If you’ve never built a room from carpet to ceiling rail, here’s how to avoid the ten most common interior design mistakes waiting to trap the unwary. (Or you can stop reading now and just hire a professional.)
1) Mix It Up
Scale is the first thing people lose track of when they’re designing a room. Too many small things and there’s nowhere for the eye to land. Too many bulky pieces and the room feels small and stuffed. Give the room a happy blend of shapes, heights and sizes.
Before you shop, make sure you know what you need. Measure the space that needs filling. Determine how much you have to spend. Know your furniture placement and size requirements. Returning a sweater is one thing, returning a dining room table is quite another.
3) Ask a Friend
Sometimes you need a fresh set of eyes. Ask a trusted friend for their honest opinion on color, fabric, and arrangement. You can also hire an interior designer for guidance – many designers will come in for an hour or two to give you advice and design tips.
4) Put the Paint Brush Down
It’s much easier to match paint to your chosen textiles than vice versa. Find rugs and curtains and pillows you love at the price you need and then go to your nearest hardware store for cans of paint, rather than searching desperately for the perfect couch that also works with your walls.
5) Don’t Blow Your Budget In One Place
Perfectly matched modern lines are deeply seductive. But don’t get carried away and buy everything at once – you’ll end up with a house that’s a showroom instead of a home. Building character in a room is like building character in a person – it builds over time. So be patient. Go to flea markets and search for the perfect odd chair. Keep an eye on your favorite galleries for art you truly love.
6) Rooms Need a Focal Point
If it’s a TV room, that’s easy – all your couches and chairs point toward the glowing box. If it’s more ambiguous in function, choose a feature you really love to pull focus, like a beautiful marble fireplace, a large painting, or an antique gaming table.
7) Grandma’s Piano
You hate it. And that’s okay. Sometimes heirloom furniture becomes a prized possession, sometimes it just makes you itchy. Things in your home should bring you joy. So give grandma’s piano to a relative who really wants it or sell it to buy something you really love.
8) Breathing Room
Don’t over-furnish. Don’t stuff in something that doesn’t fit. Don’t clutter. If you can do without it, whether because you don’t love it or it doesn’t serve a purpose, let it go. Your room will be happier for it.
9) Don’t Block Natural Light
Don’t shove your bed up against the window or hang curtain rods too low. When pondering your well-placed lamps and ceiling light, make sure it’s bright enough to illuminate but not so bright it’s jarring.
10) Don’t Shove All Your Furniture Against the Wall
Instead, push your furniture together in an intimate setting that will be conducive to good conversation and create a flow through the room.
How’s your interior design savvy?