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Decorating your home is often daunting as there are many common faux pas you should avoid. It doesn’t matter if you’re in an apartment or a house. Knowing how to decorate right goes a long way in making a good impression. And doing it properly can also make sure none of your family and friends get offended. Here are some major things to stay away from when it comes to your home’s decor.

Washed Out Walls

It’s easier than you may think to use paint colors that completely wash out how your room looks. Pastel colors, and white in particular, easily appear washed out. Don’t commit to any color without bringing the swatch of paint to the room to gauge how it will look, and don’t buy solely based on what you see in the store. Stores notoriously have bad lighting, and you’ll probably hate the color once back home.

To keep your whole home looking balanced, pick out three to five paint chips and put them together on paper. If they all look good together, use this as the palette for all of your rooms. Too many colors throughout look tacky and unplanned.

Offending Furniture

You might not consider furniture something offensive, but the wrong furniture certainly can be. Mix everything up: that’s your first rule. One theme everywhere is dull. Besides, you want to make sure you don’t offend anyone by hiding family heirlooms. Tackle both issues by mixing old and new pieces together.

For family treasures or heirlooms, find a good place to showcase so grandma doesn’t feel left out. And for the new pieces, invest in things you’ll keep throughout the years. Above all, don’t buy everything in a single set. Choose to diversify your scheme instead.

Photos: The Height of Danger

Again, photographs might seem innocuous. But they’re your quickest ticket to offending. Imagine mom’s reaction when you don’t have a single picture of her in a house filled with family photos. Say, for example, that you’ve found one of the many great Chicago apartments for rent — you’ve just moved in, so you’ll want to make everything aesthetically pleasing. Big, cropped images are a good way to go. You’ll make a statement with a gallery of photos that are uniformly framed.

Kill the Clutter

Clutter is a top way to incur those sideways looks and snickers you dread from friends and family when showing off your home. It’s unpleasant for everyone when there are too many knickknacks lying around. Unfortunately, many people are prone to hoarding furniture, artwork, and little odds and ends without ever stopping.

Think of it this way: who wants to hack their way through mounds of junk? Keep your clutter to a minimum. Rotate decorations seasonally if that helps. In the same vein, forgotten projects like that half-painted wall or broken table leg make for a bad impression.

Be mindful of the little things when it comes to decor faux pas. You don’t want to be that person who leaves out pictures of mom from a family gallery or who has shelves strewn with unknown knickknacks. That would break her heart, you know.

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