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10 Most Common Home Decorating Don’ts

Learn what not to do with your decor (and how to fix it if you already have).

Sure, your rooms look OK at first glance: You finally got rid of that lumpy sofa and own a set of kitchen chairs that don’t fold up. But what would an interior decorator have to say about the state of your home? If you suspect your attempts at “mix and match” just look messy or your furniture arrangements are a little too fussy, read on to see if you’re committing our experts’ top decorating faux pas—and learn what you can do to fix them.

Faux Pas #1: Ignoring Scale

Every piece of furniture looks great in the store—but chances are your rooms aren’t showroom size. “Measure your space and decorate accordingly,” suggests Kenneth Brown, a Los Angeles–based interior designer who sells home decor pieces through QVC. For smaller rooms, ignore your instinct to use a series of diminutive pieces; fewer large-scale pieces will make it seem less busy. On a similar note, consider filling a wall with a single large painting, rather than a group of smaller frames. “It will act as an additional window and draw the eye beyond the room,” says Brown.

Faux Pas #2: Relying on Recessed Lighting

“I’m so tired of recessed lighting,” says Brown. “It makes a room look like a football field.” If you have recessed lights, use them, but layer your lighting by incorporating additional lighting features. Consider table lamps and floor lamps, and highlight artwork with picture lights. “Your room—and everyone in it—will look beautiful,” says Brown.

Faux Pas #3: Buying the Entire Matching Set

Just because a store showcases a sofa, loveseat, chair, table and ottoman as a set doesn’t mean you have to buy every piece. The first piece Brown recommends leaving behind? The loveseat. In its place choose two chairs, which will allow you to mix and match colors and patterns. Another way to mix things up: Choose a traditional sofa in an unexpected, modern color.

Faux Pas #4: Picking Paint Colors in the Store

“Stores have terrible lighting,” warns Brown. If you choose a color based on what you see in the store, chances are you’ll hate what winds up on your walls. Before you have an employee mix a few gallons of paint, first consider the colors in natural light, and then again in your home. For the best perspective, Brown suggests poking a hole in a piece of white paper, holding the paint swatch behind it, then looking at the color through the hole. This will give you an unadulterated view of the color.

Faux Pas #5: Letting an Accent Overtake a Room

Too much of one thing, like an animal print, can look overdone. “You don’t want to live in a theme park,” says Brown. It’s fine to introduce an accent piece—a few pillows, a throw or this animal print bench. Just remember that a little bit of pizzazz goes a long way.

Faux Pas #6: Having Knickknacks Scattered Around

“Nothing’s worse than a bunch of tchotchkes placed randomly around a room,” says Susie Coelho, HGTV host, author and designer for Grandin Road. The most frequent offenders: angel statues, children’s pottery and mismatched candlesticks. Edit your collection as much as possible—consider showcasing just a few pieces and rotating the display seasonally—then put everything in a curio cabinet or on a corner table. By grouping like items, you make insubstantial pieces more significant.

Faux Pas #7: Displaying Greenery in Itty-Bitty Pots

“Plants should make a statement,” says Coelho. “Otherwise they should be left outdoors!” Yes, small planters were en vogue in the ’70s, but that decade has passed. The modern way to do it is to use one large tree in a pot. A series of small indoor plants is just going to make your space seem cluttered—and dated.

Faux Pas #8: Getting Overzealous with Wall Color

Walls covered in too many colors are distracting and create visual tension. “You want your guests to feel stimulated, but you also want them to feel relaxed, says Coelho. A yellow room followed by a turquoise room followed by an orange room looks tacky and badly planned. To ensure a soothing flow from room to room, focus on a subtle variety of colors or tones, such as coordinating shades of green or earth tones.

Faux Pas #9: Not Knowing When to Quit

People are inclined to add more furniture and more artwork and more stuff until they can’t move around in a room without knocking over a decorative table. “You may have some stunning pieces,” says Coelho. “But who can tell when they’re surrounded by average ones?” The current trend is toward simplicity. To make a statement, clear out clutter and let your rooms breathe.

Faux Pas #10: Selecting Busy Textiles

When you’re choosing window coverings, tablecloths and upholstery fabrics, steer clear of anything with heavy gathering, ruffles or too much fringe. “Cleaner lines are better,” says Coelho, “and they’ll collect less dust.” If you favor prints, keep them subtle so you can switch things up periodically. If you opt for a loud print, you’re forced to use that piece as the room’s focus until you get rid of it.

10 New Valentine’s Day Decoration Ideas

Go beyond traditional cards when decorating your home for Valentine's Day. Dougal Waters/Getty Images

Every year on the 14th of February, we celebrate the special relationships we share with friends, family and significant others. In the weeks leading up to the most romantic day of the year, we shower loved ones with greeting cards, boxes of chocolates and dozens of red, pink and white roses. It’s a wonderful time of year, and it’s that much better when your home is decorated for the holiday! From a flower arrangement in your master bathroom that you can enjoy privately, to a wreath on the front door that will welcome guests into your home, Valentine’s Day décor adds a pop of color to the gray days of winter.

In the past, you might have considered your box of chocolates and scattered rose petals noteworthy Valentine’s Day decorations, but this year, we encourage you to get in the way of Cupid’s bow and arrow. Try something new, and craft a pair of topiaries to flank your front entryway. Grab your kids, scissors and construction paper, and make a red, white and pink heart garland to hang along the mantle. We’ll explain how you can put that artificial Christmas tree to good use if you haven’t taken it down yet, and we’ll show you how to spruce up everyday household décor just in time for the most romantic holiday of the year.

To help inspire you this February, here are 10 Valentine’s Day decoration ideas and projects sure to spread the love inside your home.

1: Flank Your Entryway With Topiaries

A pair of large topiaries makes a charming decoration to set on either side of your front door, and smaller versions look nice on a mantle, dining room table or bathroom counter. While topiaries consisting of foliage require watering and regular trimmings and demand plenty of attention to thrive, faux topiaries are just as beautiful and require absolutely no upkeep. For a fun afternoon project, create your very own artificial topiaries adorned with Valentine’s Day candy hearts, imitation rose petals or chocolates in brown wrapping cups in just a few simple steps.

To begin, choose a dowel rod and planting pot or container with balanced proportions. If you want a pot that reflects a Valentine’s Day theme, decorate containers with painted hearts or pink and red rhinestones. You may also choose a Valentine’s Day mug or bowl to serve as the topiary foundation. Cut foam to fill the base of your topiary, and anchor the dowel rod in the center. For extra sturdiness, glue the foam to the inside of your container. Top the dowel with a round ball of foam. Then, decorate the foam ball with candy, artificial flowers or wrapped lollipops, attaching décor with pins or hot glue. When you’re finished, tie a nice, neat bow with curly ribbon tails on the dowel rod to complete your topiary.

Did You Know?

Topiary is an art form that dates back to the ancient Romans, but some of the most beautiful modern-day topiaries in the world can be seen at the Château de Villandry gardens in Villandry, France.

2: Spruce up a Plain Wreath

A heart-shaped wreath studded with red berries adds a pop of color on a formal black door. ©

Hanging a wreath is one of the first ideas that come to mind when you’re planning to decorate for any holiday throughout the year. Dress up your front door with a Valentine’s Day wreath made of lollipops, wrapped candies and a big, red bow. Collect Valentines, cupid figurines or even a collection of old, mismatched buttons, and attach them to your wreath. Reuse silver Christmas ornaments, and hot glue them to a round foam mold until it’s completely covered in shiny, glass pieces. Keep these fragile wreaths indoors; we like them displayed over a bed or on the mantle.

If a feather wreath is more your style, scour craft stores or online auction sites for peacock, ostrich or dyed pink, red and white feathers. Straw wreaths serve as a

sturdy base and allow you to push and pull feathers through nooks and crannies, keeping feathers in place. As you layer the feathers, glue larger pieces flat, and cover with several layers of feathers until you achieve a desired look. Attach decorative birds in pairs around your feather wreath to symbolize love birds as a final touch.

3: Display Keepsakes in a Shadow Box

Shadow boxes offer a great way to display collections, trinkets and photos together in one place, preserving keepsakes and protecting them from damage. Craft shops and department stores sometimes sell finished shadow boxes with sturdy glass doors, but if you have a screwdriver, saw and wood, you can make your own shadow box at home. Displaying a shadow box to hold your Valentine’s Day photos, cards and jewelry isn’t just an exceptional piece of home décor, it’s also a simple project that you can accomplish in just one afternoon.

To make your own shadow box, saw pine wood to a desired size, and cut a piece of plywood to fit the back of the box. Use screws to attach the pieces together with your screwdriver, or if you prefer a hammer and nails, use these tools instead. Create compartments from smaller pieces of wood, and glue the edges together inside the box, or you can skip this step if you want a larger display space. Use paper, velvet or another fancy fabric as a background, and paint the frame a romantic shade of red. Fill the shadow box with old photos of family and friends, love notes and dried rose petals.

Homemade heart-shaped soaps add romance and whimsy to a bathroom. ©

4: Do-it-yourself Bath Soap

Bath soaps are useful Valentine’s Day decorations that lend color to your bathroom, and handmade soaps can serve as a thoughtful hostess gift or present as well. Vanilla and almond is a popular soap scent, and the recipes for homemade soaps are available online and in crafting guides. We like vanilla and almond soap made with crushed almonds (for great texture) and vanilla fragrance oil (for an authentic scent). When making homemade soap for Valentine’s Day, consider using a heart-shaped mold.

Felted soaps are another great DIY project that friends and family will love, but you might like the bristly texture so much that you’ll want to keep a couple of bars for yourself. Purchase felt (also known as roving), and wrap bars of homemade soap in the wool-like material while dunking them in a bowl of water. As the soap is immersed in water, form the roving around the bar and cover it completely. Set each bar on a baking rack to dry, and display the finished soaps in large jars in your bathroom or give them to friends in drawstring bags sprinkled with glitter.

5: Add Flair to Plain Candles

Candles are popular décor for Valentine’s Day celebrations; they lend a soft light to a room or dinner table, creating a romantic atmosphere. Plain white candles are a bore, so this year, get creative with your candle displays.

To brighten a space, cut doilies from different stencils on paper sacks, and use them as luminaries in your home. Line up the paper bags, nestle a lit candle in a pile of kitty litter or sand inside each sack, and turn off the lights to set the mood. Allow the soft glow of the luminaries to guide your beau to the dining nook for a special, private dinner date.

For even prettier candles to display on tables and countertops, craft your own! Visit an art supply store and search for items that will enhance your everyday candles, giving them some pizzazz. Tie bright ribbons around candles in a neat bow, and seal each with a cupid charm or wooden heart. Arrange several large cylinder vases on the dining room table, and fill the space around them with an inch of candy, sprinkles or dried red beans. Sit candles of various sizes in the center of each vase for a bright, colorful display. Tired of centerpieces consisting completely of vases and candles? Try pouring water into a shallow dish, and cut amaryllis or roses right below the blooms. Arrange the flowers around the base of tall, thin candles for a unique, elegant table design.


Safety first! Studies show that more than 55 percent of home fires are started because a candle’s flame is too close to other combustible materials. Always keep open flames a safe distance from curtains, towels and paper products, and extinguish the flame when your candle’s not in use.

6: Hang Valentines on a Tree

There’s no rule of decorating that says trees are to be used only at Christmastime. Break out your favorite artificial tree, and decorate it to the nines with Valentines; candy ornaments; or red, pink, silver and white glass balls. If you don’t own a faux tree, use any other tree you like. Some retailers sell trees specifically designed to hold greeting cards, and antiques dealers sell red and silver aluminum and tinsel trees that sparkle in the sunlight. Erect your tree securely in an urn or metal tub, or sew a tree skirt from a Valentine’s Day tablecloth to hide the tree stand. For an organic alternative, try cutting several thick branches from a tree in your backyard, and arrange them in your favorite tall vase. String white, pink or red lights around the branches, and use a stuffed pair of white doves as a festive topper.

Whatever kind of tree you choose to display in your home, decorate it to your individual style. Clip Valentine’s Day cards to your tree, or hang photos of loved ones from limbs as a tribute to friends and family members. Turn antique brooches and pins into flashy ornaments, and bedazzle a space in your home. Gather children together for an afternoon of crafts, and make handmade ornaments using decorative papers, lace, rhinestones and feathers. Wrapped candies can also serve as tree décor; if your tree is large, tuck small boxes of chocolates in thick branches and give them away as presents as Valentine’s Day approaches.

7: Display Candy in Jars as Art

We’re surrounded by enormous displays of candy at the grocery store in the days leading up to Valentine’s Day, but have you ever thought about decorating with it? Can

dy hearts, red cinnamon dots, and red, pink and white candy corn can lend the colors of the season to your décor scheme. Buy festively colored candies, and collect several sizes of apothecary jars with lids at your local craft shop or discount department store. Fill each jar with wrapped chocolates, red licorice or jelly beans for a stunning windowsill or kitchen counter display that the whole family will enjoy.

While candies in artful jars are nice to look at, we know it’s hard to resist the lure to devour it all! We’re not asking you to destroy your New Year’s resolution for the sake of holiday décor. Why not throw a Valentine’s Day celebration for all of your friends and family and ask guests help you finish the treats? The day of the party, move the candy jars to your dining room table with the rest of the refreshments, and place a scoop spoon in each jar so guests can nosh on candy at the party. As they leave, offer them goodie bags full of their favorite sweets to enjoy long after the party is over.

Did You Know?

According to Business Week, M&M’s chocolate candies are the best-selling candies in the United States, scraping in sales of more than $1.8 billion every year.

8: String Sentimental Garland

A sweet garland with a sentimental message makes your Valentine's decor scheme sing! ©

The mantle is the focal point of most living rooms, so why not dress it up for the most romantic day of the year? There are an infinite number of ways to craft the perfect strand of garland; use your imagination, grab your best scissors and tube of cement glue, and get to work!

If you prefer traditional mantle decor, you may want to attach fresh fruit and cut flowers to greenery purchased from your florist. To create a classic look, cut doilies from colored paper, or collect vintage Valentines to hang from the garland. Attach decorations to a string of twinkling white, pink or red lights to give your living area a warm, romantic glow.

Make your own strand of garland from scratch for homemade flair. Using recycled sheet music or scrapbook paper, stencil and cut out letters to spell out a message of love. (We like “You’re the Inspiration” and “Love of My Life.”) String together the words as a garland for your mantle, Valentine’s Day tree, bedroom headboard or a significant doorway in your home. If you own a collection of Valentine’s Day cards from years past, attach them to a long piece of ribbon to create a strand of garland that serves as a reminder of all the people in your life who love you.

9: Create a Unique Flower Arrangement

Every February, it’s common to see carnations and roses in shades of red, pink and white almost everywhere you turn. But we advise decorating your home with unexpected, fresh flowers like lilies, orchids and ranunculus, and arranging them in floral containers that make a bold statement.

Traditional glass vases are simple and ordinary. Instead, search boutiques and antique markets for milk glass, bowls, tin pitchers, sea glass vases or unique glass tumblers that will highlight flowers’ colors and blossoms.

If you’re hosting a Valentine’s Day dinner, fill clear vases with red and pink candies and conversation hearts. Carefully push the candy to the outside of each vase, and insert fresh tulips or pink hydrangeas in the middle to create a one-of-a-kind centerpiece. Dress up an ordinary round dining room table by gathering several small vases and filling them with daisies, peonies or tea roses. In the center of your table, arrange the vases in the shape of a heart. For an even bigger statement, dip the petals of select flowers in glue, and drizzle glitter over the edges to dazzle your dinner guests.


Preserve your Valentine’s Day flowers! Follow these simple steps from TLC Family to dry roses, carnations and all of your other special blooms to enjoy for many years to come.

10: Dress up a Boring Chandelier and Dining Nook

Most people have a chandelier hanging over their kitchen or dining room table, and usually this fixture is dusty, ignored and in need a holiday makeover. This Valentine’s Day, spruce up your chandelier with ribbons and a few trinkets. Visit your local crafts store or upscale paper boutique, and choose various ribbons in cheery patterns and textures. If you want to achieve a vintage look, collect antique lace and ribbon by visiting online auction sites or thrift shops. Cut the ribbons different lengths, and hang them from the arms of your chandelier. At the bottom of each ribbon, suspend Valentine cards, ceramic hearts or cupid figurines tied in fluffy bows. You can also revive your dining nook and make a floral statement by hanging roses or carnations upside down from your chandelier.

If you don’t own a chandelier or have a proper dining nook, consider using ribbons, ornaments and other knickknacks to enhance other spaces in your home. Suspend paper hearts from the top of a large bay window, or fill transparent lamp bases with silver tinsel and pink and white colored balls to accent your living area. If you have an antique ladder made of wood, hang pretty jewels and Valentine’s Day baubles from every other step, and lean it against the wall in a spacious bathroom or bedroom.

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Blank Wall Solutions

Nothing says “we just moved in” more than blank, un-decorated walls (and maybe boxes!). Dressing up your  room’s vertical spaces will add interest, and make your home feel more lived-in. Here are 5 simple and stylish ways to decorate blank walls.

1. Display a collection of frames.

Whether you decide to use photos, artwork, or various mementos, displaying a few pieces in matching frames is a great way to tie the collection together.

Source: via Homefix Corporation on Pinterest

You can create a uniform assortment of the same frame in the same size in a row or square on the wall, or you can use the same frame in multiple sizes for an equally stylish effect. Some ideas of collections to display include:

  • Family photos
  • Maps of favorite places you have visited
  • Collages
  • Words or monograms on printed backgrounds

2. Brighten your wall with a mirror.

If you don’t have a photos or artwork to hang, consider hanging a mirror on the wall. Mirrors are not only great for making a space appear larger, they can also be inexpensive. A large mirror can take up most of the available wall space, or smaller mirrors with matching, pretty frames can be arranged much like a photo arrangement.

3. Create pretty organization with a shelf.

A shelving unit against the wall can be great for organization, and for display purposes. The same concept can be used for individual shelves hung on the wall.

Source: via Homefix Corporation on Pinterest

If you need the storage space, this is a great option. If you don’t want to add a nail for every photo that needs to be hung, you can also stand framed photos on the shelf, so that you can display multiple pictures without adding an additional hole in the wall for each.

4. Display your hobbies.

If you have a hobby that requires large equipment, such as surfing or skiing, you can prop these items up along the wall. A snowboard or surfboard will not only fix the “blank wall” issue, but will showcase your hobbies as well.

If you have a specific item that you collect, such as hats or sneakers, you could display these items as well. Use hooks or shelves to arrange the best of your collection along the wall.

5. Hang a curtain.

Whether your curtain frames a particular work of art or object, or the curtain itself is the decoration, hanging a curtain is a great way to add a pop of color or a pattern to a blank wall. You can hang a pretty curtain from the ceiling, and tie it to the sides if you have something in the center of the wall (such as bookshelf, television, or mirror), or you can hang a curtain straight across. This works especially well for curtains made of beads, old records, or other unusual materials.

Source: via Homefix Corporation on Pinterest

Written By: Homefix Corporation Publish Date: Monday, January 14, 2013 Publish Site: