Living room, brown sofa with leopard-print throw pillow

Photo: Tria Giovan

2 of 6
Mistake #2: Choosing Furniture That Doesn't Play Well with Others
"One of the biggest mistakes people make in decorating is not understanding the importance of scale and proportion. That's what really makes a room. The furniture, like the sofas and chairs, should have similar proportions. That's not to say there shouldn't be taller and shorter pieces in the same room—height is very important—but things should not be too big for the room. Don't pair a small, delicate antique love seat with a huge overstuffed chair—the love seat will feel overshadowed. I never use a sofa that's longer than 7 feet; that's a large enough sofa, no matter what the room size is. I always like to have multiple seating areas rather than just one." — Alex Papachristidis, author of The Age of Elegance: Interiors by Alex Papachristidis (Rizzoli)