Brown couch

Photo: Eric Piasecki

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Mistake #3: Decorating for the Life You Wish You Had
"When designing a room, you need to be honest with yourself about your lifestyle and what will happen in it. Does your family eat in front of the TV often? Make sure your sofa has washable fabric on the cushions. Do you have young children? Don't set yourself up to fail (read: no all-white décor). Instead, find a fabric in a fun print that will disguise any stains."—Phoebe Howard, author of The Joy of Decorating: Southern Style with Mrs. Howard (Stewart, Tabori & Chang)

Left: A sofa covered in brown velvet is practically indestructible and hides almost any stain—a smart choice for a family room.