Never make these home decor mistakes again
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Home Free1 of 11
By Andie Huber
Looking to make 2013 a year of no regrets? There's no better place to begin than at home, where decorating and renovating blunders can cost you time and money. Whether it's forgetting to test your paint before covering an entire room or not measuring the doorway before having a sofa delivered, here are ten common home improvement mistakes to never make again.
Stroke of Genius2 of 11
The Offense: You spent the whole weekend painting the living room and the color (we're looking at you, celery ice) is just not right.
The Resolution: Light varies widely from day to night and room to room, so depending on your space, grays may end up looking purple, whites might look blue, reds may turn pink. The secret to picking the right paint is simple: Purchase sample-size pots, do test swatches on various walls (to see how it looks from different angles) and only then purchase the needed gallons.
For Good Measure3 of 11
The Offense: That rug you found online ended up looking much smaller in the room than you'd thought. Or the curtains you had labored over, once hung, are just a few inches shy of the floor
The Resolution: We all use our various body parts to "measure" windows and rooms. And it works…ish. But pulling out a proper tape measure will save you from having to schedule costly pick-ups and exchanges that result in further delays. And a good rule of thumb for curtains: Err on the side of longer—you can always hem them with a hot iron and fusible hem tape.
Do the Math4 of 11
The Offense: Eight trips to the home improvement store and months later, you're not even close to finishing that garden path you thought would take a couple of days.
The Resolution: Garden and landscape projects, in particular, require crunching numbers. For example, creating a gravel garden path that is 5 feet by 60 feet with a depth of two inches will actually take 100 bags of rocks (each bag contains .5 cubic feet of one-to-two inch rocks). Not exactly the type of hauling your Prius is made for. If numbers aren't your thing, use this online landscaping calculator.
Point of No Return5 of 11
The Offense: A chintz-induced purchasing spree at a high-end home decor boutique has left you with a number of items that don't work—and a store credit that could take years to actually use.
The Resolution: Before you get left with a credit for a specialty boutique, simply ask the sales clerk about the policies before you buy. If you do end up with a hefty merchandise credit, you can try and sell it online at a place like Plastic Jungle in exchange for cash (less a fee) or try to use the boutique as your first stop for gifts over the year for your friends and family.
Note Quirky Corners6 of 11
The Offense: After six months of waiting, it's finally delivery day for your custom-fabric sofa. Cut to…discovering the piece will not fit around the corner, up the narrow staircase or through the front door.
The Resolution: Sure, you could hire a crane to lift the sofa through the second-story window or find an upholsterer to cut and re-sew the piece once it's inside the room, but it's obviously best to avoid this scenario altogether. If you have an old house, take note of odd corners and narrow spaces. A little planning will prevent future headaches.
Pillow Talk7 of 11
The Offense: With every throw pillow you purchase, you swear it will be your last.
The Resolution: For a queen size bed and an average-sized sofa, stick to a minimum of three pillows and a maximum of five. With more than five, it may begin to feel like a show house, while anything less than three can look slightly unfinished.
Express Yourself8 of 11
The Offense: At your housewarming party, it dawns on you that your home looks like the latest Ikea catalogue—your friends, seated on the Karlstad loveseat and eating meatballs off your Färgrik plates, are wondering if you have, in fact, become Swedish.
The Resolution: We get it. We LOVE Ikea too. But don't forget to express your own personal style. With that money you are saving by shopping at discount retailers, invest in some artwork or a piece of unique furniture (just make sure it fits in the house—Resolution 6), or personalize out-of-the-box furniture with some paint and new hardware.
Cut the Clutter9 of 11
The Offense: Clothes, toys, tools, old pet crates, luggage, magazines and books are all piling up in that room that no one uses.
The Resolution: Rather than accumulate a roomful of stuff, set limits on the amount that piles up by using a small plastic tub. Over time, fill the bucket with the odds and ends that come into your home. Once it is filled, force yourself to go through it and organize it before it takes over an entire room or (gasp!) your house.
Go Green10 of 11
The Offense: You are still not recycling bottles, cans and paper because your town doesn't collect the items on trash day, but feel guilty every time you stuff a soda can into the garbage can.
The Resolution: Check out Earth 911 for an easy and non-judgmental guide to finding recycling centers in your town, plus tips and tricks to get you started on the path to protecting your environment. You may be surprised to learn your town does offer curbside recycling pick-up—you might just need to call to schedule it.
Leave It to the Pros11 of 11
The Offense: The lights stopped working in your home and you start poking around the wiring, or the toilet backed up (again) and you think a quart of Drano and a homemade plumbing snake are the answer.
The Resolution: Before you start rooting around to see if there's a short in the circuit or you start stuffing a wire hanger down a toilet, remember that some jobs are better left to licensed professionals. To minimize the unforeseen costs that come with home ownership, invest in a home warranty policy that reduces the cost for service visits, sometimes as low as $35 to repair the problem.