Whether you’re moving into a new apartment or want to give your living room a seasonal boost, there are many opportunities in your life to design your home. But before you start rolling up your sleeves, make sure you don’t fall into one of these interior design traps! We have polled the experts, and these are their top interior design mistakes that you should keep in mind before starting your next home décor project.
1. Leaving Windows for Last
According to HGTV designer Karl Lohnes and custom window fashions manufacturer Hunter Douglas (hunterdouglas.com), windows play a much bigger role in defining our living spaces that many would think. Windows can create illusions of depth of height in a room, plus Lohnes and Douglas reference “scientific studies[, which] have shown that the quality of natural light in a space actually affects our moods and health”. While your window décor may not be as important as your sofa, keep your windows as a priority in helping you create your home’s desired ambiance.
2. Purchasing New Furniture Before Measuring the Room
This is pretty self-explanatory. Save yourself the trouble of buying a huge bookcase that you can’t even fit through your front door. Don’t make any major purchases until you have spent time in the physical space, and when you finally get inside measure, measure, measure! The extra effort you put in now will pay off tenfold later.
3. Area Rugs that are the Wrong Size
Tori Toth of Stylish Stagers and author of the new book, Feel at Home: Home Staging Secrets for a Quick and Easy Sell says that a good area rug is “not too big, not too small, but just right”. There are few things that will make interior designers cry more than a dish towel-sized area rug that do absolutely nothing for a room. Our experts recommend that area rugs be large enough to leave only a 12- to 16-inch border of flooring around the room’s perimeter. Anything smaller will look insignificant.
4. Rooms that are Too Matchy
Just because you have a Swedish pine armoire does not mean that you need to buy an antique pine side table. Eric Fulwiler of Danish Country assures all of the perfectionists out there that it is okay to mix and match styles – good design is good design! He says instead to “pick pieces that bring warmth, beauty and soul to your home – you can’t go wrong”.
5. Furniture of Different Heights
According to Lauri Ward from Redecorate.com, you should avoid having a combination of high and low seating pieces mixed together, which creates a roller coaster effect. Instead, she recommends to keep seating height aligned as much as possible – no more than 3”-5” apart.
6. Ineffective Use of Artwork
Too much artwork hanging on your walls can make your home feel messy or claustrophobic, so it’s better to be selective with your wall décor. But no need to worry about that random piece of wall art that you picked up at the flea market collecting dust in your attic! Beverly Solomon suggests that you can use the extra artwork to change up your home décor every few months.
This can happen not only with artwork, but also with just about any home accessory. Clutter is a much more common interior design problem, but can be solved easily when you focus on sticking with your favorite things to display. As for keeping your home neat and tidy, furniture with storage components or cute storage baskets can do the trick.
8. Ignoring Your Room’s Focal Point
Every room has its focal point, around which everything else in that room revolves. Lohnes and Douglas remind us that the bedroom’s focal point is the headboard, the bathroom’s focal point is the vanity area and the living room’s focal point can be the television, fireplace or window, depending on what you use most. Design the rest of your room around the focal point to make sure it gets the attention it deserves.
9. Badly Lit Rooms
Just like windows, a room’s lighting can have a big effect on its spatial ambiance. Ward suggests using two lamps on either side of the sofa or bed to make the room look more balanced. But be careful – overdone lighting or light fixtures can have a negative effect on a room as well. In Solomon’s words: “Palace-sized chandeliers in a one bedroom apartment is too theatrical”. If you keep proportion and balance in mind when you start figuring out your room’s lighting, you’re probably headed in the right direction.
10. Getting It All Done in a Day
As much as we all love browsing Pottery Barn catalogs, turning our homes into one is both unoriginal and impersonal. In the words of Lohnes and Dougles, “It’s not fun to rush”. Remember, this is your home that should be shaped by your vision, goals, budget and timeline. This will achieve a layered décor process that will not only make your home look more tailored to your personality, but will also make interior design that much more enjoyable!