Avoid these common decorating mistakes
American interior designer Nick Olsen describes the following as common mistakes people make when decorating their first homes on their own:
Being afraid to paint. If you're not willing to paint, you're really not willing to do much in terms of decorating. Being safe will get in the way of good design. Paint the ugly wood trim, paint the wood doors, even in a rental.
Hanging one print or mirror in the centre of a wall with nothing around it. It's a matter of scale. There's definitely beauty to having a small abstract painting above a mantel and having that be the only thing on that wall; that has impact.
But a standard-size poster hung alone makes it look precious and, frankly, like a dorm room. Instead, group it with smaller things to give it a little context, like a small oil painting, a postcard someone sent you, framed drawings and so on.
Hanging rectangular mirrors on the horizontal. It brings the eye down and makes any room look low and stumpy.
Buying area rugs that are too small. What's the point of a rug that's only big enough for your coffee table to sit on? I prefer a border of wood floor around the room about 15 to 25 centimetres (six to 10 inches). It fills the space and makes it more cohesive. If you have wall-to-wall sisal, then by all means get a small Moroccan rug or a graphically patterned rug and place it under the coffee table.
Not taking care with lighting choices. Chintzy lamps are a big pet peeve of mine. The big box sofa can disappear, but the big plastic-y lamp will stick out like a sore thumb. There are many places offering great mid-priced lamps and fixtures.
Getting too-bright bulbs. I don't know why people think it should be 100 watts. I recommend nothing over 40 unless you really need more light or have a light with a dimmer. Then go with 75 watts but always dim it.