07/21/2014 11:28 am ET | Updated Sep 20, 2014

Top 10 Decorating Don'ts


Because sometimes it's easier to be told what not to do.

1. Overdoing it. Stuffing too much of a good thing into a room can feel stifling, like a Victorian B&B.

2. Hanging art too high. Avoid neck cricks: Center the piece at eye level.

3. Installing curtain hardware too low. Why? This crowds the window. Instead, mount the rod up high to let in the light and allow the window to breathe.

4. Imposing a style that doesn't belong. In planning an overall look, consider your home's architecture and environment. It's much easier to pull off coastal-chic near a beach.

5.Lighting that's too bright overhead. It's usually unflattering. Better to have four 25W lamps than a single 100w ceiling fixture.

6. Matching every fabric in a room. (Yawn.) Just like when you put together an outfit, you want at least one unexpected element.

7. Pairing everything. Duos are not necessarily bad by definition, but beware of the Noah's Ark look. We actually like odd number multiples like three and five.

8. Sticking to one scale. Mix it up! A balance of big and small, tall and short accessories brings a room to life.

9. Positioning beds or sofas on a diagonal. A decorator trick you shouldn't try at home -- it makes too much of a statement.

10. Decorating for someone else's life. You eat takeout every night and have two huge dogs: Is a white-carpeted formal dining room really the way to go? Think about your lifestyle and then bring looks you love home that make sense.

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