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Beware of bad style this Halloween.  Reverse the curse of unfortunate design choices by implementing the spells below.

1.  Ghoulish Green. Green is a notoriously tough color to use on walls–generally it casts a zombie-like glow on skin.  Avoid using this color in bathrooms, vanity areas, and bedrooms, i.e. spaces where a lot of skin is exposed.  If you are dead-set on using this color, go for a subdued shade like sage.  

2.  Witchy Wall-Huggers. Lining your furniture on the walls might seem like a good idea because it gives you space in the center.  But it actually makes your room feel smaller and claustrophobic.  Instead, keep a couple inches between the wall and your piece.  With smaller items like armchairs and bookcase, put them on a diagonal so air can flow around them and visually open your room.

3.  The Phantom Valance.  Clients often ask me if they should put a valance or topper on their window.  This is not 1983–no, you should not have a valance.  Two panels resting on either side of your window box with perhaps a blind inside it is as fully dressed as your window needs to be.

4.  Pattern Paranoia.  Too much of a good thing is a very bad thing.  Be cautious if you plan to use a variety of prints in one room.  When mixing and matching patterns, be sure they are cohesive with the room’s color palate and that each print you introduce is of a different size (i.e. small check, medium stripe, large floral).

5.  A Dark and Stormy Space. The worst offensive in home design is horrific lighting.  Overhead light is not flattering as it casts harsh shadows on the people below.  Instead opt for lamps.  Three lamps in every room is a must:  one on each nightstand and one on the dresser in a bedroom.  In a living room, make sure you have a table or floor lamp in wherever you have a chair or sofa.

6.  NO MORE PLASTIC FLOWERS!!  If I walk into one more apartment and find silk plants, I may commit harry carry!  It’s real or nothin, folks.  If you’ve got a tendency to kill live plants, go for bamboo—put it in water, and it grows forever.  Or opt for dried plants which are so low maintenance they only require dusting.  I have a soft spot for willow fronds, dried pomegranates, and artichokes. 

7.  Scary Sets.  They’re hereeeee… All three of them:  the matching sofa, loveseat, and ottoman.  Buying furniture sets is the fastest way to suck the lifeblood out of any room.  Choose pieces from different stores that “go” together but don’t match.  Your space should look like a home not a Zombie Showroom.  

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