What you must know when decorating your new home

David Treat
Published on February 7, 2018

What you must know when decorating your new home

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Professional decorators see the same decorating faux pas repeatedly. Hey, it’s only natural that those of us who don’t do it for a living are winging it.

One of the mistakes most frequently made by novices is that we don’t pay attention to scale. Specifically, some of the items we use to decorate our homes are far too small, according to Taryn Williford, lifestyle editor for Apartment Therapy.

Thankfully, she and other designers offer hacks to help us out.

Cover those walls

You know from your recent home shopping excursions that gallery walls are big with homeowners. Unfortunately, many are just mish-mashes of an odd assortment of photos or works of art.

Believe it or not, there is an “art” to hanging art

Whether it’s a single, stunning piece or you plan on covering the wall with a number of framed photos, Williford suggests that the art should take up a bit more than half of the wall (.57 to be exact).

“So, if you have an empty wall that’s 120 inches wide, you multiply that by .57 to find that your art should be roughly around 68 inches wide,” Williford suggests.

For a gallery wall, measure all the frames together, “including the space in between.”

Other tips for hanging art include:

  • The center of the gallery or a solo piece of art should be 60 inches off the floor.
  • When hanging art above a sofa, the bottom of the frame should sit 6 to 8 inches above the top of the furniture.

Get additional tips on how to arrange your gallery wall at wayfair.com.

Go big or don’t go there

Decorators see a lot of tiny accessories in the average home. Of course they do – “Big decor comes with a big price tag,” according to Williford. She goes on to caution that the three most common too-small items we use are rugs, lighting and art.

She claims that we should go no smaller than 8 feet by 10 feet with our living room rugs, the shades of our table lamps should be “tall enough that the bottom of the shade is at eye level” when we are seated next to it and that our artwork should measure at least half of the size of the wall on which it will be placed.

Too-long, too-short or too-wide curtains are an easy fix. The correct length can be found by measuring the distance from the floor to the window casing (just above it).

The right width is the same width as the window, and place the rod brackets six inches outside of the window frame, suggests Wilson.

Watch the clutter

If you sold a home before buying this one, remember the advice to remove clutter? Just because strangers, possibly willing to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for your new home, won’t be paying you a visit – it’s no time to go back to the old ways.

Not every surface has to be covered with something. When it is, “nothing stands out as special,” according to Jennifer Wilson at bhg.com.

She suggests using only half the number of table-, mantle-and shelf-top items you’d planned on using. To avoid making the room look too slick, make sure you use items you love.

“Add a few pieces that have a warm backstory, stack beloved books on the coffee table, or layer in some photos of the people you love, Wilson suggests.

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