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5 Decorating Comfort Zones To Step Out Of

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As fun as decorating your home can be, it’s easy to fall prey to everyday décor clichés. Luckily, we have friends in stylish places, like interior designer Paloma Contreras to call upon for help.

We asked the woman behind La Dolce Vita Blog for advice on how to mix up some overused décor tactics and she had lots to share. From pleated lampshades to overly match-y upholstery, here are five common decorating traps—and how to avoid them.

1. Perfectly coordinated bedroom or living room upholstery.

“Rooms that are not perfectly matchy-matchy have more personality than those with matching furniture sets,” Contreras says, “However, if you're working with pieces that are very similar to one another, consider having a smaller piece like a chair reupholstered or add fun throw pillows for a pop of color.”

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Snow Day - a cool white paint color by Clare

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Clare | Push Yourself Out Of These Decorating Comfort Zones

2. Traditional pleated lampshades for lamps.

“I love the idea of custom lamp shades,” Contreras explains, “they really take a table lamp or a pair of sconces to the next level and are a nice way to tie the textiles in your space together. I like to take a fresh approach to this old school technique and use ikat fabrics on traditional gathered lampshades for a bold, glamorous look.”

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Blackest - the blackest black paint color by Clare

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colorful lamp

3. Match-y window treatments (that match everything else in the room perfectly).

“I am a firm believer in classic, simple drapery treatments,” says Contreras. “I tend to favor a French pleated curtain with a beautiful embroidered trim on the leading edge. It is a modern take on traditional style and gives the window treatments a longer shelf life than patterned curtains since custom window treatments are usually a big-ticket item within a project's budget given the amount of fabric yardage and labor required.”

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Some things never go out of style and this versatile neutral is one of them. The light shade of greige brings a clean, modern feel to any space.
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4. Nightstands flanking your bed

“I am a big fan of symmetry, and I live in Texas where most houses have generously sized rooms that can usually accommodate a pair of matching nightstands,” Contreras explains. “However, I also love the idea of a chic desk next to a bed on one side and a bed or table on the other side for added functionality and versatility.”

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dresser next to bed

5. Paint that matches upholstery perfectly.

“The most beautiful and well-designed spaces include a bit of tension between the different elements,” Contreras explains. “If all of the finishes in one room match perfectly, and the furnishings are all of one style or from the same time period, the result can read as flat and more like a showroom than a home. Even if a room has a monochromatic color palette, having a slight variance in hues adds dimension, while a mix of furniture that is masculine versus feminine and modern paired with traditional creates a visual juxtaposition or tension in the room that makes it feel much more layered and imbues a sense of personality.”

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Deep Dive - a dark blue paint color by Clare

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chair with lamp

Paloma's book, "Dream Design Live," debuted September 4th.

Paloma Contreras

Photos courtesy of Paloma Contreras.

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