Over and over I noticed high contrasting emphasis put on outdated drapery cornices, bad railings, wallpaper borders, wainscoting molding, and chair rails. All of these elements put focus on a strong horizontal line that divides the room in half, diminishes the ceiling height, and creates visual confusion. The human eye doesn't know where to focus.
Instead, try to take a photo of the room first for critical analysis. Does it emphasize the best features of the space? ( scale, view, fireplace, moldings etc.) Can you remove the strong horizontal lines and refocus the eye for a more positive impact?
When in doubt, update your window treatments or just remove them all together. For sure remove every wall covering border. It will only scream 1990 for those prospective buyers looking at you house. Lastly, hide the chair railings (moldings) by painting them a shade of the wall color if your ceiling heights are under 10'. It will help to increase the visual height of the space.
Horizontal lines rarely look great in a typical residence. Eliminate as many as you can to increase ceiling heights and refocus the emphasis in the room on its best feature.
-Anita Bhattacharya Oates, NCIDQ