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Q: What are some common home-decorating mistakes, and how can I avoid them?

A: The indoor space in any home should have a harmonious flow and be pleasing to those who live there. You spend most of your time at home, so its design should be to your liking, right?

But that’s easier said than done. Thousands of conflicting options for furniture, wall décor and fixtures can make the process feel overwhelming.

These tips can help you avoid some of the most common mistakes that are made when decorating a home.

Plan furniture first

A common mistake that people make is buying their furniture before they have planned out a room. Whether you are purchasing an ottoman or an armoire, it is important to create a detailed floor plan before you make any furniture purchases.

Sometimes furniture is sold in sets, which can become problematic. Unless your home has a surplus of space, purchasing a full set can saddle your living space with too much furniture. Dinette sets and multi-piece furniture specials may look appealing, but it’s better to buy your furniture piecemeal to prevent any potential mix-ups.

Don’t put the function of the furniture last. Be sure to consider how your furniture will be used in a given space. Note the natural-light patterns of a room, and be wary of the reflective surfaces of television screens or metal finishes.

Choose paint colors last

If the walls in your home look a bit faded, they could probably use an update. A new coat of paint is a sure way to freshen up the look of your home.

It is important to know what type of paint you are using, in addition to the color. Certain kinds of paint, such as the insulative varieties, are useful in retaining heat in a home.

One common mistake is to choose the wall colors before considering the other elements of the home. The fabric of the drapes, the floor surface (hardwood or carpet), and appliances such as computers and stereos will have an effect on the look of the room that you are painting.

Choose wall colors that provide balance to a room instead of simply following your intuition or personal tastes. It’s great to have a favorite color, but you want to convey the right mood or emotion in the room that you are painting.

Overall, be sure to have a plan and a goal, and do not lose sight of them with your choices in furniture or paint. The mood you want for your home’s interior should outweigh everything else.

HomeWork is the weekly column by the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties’ Remodelers Council about home care, repair and improvements. If you have questions about home improvement, send them to