15 Common Interior Design Mistakes Experts Always Spot

1. Not Having a Plan.

Starting a design project without first making a plan is like driving to an unknown location without looking at a map. You might get to where you want to go in the end, but you will make a lot of wrong turns along the way.

2. Not Budgeting Properly.

Many people fail to realize just how important establishing a solid budget for your design project is. And unfortunately, this is one area that can actually make or break your entire project. If you don’t budget carefully, it’s easy to overspend on a few items and be left with no money for the end of the project.

3. Failing to Establish a Focal Point.

A well-designed room starts with a focal point. The focal point provides a center of attention and helps anchor the space. It should be a visually prominent feature that draws attention and gives the eye somewhere to land when you enter the room. Architectural features such as a fireplace or large window are among the most common focal points. If the space does not have any prominent features, you will have to establish one with furniture or artwork.

4. Thinking Everything Has to Match.

Your home should be as unique as you are. And the best way to create an interior that expresses your tastes and individual style is to select each piece carefully. It might seem easier to take a page from your favorite catalogue to guarantee everything in the room matches. But you’ll also get a room that lacks character and interest. Or worse, you might end up with the exact same living room as your neighbor.

5. Having your Clutter on Display.

Even the most beautiful spaces look less than their best when filled with clutter. Clearing your clutter will not only make your home look better, it will also free up more time and reduce stress in your life. Start by getting rid of the things you don’t use or need. Then find a home out of sight for what’s left.

6. Holding onto Heirlooms (you don’t like).

Using vintage, bespoke, and custom pieces in your home will create a unique space that expresses your personal style. But just because you already own vintage or heirloom furniture, doesn’t mean you’re obligated to keep them.

7. Using the Wrong Size Area Rug.

Area rugs are often the last thing people consider when decorating, but they are actually an important element of the design. The right area rug can help anchor a room, define a space, or pull together a colour palette. The options for colours, patterns, and style are almost endless so be sure to keep your plan and colour palette in mind when choosing your rug.

8. Having Only One Light Source.

So often, people move into a new home and never think twice about the lighting. Builders generally use the least expensive fixtures and install only enough to provide basic light. This leaves most homes with either dimly lit spaces or harsh lighting. Or sometimes both!

9. Hanging Curtains Too Low.

Another all-too-common interior design mistake is hanging curtains at or just above the window frame. This can make windows seem smaller and actually blocks natural light if the curtains don’t open wide enough to leave the windows completely unobstructed.

10. Placing Furniture Right Against the Wall.

Unless you have a really small space and there’s no way around it, pushing all your furniture up against the wall can make for an awkward arrangement. This usually leaves large, empty spaces and results in furniture that’s too far apart for conversation. Unless you’re designing a library intended for quiet contemplation, your furniture plan should facilitate comfortable conversation.

11. Choosing the Wrong Size Furniture.

Scale and proportion are some of the hardest areas of design to master. Many people believe that if you have a large home, you should fill it with large furniture. Likewise, if they have a small home, they decorate with only small-scale furniture. It’s OK to use a large-scale piece in a small space to make a statement. But you have to balance it out with small or visually light items to avoid a room that feels crowded.

12. Ignoring Traffic Flow.

Few things are more frustrating than bumping into furniture whenever you try and move around your house. You can completely transform the feel of your home by rearranging the furniture to improve circulation and maximize traffic flow.

13. Choosing Paint Colours Before Furniture and Fabrics.

It might seem easier to paint your home before you move in or before you fill it with new furniture. But this decorating mistake results in walls that don’t relate to anything in your home. And with all the thousands of paint colours available, it’s much easier to match your paint colour to your décor than to find furniture that coordinates with your walls.

14. Exposed Outlets and Cords.

Nothing ruins a beautiful room like an ugly tangle of cords and wires. Electrical cords may be unavoidable but that doesn’t mean you can’t disguise them or tuck them out of sight. The best way to hide cords is to run them inside the wall so they disappear completely. But this isn’t always an option. Alternatively, you can paint cords the same colour as the wall to make them less noticeable.

15. Plain Walls and a Lack of Accessories.

You might think that once the furniture is in place and the walls are painted, the design job is complete. But the final step in any design or decorating project is adding accessories and artwork. This will help pull the design together, reinforce the colour palette, and add interest, texture, and personality to the space. A home lacking colour and décor can feel harsh and uninviting

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