Decorating your new apartment is one of the joys of moving in; however, it’s not as intuitive as you may think. Plenty of renters have committed apartment decorating faux pas without even realizing it!
As you fill your space, do you feel like you’re just not getting it right? You may be making a common mistake as well. Put down that hammer, stop unrolling your rug and take a look at our list of the most prevalent apartment decorating mistakes that renters make (perhaps you’ll be the one to avoid them):
1. Hanging Art at the Wrong Height
A majority of people who incorrectly hang their wall art place it too high. This error is pretty easy to understand: You hang the art while standing, so you place it at standing height. However, you’ll mostly observe your paintings while sitting.
The accepted “correct” height to hang art in your apartment is 57 inches on center. What does this mean? Well, when you measure from the ground up, the 57-inch mark on your measuring tape should fall on the middle of your art.
You can ensure you’ll get the right height by following this formula: 57 inches + half the height of your art—the distance between the hook and the top of the painting. For instance, if your painting is 20 inches tall and the hook or wire is 4 inches from the top of the painting, you’ll plug in the numbers like so: 57 inches + 10 inches – 4 inches = 63 inches.
Then, measure 63 inches from the ground and mark the spot with a pencil. Hang a hook so that the bottom of it hits the dot. Nail in the hook and hang your art!
2. Hanging Art at Different Heights
People who hang their art too high also often place photos at different levels. For instance, the poster over your sofa might be at 70 inches on center while another is 60 inches on center. Art wants to live on the same line.
You can do this in one of two ways: Always put your art at 57 inches on center, or hang each piece so that the tops of the frames are level.
Of course, there’s always an exception to every rule, even when it comes to hanging art. If you have a unique spot on your wall in which you can fit a piece of art, use it! This might be the area over your mantle piece, for instance.
3. The Rug is Too Small
A large rug will make your space look bigger, but many people purchase theirs too small.
Ideally, a rug should take up 75 percent of a room’s floor space. It should also be within a few (about 6) inches from the wall.
4. Improper Rug Placement
Of course, you don’t have to have a giant rug that consumes 75 percent of your floor space—use a rug to cover a select area. However, if you go this route, make sure you place the rug correctly, otherwise it will look odd or cause the room to feel small.
Wherever you put it, make sure the furniture you’ll place on top falls within the rug’s parameters (i.e., your sofa isn’t half on and half off the rug).
There are some exceptions. You can place an area rug horizontally beneath the foot of your bed. You can also stick a rug between furniture so that all the sofas and chairs are off it, but a coffee table is on.
5. Messing Up Scale
Scale in decorating refers to the relative size of furniture to a space. Many people purchase items that are too big for their apartment, causing the space to feel tight. Maintain scale by buying the things that visually (and literally) fit.
For instance, if you have a small living room, consider the sofa instead of the L-shaped sectional. You can also buy small end tables and leave out the ottoman.
By the same token, avoid buying too much. Even if all your pieces are smaller, you can fill up the room quickly. Start by furnishing your room with the essential pieces. Evaluate the space to make sure it doesn’t look cluttered. Then add more if there’s room.
6. Lack of Light
Good lighting can transform the mood of a space, making it cozier. Unfortunately, many renters don’t have adequate light.
Decorating rules of thumb suggest you have three main sources within a single room. This may include the two lamps you have on end tables and a standing lamp elsewhere. Ceiling fixtures often don’t provide the best lighting, so you should focus on using lamps instead.
You should also attempt to create pools of light. These are areas throughout the room that are lit. Including these pools breaks up the space, creates a warm atmosphere and gives you nooks to inhabit.
You can also try to place your light sources about at the height you work. For instance, a desk lamp illuminates your laptop space. A table lamp lets you read beneath its light.
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