50 Living Room Design Mistakes to Close Your Eyes & Run Away From

Avoid making an expensive mistake in your living room by checking out these 50 living rooms.

Steven Wood

Steven Wood

Various Living Rooms

The living room is usually the heart of the home. Also, it’s where you’ll invest a lot of your hard earned money to create something you love.

To avoid making a big mistake, review these 50 leaving room tips to set yourself on the right path.

 

Average Cost to Furnish a Living Room Chart

Item Low End Standard High End

Sofa

$500
$1500
$3500

Coffee Table

$100
$300
$750

Area Rug

$200
$500
$1000

TV

$500
$1000
$2000

Lighting

$200
$500
$1500

Accessories

 

$250
$750
$1500

Total

$2000

$4800

$10,250

With the average living room costing $4,800 to furnish it’s important to minimize and mistakes. 

For a high end home it can cost $10,250 or more. This is also considering to remodeling will be done such as floors, windows or taking down walls to open up a space.

1. Your Rug is Too Small

The Mistake

You picked a rug that is too small. When the rug size is out of proportion with your room size and furnishings, the rug will seem dwarfed and make your furniture feel like it’s floating around the room.

How To Fix It

Choose a rug that will anchor your furniture to the room. At a minimum, your rug should extend under the front feet of the couch and side chairs.

2. Your Rug is Too Small

The Mistake

Your rug is too big for the size of your furniture. A rug that is too big throws off the balance of your room and makes your furniture feel out-of-scale.

How To Fix It

Choosing a rug that matches your furniture in size and proportion is one way to keep your room from feeling cavernous. A smaller rug will also make the space feel cozier and more intimate.

3. Your Couch is too Close to the Wall

The Mistake

Placing the couch too close to the wall in a large space will make your guests feel separated from the rest of the room.

How To Fix It

Create a space that encourages conversation by moving the couch away from the wall and closer to the middle of the room. The room will feel more inviting and your guests won’t have to shout to one another.

4. You're Matching Furniture Too Much

The Mistake

When all of your furniture matches, it makes your room feel more like a furniture showroom than an expression of your style. It also feels outdated.

How To Fix It

Your room will feel modern and up-to-date with pieces that are in the same color scheme but differ in tone, material and shape. Try mixing fabrics such as leather, chenille and linen to keep the room interesting.

5. The Tv is Hung at the Wrong Height

The Mistake

Hanging the television at the wrong height is a big design mistake. Regardless of how good it looks, the space above the fireplace is not the best place to hang a television.

How To Fix It

To avoid neck strain, mount your television on the wall across from your couch at eye-level. For most people that is an average of 42 inches measured from the floor for a 50-inch television.

6. You Can Make Your Room Too Harsh by Not Adding Enough Comfortable Elements

The Mistake

Making your room too harsh by not adding soft and comfortable elements makes it feel more like a dentist’s waiting room rather than your home.

How To Fix It

Accessorize your room with pillows and window treatments in rich fabrics and colorful patterns. Although leather can be a classic look, try not to use too much so the room doesn’t feel cold and sterile.

7. You Don't Add Enough Lighting Sources

The Mistake

Your rug is too big for the size of your furniture. A rug that is too big throws off the balance of your room and makes your furniture feel out-of-scale.

How To Fix It

Make sure your room has a combination of ambient or overhead lights for general use and task lighting nears chairs and couches. Use accent lighting to accentuate artwork or create drama in overlooked areas.

8. Your Furniture is Too Big

The Mistake

When furniture is too big for a room, it makes the room feel crowded. It also makes the user feel cramped and uncomfortable.

How To Fix It

Measure your space before deciding on the right pieces of furniture. The scale of your furniture should match the scale of the room. Making sure the furniture fits into your room will also ensure ample space for moving around.

9. Your Furniture is Too Small

The Mistake

Furniture too small for the purpose of the room tells your guests you didn’t put much thought into design or function.

How To Fix It

Before you purchase furniture, decide how you want to use the space. Do you need a large sectional for family movie night or a medium-sized couch for entertaining? Also, try to select furniture based on room size and shape, window placement and ceiling height.

10. Accent furniture doesn't match at all

The Mistake

When your accent furniture doesn’t match at all, you’ve neglected to stay true to your design. Matching furniture means being consistent with furniture style and colors.

How To Fix It

Choose accent furniture in the same design style as your main piece of furniture to have a cohesive look. When your chairs, side table and coffee table look similar, the room feels more put-together and your design choices seem more intentional.

11. You Over Clutter Your Shelving Space

The Mistake

Over cluttered shelving space looks like you are trying too hard to display too many objects in one place. Cluttered shelving only makes your room feel cramped and your design seem somewhat careless.

How To Fix It

Design your bookshelves with small vignettes of objects of varying shapes and sizes. Include a mix of personal items, books and plants to give your shelves some personality. For a more cohesive look, try to keep everything in the same color scheme as the rest of the room.

12. Not Enough Surfaces Like Side Tables or Coffee Table Can be Unpractical

The Mistake

Not having enough surfaces like tables can be impractical, especially if you entertain. Your guests will feel uncomfortable not having a place to rest a drink or have a snack and you lack a place to display pictures, have plants or put keys and mail.

How To Fix It

Make sure each seating area in your living room is equipped with a surface to place items. An end table, coffee table, ottoman, large basket or even a plant stand will provide functional and stylish furnishing.

13. A Poor Living Room Layout Can Make it Uncomfortable to Get Around

The Mistake

A poor living room layout can make it uncomfortable to get around. If your furniture is too big or too much for the space, it can impede the flow of traffic in a room.

How To Fix It

Open up your space and allow unimpeded movement by removing unnecessary furniture and accessories. Only display pieces that inspire you, have sentimental meaning or have a function in the space. Limit your accessories to a few statement items.

14. You Hang Art Too High

The Mistake

Hanging art too high above your furniture can make it look like it’s floating in space instead of part of the room décor.

How To Fix It

When hanging artwork above your couch, try to place the bottom of the frame between 8 and 10 inches above the top of the couch. This helps make the space look more visually connected and as one cohesive unit.

15. You Hang Art Too Low

The Mistake

Hanging art too low doesn’t allow the viewer to see it properly without bending down. Hanging art work too low and out of level eyesight does nothing to help your design feel professional.

How To Fix It

Hang your art as if it were in a museum. Art should be hung at eye level, which typically means the center of the piece should be about 4 to 6 inches above the back of a couch or chair regardless of ceiling height.

16. You Made it Too Fancy and You Don't Want to Use it

The Mistake

Making your room too fancy, you won’t want to use it. Styling a room elaborately with expensive or fragile items will make your guests uncomfortable.

How To Fix It

A living room’s decor should feel warm and inviting. Decorate with lush fabrics and cozy furnishings to create a space you’ll want to use every day. Leave the expensive lamps and fancy pillows in the showroom.

17. You Didn't Experiment With Different Fabrics and Textures

The Mistake

Not experimenting with different fabrics and textures will make your space feel outdated and boring.

How To Fix It

Don’t be afraid to mix it up. Mix large and small patterns, use unexpected colors, or style furnishings with unususal fabrics to give your space a fresh and modern feel.

18. You Skipped Out on Smaller Accent Items

The Mistake

Skipping smaller accent items will make your space feel incomplete. Without small personal touches, you run the risk of having a room that looks and feels generic.

How To Fix It

Finish the design of a room with small accessories such as pillows, vases, candles and books. Arrange them in groups or as standalone pieces to add personality, pops of color and texture.

19. You Chose The Wrong Coffee Table Size

The Mistake

When you choose the wrong coffee table size, you miss an opportunity to really make a statement in your room. Coffee tables that are too small won’t stand out and will disappear into your design.

How To Fix It

Choose a coffee table that is substantial in size and in proportion to the rest of your furniture. Make sure it is big enough to serve its purpose, whether you’re entertaining or eating in front of the television.

20. You picked Boring Art

The Mistake

Selecting artwork that is boring, devoid of color or texture, too small, or lacks any visual interest. Yes, art is in the eye of the beholder, but it can also come across as plain, flat and unimaginative.

How To Fix It

Artwork can act as a focal point in a room so don’t be afraid to make a statement with bold, bright colors. Not your thing? Check out some abstract modern art in neutral colors or a black and white palette.

21. You Didn't Pick Out Enough Wall Decor

The Mistake

Not enough wall décor leaves your room feeling undone. Your guests will wonder if you’re still moving in.

How To Fix It

Don’t have any art to hang? Get creative by framing and hanging your favorite fabric, postcards or kid art. Think outside the box by hanging trellises for plants and letting them trail along the wall instead of on a table.

22. You Hung Curtains Incorrectly That Are The Wrong Size or Height

The Mistake

Curtains hung incorrectly are a sure sign of amateur design skills. Whether they are hung at the wrong height or are not the right size, improperly hung curtains will make your windows appear darker and smaller.

How To Fix It

Hang your curtains according to your ceiling height, not your window height. To have the illusion of bigger and brighter windows, hang your curtain rod higher and wider than your window. Make sure your curtains reach the floor, preferably with enough fabric to pool for a grander effect.

23. Your Over Accessorized and Made The Space Cluttered

The Mistake

Over-accessorizing and making clutter can affect how you feel when you enter a room. Too much stuff can make you anxious and want to leave.

How To Fix It

Remember the rule of threes when accessorizing with groups of items such as candles, plants and vases. Keep accessories on table tops to no more than 1/3 the height of the table while making sure that larger items on the floor vary in size and texture.

24. You Didn't Invest in Important Pieces Like the Sofa

The Mistake

Not investing in the most important pieces like a sofa may be a mistake you regret in the future. Buying the cheapest sofa in the store may mean living with poor quality and replacing it sooner than expected.

How To Fix It

If there was a place to invest, it’s in your sofa. It’s the one piece of furniture in your living room that will be used the most. In addition, as the largest piece of furniture in your living room, it will be the first thing your guests notice.

25. You Picked Artwork That is Too Small

The Mistake

Artwork that is too small will just get lost on your wall. Even if it’s a piece you admire, no one will appreciate it if it’s hung incorrectly.

How To Fix It

Hang smaller pieces of art together to create a gallery wall in an entrance, above a console table or in a reading nook. Make sure the pieces fit together with similar colors, shapes or material for a more cohesive look.

26. You Only Have Upper Lighting and no Floor Lighting

The Mistake

Only having upper lighting and no floor lighting leaves your room without any appropriate lighting for reading or eating or to accent special areas or artwork.

How To Fix It

Start your design by placing task lights near chairs and sofas. Then add special lighting such as hallway sconces or under cabinet lights. If additional general lighting is needed, add a chandelier or pendant lights. Aim for a balance of all three light sources to create the ideal atmosphere.

27. You Put The TV in The Wrong Place

The Mistake

Putting a television in the wrong place can make it hard for you and your guests to watch. Today’s televisions can be enormous and need to be in the right place to be viewed properly.

How To Fix It

If you can, locate your television on a wall directly opposite from your seating area. The bigger the television, the bigger the wall. Make sure any accessories on your console or coffee table are short enough not to block the screen.

28. Not Adding Cushions to Make it Cozy

The Mistake

Not adding cushions to make a space cozy can leave your guests feeling unwelcome. Even if it means more space to sit on the couch, the lack of pillows and cushions also means it is less comfortable.

How To Fix It

Add pillows of varying shapes, fabrics and styles to your couch and armchairs. For adding seating and extra comfort, throw a few oversized cushions on the floor by the fireplace or around the coffee table. Your guests will thank you.

29. Going too Dark With Furniture in a Small Place

The Mistake

Going too dark with furniture in a small room will make the room feel that much smaller. Remember that dark colors will make you feel as if you’re being enveloped and closed in.

How To Fix It

In a small space, keep the furniture and walls light to avoid feeling closed in. A monochromatic and neutral color scheme, with different shades of the same color, works well in small rooms.

30. Picking Furniture That Doesn't go With The Rest of The Room

The Mistake

Picking furniture without making sure it fits the rest of the décor in the home makes it seem like you haven’t quite decided on your design style. Your home will appear choppy without a cohesive look.

How To Fix It

Before you buy anything, decide on your design style. Whether it is modern, traditional, country chic or contemporary, try to choose furniture that stays true to your style. It’s okay to mix in a few pieces from another style as long as it looks intentional.

31. you Have Strange Dated Furniture

The Mistake

If your house is full of strange dated furniture that you either inherited from family or were given by well-intentioned friends, it is probably not a reflection of your taste or your personality.

How To Fix It

Can’t afford to buy a house full of furniture at once? Start by buying one fabulous piece at a time. Purchase a high-quality couch in a neutral color, add a stunning coffee table, and accessorize with unique lamps and pillows. This is a sure way to get a room that is all about you.

32. Adding Too Many Small Plants And Not Having Any Large Ones

The Mistake

Adding too many small plants and not taking advantage of big ones will make your décor seem unbalanced. Once the small plants become fully grown, you’ll have a jungle on your hands.

How To Fix It

Like any accessory, vary the height, shape and number of plants in your room. Taller and more voluminous plants do a great job of adding color to an unused corner or blank wall while smaller plants fill in space on tables and bookshelves.

33. You Picked Tacky Old Furniture Covers

The Mistake

Tacky old furniture covers look too much like you’re trying to hide something, like stains or tears, rather than updating or adding style to an old piece of furniture.

How To Fix It

If your old couch needs a pick-me-up, try reupholstering instead of using slipcovers. The quality and selection of fabrics gives you the option to upgrade the look while keeping the shape and style of the original piece.

34. You Made Proportion Mistakes Between The Sofa, couch and coffee Table

The Mistake

Making mistakes with proportion between the area rug, couch and coffee table is common in large rooms with small rugs.

How To Fix It

When choosing the rug size, measure your room to make sure it will cover the area amply. Your area rug should be large enough to extend under the front feet of the couch, underneath the coffee table and under the front feet of any side chairs or tables. Round rugs work great in odd-shaped rooms.

35. Their isn't Enough Layering in The Space

The Mistake

If you’re avoiding layering to make a space feel cozy, your space will feel sterile and not lived in, making it hard for guests to feel comfortable.

How To Fix It

Use pillows, cushions and throw blankets to create a warm, inviting and relaxing space. Try to stick with natural fibers such as cotton and linen that are soft to the touch and easy to care for. For something special, choose items with embroidery, tassles or fringe.

36. The Space is Too Symmetrical

The Mistake

Your room’s décor is too symmetrical, making it boring and predictable. Too much symmetry also makes a room feel off-balance.

How To Fix It

To create calm and balance, add some asymmetrical elements to your symmetrical design. Use pillows and end tables in similar but different shapes and colors. Sprinkle piles of books, decorative boxes or vases full of greenery throughout the space.

37. The TV is The Center of Attention and Deters Conversation

The Mistake

When the television is the center of attention, it deters people from having conversations and discourages other social interactions.

How To Fix It

Camouflage the television as much as possible by surrounding it with built-in cabinets. The beautiful wood-grain texture of the furniture is more eye-catching than the television.

38. There's Only One Piece of Furniture, The Couch.

The Mistake

If there is only one piece of furniture and it’s the couch, your design has some major flaws in it. Besides a couch, a room needs chairs, tables, accessories, artwork and greenery to feel complete and to be functional.

How To Fix It

It’s perfectly acceptable to start your design with a stylish high-quality couch. Continue by adding a side chair or two in a complimentary color. Create a conversational area with a throw rug and coffee table. Don’t forget to set the tone with a combination of good lighting, artwork, and some plants.

39. The Couch is Too Shallow or Uncomfortable to Sit on

The Mistake

Purchasing a couch that is too shallow and uncomfortable to sit on. Don’t be tempted to buy that couch you saw online or in a magazine.

How To Fix It

The only way to know if a couch is right for you and your family is to sit on it at the store. That’s what floor models are for. A couch that is too shallow does not allow you to sit back comfortably and your knees will hang awkwardly off the edge.

40. Forcing a Fireplace Addition

The Mistake

Forcing a fireplace addition when it doesn’t fit the size or style of the room will make it look awkward and out-of-place.

How To Fix It

Any time you’re making a structural change to a room, make sure it compliments the existing style and design of the room. A grand room deserves grand architecture additions while smaller rooms should have more modest changes. Keep proportion in mind when making any additions.

41. Over Styling Delicate Open Shelving

The Mistake

Over styling delicate open shelving makes them feel chaotic and unsettled. You don’t have to fill the shelves with entire collections to make a statement.

How To Fix It

Achieve harmony on your shelves by styling them with intent and purpose. Repeat similar items, like plants, vases, decorative boxes and books, throughout the shelves. Keep most of the items in the same color while adding a pop of contrasting color here and there.

42. Over Styling Free Standing Shelving

The Mistake

Over styling delicate open shelving with knick-knacks, photos and other decorate items can detract from the architectural beauty of the shelf itself.

How To Fix It

Let the unique structural shape of the bookshelf be as much a part of the styling as the items you place on it. Use a minimalist approach and choose a few strategically-placed personal items, plants and books to showcase your bookshelf’s form.

43. Buying Everything From One Place

The Mistake

Your rug is too big for the size of your furniture. A rug that is too big throws off the balance of your room and makes your furniture feel out-of-scale.

How To Fix It

Try to mix up your choices by shopping in furniture, consignment and thrift stores as well as online stores. To keep the look from getting too eclectic, choose pieces that are in your color palette and stay true to your design style as much as possible.

44. Not Measuring Out Furniture Before Buying it

The Mistake

If you don’t measure your space and tape out the layout on the floor before ordering, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment. You need to know how your furniture will fit in a room before you commit to it.

How To Fix It

Once you’ve used the measurements to tape out the layout on the floor, walk around to see if it is a good fit for the space. Place your existing furniture around and within the tape to see if there’s room to walk around and if all of your furniture fits the room.

45. Favoring Form Over Function Too Much

How To Fix It

Although you should aim for both, favoring form too much over function in your modern design may mean you end up with a lot of pieces that are strictly nice to look at and not practical to use.

How To Fix It

In your modern décor, stick to furniture that not only is appealing but serves a purpose in the home. Choose beautifully-designed tables, sofas and lighting that are also user-friendly.

46. Not Having a Comfortable Place to Sit and Chat

The Mistake

If your room has the space and you don’t include a comfortable area to sit and chat, you’re wasting an opportunity to have an inviting and cozy place for you and your guests.

How To Fix It

To create a cohesive look, define the space with an area rug or wall color. Choose furniture, like chairs or ottomans, in matching fabric but make sure it is different from the other furniture in the room. Don’t forget to add side tables and enough lighting so you can use the space at night.

47. Furniture is Not Spaced Out Properly

The Mistake

Furniture not spaced out properly giving your living room an awkward layout and making it difficult to get around. Furniture too close together also feels like it doesn’t fit into the space.

How To Fix It

Make sure you are creating a comfortable conversation area by having chairs, sofas and loveseats face each other. Each seat should have access to a nearby table, whether it be the coffee table or a side table.

48. Putting Too Many Heavy Pieces on One Side of The Room and Unbalancing it

The Mistake

You create an unbalanced room when you put all of the heavy furniture on one side.

How To Fix It

Create balance by placing similarly weighted items throughout the room. Weight can refer to the size or color of the furniture. Evenly distribute it through a room by locating your sofa across from the loveseat or a pair of chairs.

49. The Sofa is Facing Away From the Entrance and You Can't See Who Came in

The Mistake

When the sofa is against the entrance to the living room, you and your guests can’t see who entered. This can cause a lot of anxiety in a room that is meant for socializing and relaxing.

How To Fix It

Try to place your sofa and loveseat so the backs are not facing the front door if you have the space. Instead, place low-back seating or stools closer to the door to keep the sightlines clear.

50. There is a Lack of Color

The Mistake

Lack of color can be mistaken for a lack of character and personality. When your walls and furnishings are all white, you’re probably not showing your true colors.

How To Fix It

Whether you prefer a neutral palette or love bold and bright colors, there are many ways to add style and warmth to a room through color. Paint an accent wall a deep red and keep your furniture light. Or paint your ceiling a midnight blue to mimic the night sky. You can even leave the walls white and style with colorful furniture. Be sure to stick with your color palette throughout your design.

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