12 Interior Design Mistakes You Should Never Make—And How to Avoid Them

Putting All Your Furniture Next to a Wall

Putting all the furniture against the wall. You should have a few pieces that float in the room to create variety and interest in the floor plan. Sketch on paper how you might achieve this. One way is to have a chair or two floating in the middle of the plan into the seating arrangement.

Bad Lighting

One thing many people tend to overlook is lighting. It plays a huge role in how people experience a space. For example, one paint color under an incandescent lightbulb might look very different from the same color in natural lighting. If your home feels dark, you can just change out some lightbulbs or install a pair of sconces to make a space feel brighter. It doesn’t always have to mean a complete renovation.

Not Measuring Your Space

Not measuring the room properly, so furniture doesn’t fit. How to avoid this pitfall? Measure twice, then measure again!

Bringing in an Interior Designer Too Late

A common interior design mistake is that people don’t bring designers on early enough in the process. We should be there immediately after you say to yourselves, ‘We’re ready to make these changes,’ or, ‘We want to redesign or redecorate the house.’ Oftentimes, clients reach out after they’ve bought the house and launched the contractor to renovate the kitchen and bathrooms.

Too Small—Or Too Large—Furniture

Understanding scale is always a challenge, even for seasoned designers. One thing I see people do frequently is put something really tiny or really massive into a room that inhibits its functionality and dooms its aesthetic. If you know you need an enormous sectional for your Super Bowl parties, don’t forget to think about the size of the coffee table and rug that will accompany it.

Choosing Aesthetics Over Comfort

Not understanding 'the sit' of furniture before you buy it. Try to get yourself to a showroom and sit down / lie down on the upholstery. If you can’t do this, have someone sit in if for you to attest how it feels. These are expensive pieces that you want to enjoy comfortably. Try before you buy!

Improperly Hung Art

Hanging art too high. This is a pet peeve of mine. For some reason, most homeowners think they should hang art high and it therefore looks more important. Really your art should hang at eye level so that you can really see the main portion of the art very well. Also, avoid placing one art piece per wall. This will look very static and uninteresting.

Not Taking Risks

In our opinion, the biggest mistake people make is not taking risks. They’re afraid to try something new or go for something they haven’t seen done before. This is one thing that leads to everyone’s homes looking the same. Our advice is to take some time before you start, collect images and scraps of things you love, test paint colors and look at them at different times of day in different lights, maybe even different seasons. And then go for it!

Being Too Maximalist

Too many patterns, florals, prints all over the place can disturb the eye. Coco Chanel famously said, ‘Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.’ I think that can be applied to interior design also.

Asymmetrical Spaces

A common mistake when laying out a room is not considering symmetry. It creates balance and allows everything to align, from lighting to furnishings. To create symmetry, draw a line down the middle of the room and measure to be sure it’s the same on both sides. Then start laying out the furniture working from the centerline outwards.

Accent Walls

The accent wall. I detest them. (Generally—there are always exceptions!) Unless you are doing some artful color blocking like Le Corbusier or decorating an office or restaurant where they make more sense, stay away from accent walls. They feel non-committal, trepidatious, and often make the remaining, unadorned walls in the room look sad and forgotten. They can also make a room feel off balance.

Skipping the Rug Pad

Not using carpet pads under rugs, and sliding into the furniture! Every carpet should have a carpet pad for safety. They are inexpensive and so worth it!

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