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Decorating don'ts

Decorating don’ts – are you guilty?

Want to create the perfect designer look in your home?

There are certain key rules and guidelines to follow in interior design; some basic fundamentals that focus on creating balance, proportion, and overall flow in each of your spaces. The trick to a great room is being mindful of these decorating don'ts:


Spaces need continuity and harmony regarding the materials, finishes, and colours you use, but the worst thing you can do is to have everything match. When floors, cabinets, counters, walls, and furniture match too closely, everything starts to melt into a soupy, boring mess.

Every space needs some ebb and flow. You can achieve this by using materials with tones in the same colour family but varying on the dark and light side of the scale. Contrast is an absolute necessity for dynamic, breathable, and interesting spaces, so don't be afraid to mix in materials that offer up some variety.

Small Accessories

It's better to have a few great pieces of art and decor that are larger in scale, then to have too many smaller items cluttering up your walls and shelves.

I see rooms all the time that are either drowning in small, ineffective decor (it takes more of this to fill up a space), or larger rooms that seem empty and sparse because average sized accessories just don't fill interiors with high ceilings, and open concept design.

Think oversize, and seek out items such as artwork, frames, mirrors, vases, bowls, baskets, and trinkets in a larger scale.

Art Hung Too High

My rule is this: art should be hung roughly 8"-12" from the backs of your sofas or chairs. Anything higher and you run the risk of a disconnect between furniture at floor level, and art too close to the ceiling line.

Dark Colours

I love rich and dark colours, but even the earthiest of spaces need pops of contrast. Rooms decorated in the same level of colour fall flat and seem heavy. Adding brighter, lighter accents in creams, silvers, linens, and oatmeals will help to keep your rooms breathing.

Furniture Large and Small

Having furniture that fits your rooms is essential: larger furniture swallows up smaller spaces, while smaller furniture looks tiny and out of place in bigger areas — and a mix of both in average-sized rooms just looks messy. 

The key is to size your furniture to your spaces; taller ceilings and larger rooms usually need oversized pieces, just as compact spaces need to focus more on apartment-scale items.

Light Fixtures

I've been in stunningly decorated homes, only to look up and see basic, under-sized light fixtures that spoil the mood. Anything under 14" in diameter for flush mount fixtures in average sized rooms is too small, as is anything under approximately 26" in diameter for fixtures over dining tables.


A little bit of trend goes a long way: don't get hung up on the here and now, stick to classic and timeless accessories and furniture as your main staples, then add a few items in a trendy colour or pattern.

You won't be hard pressed to change it up down the road when the next fad comes along.


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About the Author

Crispin Butterfield is the creative force and mastermind behind Urban Theory; a graduate of Mount Royal University in Calgary, her engaging personality and design-commerce savvy make her a valued and well-respected professional and mentor within her field.

She’s able to uniquely see the parameters and vision of each project in ways her clients often cannot, and has honed the process and proficiency required to grow incredible long-standing client relationships. 

Crispin embraces a life full of ingenuity and imagination, fueled by raw ambition and a desire to leave her mark on the world. Her impeccable design style, expertise, and a rock-solid business acumen is the foundation which allows Urban Theory Interior Design to provide full scale services with authenticity, innovation, and ample amounts of personality.

Featured in Style At Home Magazine, Covet, Canadian Retailer, and The National Post – www.urbantheoryinteriordesign.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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