We can provide all the lessons, tips and tricks in the book, but sometimes the examples of what not to do speak more clearly. There are common decorating mistakes that we see repeatedly in our line of work. Learning to avoid them in the first place will help you create timeless designs that enjoy more time in between interior design re-dos and remodels.
10 Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make
- Overdoing it. This applies to virtually every aspect of interior design: color, patterns, furnishings, accents etc. There is a naturally pleasing effect created when these elements are in balance. When you overdo it, the eyes are confused, your room can feel cramped or overwhelming and it will be impossible to settle on a single focal point, theme or motif.
- Adding something that doesn’t quite fit. If it doesn’t quite fit, leave it out. That extra inch of couch that extends beyond the entrance space, the ottoman that leaves nary a foot between the and the adjacent wall, the television that’s too big for the old entertainment center, all of those have to go. We’re sorry – but those little “you hardly notice them,” rationales don’t work. We notice them, and so does everyone else.
- Not creating (and sticking to) a budget. When you don’t have a budget, you can get into serious design trouble, winding up with a half-finished room and no money left to finish it. Create a budget, add a 10% contingency cushion, and stick to it.
- Going all matchy-matchy. Yes, there is a place where matching matters, but when everything matches it can be overkill (see Number 1 above) and/or it can yield a space that looks more like a hotel room than a home. That’s not what you want. Use a range of both complementary and contrasting colors, patterns, textures, materials, etc.
- Low curtain rods. Hanging your curtain rods too low will shorten the length of your walls and can hide your windows. Instead, hang the rods closer to the ceiling, which creates a feeling of height and expansiveness and allows your windows to shine.
- Backs of furniture to the walls. Of course, it makes sense for some of your furniture and furnishings to be back against the wall. But pulling at least a few pieces forward creates a more intimate feeling in living rooms and other social areas. It can also improve traffic flow.
- No focal point. Each room needs a focal point or two. Our eyes need somewhere to rest. When your interior design has a mish-mash of stuff everywhere, it’s unsettling. Pick a piece of art, the fireplace, a unique furnishing – and let the rest of the design direct attention towards it.
- Photo barrage. We love to see pictures of your family, friends, pets and vacations. However, we don’t need to see all of them at once on the same surface.
- Poor lighting. Unfortunately, we find that lighting is one of the last things clients are thinking about when they are brainstorming design ideas. However, poor lighting can make a room feel harsh, smaller, closed in or grotesquely shadowed. Using a variety of light sources, overhead, lamps, recessed, sconces, etc., is a good way to enjoy a beautiful ambiance.
- Ignoring the foyer. We recommend starting with the foyer and working from there. Ignoring the entrance to your home leaves a poor first impression. Make it welcoming, interesting and like a preview of the visual highlights yet to come.
What are some of your biggest interior design mistake stories? We’d love to hear them.