE FIX: “Mix it up! Working in vintage and new pieces keeps the space interesting and unexpected.”—Lee Kleinhelter of Pieces