9 decorating mistakes you’re making in your lounge room

According to the experts.
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It’s not easy to get your living room looking like the pages of a magazine. There are so many elements that need to come together to get the look just right.

If your lounge room is looking less than lovely and you’re stuck on just what it is that’s not working well, take a look through this checklist from former HB editor Sarah Burman and stylist Fiona Gould for where you may be missing the mark. 

1. No natural touches

A little greenery goes a long way in the living room and even if you’re not a green thumb, an indoor plant, bunch of fresh flowers will literally breathe life into the room. “Pick some fresh greenery from your yard and display in vases around the house,” Fiona suggests.

“They instantly make the home feel fresh and organised.”

Hamptons living room with floral arrangement on side table
(Credit: Photography: Simon Whitbread)

2. Too much clutter

“Stylish storage baskets and boxes are key for keeping the clutter out of sight,” says Fiona.

Imagine you’re selling your home and want to present it in the best possible light to potential buyers by clearing the decks and hiding the mess and collected clutter of daily life. Why not present it this way all the time for your own enjoyment?

3. Dirty surfaces

Even if your cleaning is on point, but particularly if housekeeping is not a priority, Fiona suggests avoiding buying coffee tables and dining tables with glass tops.

“You will forever be cleaning away the finger prints,” she warns.

Easy to clean living room furniture
(Credit: Photography: Louise Roche | Styling: Kylie Jackes)

4. No texture

Style up your sofa with textured linen throws to bring interest and depth to your decorating.

Natural linen is especially beautiful as it looks even better when it’s a little crushed. “It’s meant to have an organic messy look about it so crinkles and a rushed drape on the sofa is welcomed,” says Fiona. 

5. Shopping straight from the showroom

Avoid choosing pieces all in the same style or you’ll be left with a showroom feel. Instead, combine items from different styles or eras, with a mix of some old and new, for a look that feels authentic and balanced. 

6. Karate chopping your cushions

Now a tell-tale sign of dated interior decorating, HB editor Sarah advises steering clear of this once-loved method of sofa presentation. “It’s too stuffy!” she warns.

Living room cushions
(Credit: Photography: Brigid Arnott | Styling: Lisa Hilton)

7. Visible power cords and TV cables

One of the things that can quickly make your house look ugly is the spaghetti salad of cords and cables running hither and thither around walls and under footed furnishing. “Hide those cables!” says Sarah.

“Inside the walls if possible. Embrace wireless technology wherever you can in the home for a more streamlined look.”

8. Your rug is the wrong size

“Picking the right rug for your space is vital,” says Fiona. “Too small and it will feel dwarfed and awkward, too big and the room can feel cluttered. The perfect size is approx 30cm underneath your sofa and armchairs so that everything sits on top comfortably.”

9. Too many cushions on your sofa

Rather than working as beautiful decor pieces, overloading your sofa with too many cushions can really make the space feel too busy and messy. “Stick to two per corner or three in one corner for a more considered look,” Fiona advises.

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