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Decorating Mistakes Made by Some Professionals

Just because you see it in a decorating magazine or book - does that automatically mean it's good decorating? Well, maybe and maybe not. Good design must be functional, first and foremost. Then it has to be pleasing to the eye. And that can mean different things to different eyes.

Even professionals make decorating mistakes. Well, let me qualify that. Is anything truly a mistake? When you're dealing with something that is a creative expression by a person, there might not exist such thing as a "mistake". It is what it is. But then again, is there a better way? Only the beholder of the idea or concept can answer that question for themselves. I'm just presenting some creations that jarred me a bit and made me feel uncomfortable. You might love them. To each his/her own.

For instance, you might not agree (and that's perfectly ok if you don't), but to my mind's eye, the plant in the middle of the arrangement above on the chest is too tall and out of scale for the rest of the plants. However, you might like the tension that brings to the room. Typically you want your heights to descend in gradual increments of 1/3rd. The reason for this is so that you don't have a "cliff-like" drop from one item to the next, opening up large bare spots. Here the eye is more drawn to the the space between the base of the tallest foliage and the top of the next highest plants. Is this a winner for you or could it have been done better? You decide.

In this picture, the artwork to the left of the fireplace detracts from the art and grouping over the fireplace - that is to say, it is distracting for me. In this case, the fireplace is the focal point of the room. But if you place more artwork in stronger colors too close, then the secondary art grouping begins to fight for attention. Is this a decorating mistake? What do you think?

You probably already guessed what my objection is to this arrangement. There is so much going on that the eye is confused and doesn't know what to look and in what order. Yes the yellow fish is strong and grabs attention, but then after that the whole arrangement is sort of a mess. If your groupings are too busy, one tends to avoid looking at them altogether because it feels tedious to try. So work to make your arrangements more simple if you really want to achieve success. Unless, of course, you're one of those people who loves messy, cluttered, full rooms. Then you might just love this look.

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Barbara Jennings is author of 10 decorating books: Decor Secrets Revealed, Rearrange It, Home Staging for Profit, Home Staging for Yourself, Arrange Your Stuff, Advanced Redesign, Pro Art Consulting, Where There's a Wall - There's a Way, The Art of Hanging Art, Great Parties! Great Homes!

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