As I mentioned in the introduction to 31 days of Interior Styling, I am mildly obsessed with learning the art of styling in my home. I have to use it everyday to get good pictures for my blog. That exercise alone challenges me to try different things, and often times the new styling sticks long after I finish photographing.
Besides, just playing around to see what works, I am studying up on interior styling. Sadly, it is not that easy to do. It is like this big secret profession and only people in-the-know to get the information or learn the craft. Well, my goal with this series is to crack the code and uncover the rules and tips to make styling your home easier. I am off to a great start with my Styling Tips pin board.
Through all the articles and tidbits I pinned, I noticed some trends about what not to do. Before figuring out what to do, I think it is helpful to know what pitfalls to avoid. I compiled a list of the 10 biggest no-no’s in interior styling below.
1. Matching Everything – It looks like you bought your room off the furniture store floor. Try to avoid using all matching furniture sets, matching frames, etc. Mix it up to create more interest and depth in the room. Try it today. If you have a room full of all matching furniture, swap the chair or ottoman with one from another room and see the difference it makes.
2. Spreading Out a Collection – You might think by displaying one of your treasured collectibles in every room of your house, you are getting the biggest impact. When in fact, you are diminishing the impact of the collection. Instead, display all the same type of collectible in one place for the biggest bang.
3. Grouping Objects in Even Numbers – It is better to place objects in odd number groupings, like 1, 3, or 5. Groupings of 3 objects with varying heights always works (I will show you tomorrow)!
4. Everything the Same Height – To create interest you need to vary the height of things grouped together. If you are grouping things in threes, as suggested above, make sure they are three different heights.
5. Ignoring the Rule of Thirds – The rule of thirds is commonly used in photography and art to describe the best place for the subject. Draw imaginary lines on a picture vertically at 1/3 and 2/3, and horizontally at 1/3 and 2/3. Compositions with the subject placed on those lines, especially at the intersection of those lines, are the most interesting. The same rule can be applied when looking at a vignette in your home. Instead of placing an arrangement in the center of the shelf, try placing it 1/3 of the way in from the edge. It is more pleasing to the eye.
6. Empty Space Under a Console – This may seem minor or more specific than the others on this list, but it is one of the most commonly un-dressed spaces. It looks unfinished and uninviting. Tuck a stool or basket under the console table for a quick fix. The same trick can be applied to sofa tables and benches.
7. Over Accessorizing – There is a fine line between a well-styled space and over-accessorizing, which looks cluttered and messy. Keep it simple and realize sometimes less is more. Try one big statement piece, instead of a bunch of smaller accessories. Edit!
8. Lots of Little Things – A bunch of small items together looks like clutter. Trust me on this one. When you have the option of small, medium, or large…go large. Small accessories quickly get lost and create visual clutter. Fewer, larger accessories make a bigger impact. You might think you are saving money by buying the smaller version of the vase you love, but to make the smaller version work in the space you will have to buy other items to fill out the space. If you love it, go large.
9. Fake Greenery – I get it, I have a black thumb, too. But fake vines don’t look good in anyone’s home. Try easy to care for plants, like succulents. Another option which is better than fake, plasticy greens, is to use natural elements like branches, natural vase fillers, or some dried greenery (grasses or preserved boxwood).
10. Lack of Meaning and Personality – Model homes and show room floors don’t have the lived in look, because they aren’t. Don’t forget to breathe life into your space by using personal touches and mementos in your decorating.
Oh no…I am Making Some of Those Mistakes
Okay, we are all friends here. It is time to confess. Do you make any of the above mistakes? I know I do. In my home, I am currently breaking:
1. Matching Furniture – but only in my bedroom. We have matching dressers and nightstands. I still love them, but think I could mix up the nightstands.
6. Empty Space Under a Console – The sofa table dividing our living room and kitchen is bare and boring. I am on the lookout for the perfect stools! We also have a bench in the entryway, that could use a little styling…a basket, a throw…something.
9. Fake Greenery – I confess, I cheat on this one a lot. I love the curly sticks in my dining room, the dried grass on my mantel, and other dried vase fillers sprinkled about…my black thumb can’t kill them. What is really a violation, is the faux succulents in my kitchen. In my defense, they are high up where I would certainly never water them, and succulents look fake and plastic-y anyway…so these look real.
Your turn…which mistakes are you making? Hopefully, throughout the rest of the month I can fix some of my styling mistakes and give you ideas to fix some of yours.