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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

Snow Day

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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


Chic. Modern. Dramatic. Our blackest black might seem edgy, but when paired with the perfect light, it has the power to make a space pop.

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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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Classic - a beige - greige paint color by Clare


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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whitish living room

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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Fresh Kicks - a bright white paint color by Clare

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Think of your favorite white pair, straight out the box. That’s the feeling of this one. Fresh and modern, this is our cleanest, brightest white, with no undertones. *Fresh Kicks is a pure, untinted white and may require 2+ coats for optimal coverage.

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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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Plunge 100 feet down into the deep blue sea. This bold, sophisticated blue hue features a hint of green undertones.

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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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