When designing your dream home, there is so much to think about that it’s easy to make some simple mistakes when choosing the right décor for your spaces, as well as getting the interior design elements just the way you want them. Unfortunately, those simple mistakes can make a big impact on your home, and not in a positive way. So to help you navigate through this potential mine field of missteps, we have created a list of the most common interior design mistakes that people usually make, so that you can learn to avoid them yourself and focus instead on achieving the home of your dreams!
There is a large list of factors to consider when planning your home, so finding what truly works for you will take a little careful thought and planning to ultimately get it right. Between selecting the correct furniture, experimenting with paint swatches, or even knowing how to position artwork properly throughout your home, there are a multitude of small decisions that go into styling the perfect space. Without trying to scare you too much, you need to know that even a small misjudgement in any of these areas can make a large impact on the look and feel of an area. The aim here is to find an even middle-ground, creating some synchronicity between the different elements that make up a room.
To help us along the way, we’ve invited Jennifer Bomford, Estilo Living’s Co-Founder and Head-Stylist, to join us and lend her expert tips and advice to help us avoid (or fix) some of these simple mistakes.
So without wasting another second, let’s jump straight into our list of "The 7 Most Common Interior Design Mistakes That People Usually Make".
1. Not Measuring a Room First
2. Choosing the Paint Color for Your Walls First
3. Having Only One Light Source
4. Pushing All Furniture Up Against the Walls
5. Choosing the Wrong Colored Furniture
6. Buying a Large Dining Table
7. Don’t Follow the Trends!
1) Not Measuring a Room First
We understand what it’s like to see a piece of home décor or furniture that you instantly fall in love with and just have to have. But this is one of the biggest mistakes that people tend to make when styling their home. It’s important to take the time to measure the size of the spaces that you are trying to style, and then once again the actual items that you would like to add to that space. Then create a plan on paper, mapping out your space first before committing to any specific décor or furniture, to avoid over-crowding or under-furnishing.
Alternatively, mark the height, width, and depth of the furniture pieces that you are interested in using some blue painters' tape, sticking it directly onto the wall. This way you can visually see how much space you have to actually work with, instead of making estimates. A little careful planning here can save you a world of trouble and back-tracking later, and will only take you a few extra minutes in the big scheme of things.
A great app and resource that we highly recommend to help you decide if a piece of décor is right for your space, is the super-useful Size.link App. Check out this great Shopify blog about Size Link to see how it works.
Jennifer Says: "Before making a purchase, it’s important to gather the dimensions of each piece of décor to form a plan. One of the most common interior design mistakes people make is relying on the eye to measure a space. Instead, consider the overall area of the space first, and measure everything precisely.”
2) Choosing the Paint Color for Your Walls First
One of the biggest mistakes that we hear about on a regular basis, is people choosing the paint color for their walls without first testing it to see how it will look when the room is fully finished. So here’s our advice to you: AVOID fully painting a room without testing the color on your walls first!
Jennifer Says: “It’s incredibly important to test different paint color variations in your room before you finally commit. For example, painted grays often look bluer than they looked at the paint store; or a light beige could end up looking much more yellow than you originally thought. Test the color at different times of the day, in a variety of different lighting situations. Then see what it looks like next your furniture as well.”
Once again, this may take a little extra time up front, but will save you a lot of time, money, and disappointment in the long run, and will ultimately help you choose the color that is right for your home!
3) Having Only One Light Source
When styling a space, lighting is often an after-thought. We regularly see spaces with a single ceiling fixture light source to illuminate the entire space, which gives us an uneven flow, and creates shadows and dimly lit corners. From our experience, the best spaces have a plethora of light sources to create various ambiances and even lighting, by layering their lighting options.
Jennifer Says: “I suggest installing lighting dimmers on your main overhead lights, and then adding multiple other light sources which are set at different heights, such as floor lamps and table lamps. I like to opt for soft white bulbs to give a smooth, even illumination. Harsh fluorescent or white lights can make a space feel stark and uninviting, while soft lighting not only sets the mood but also makes a room feel warm and intimate”, she advises.
Gone are the days that a single ceiling fixture is sufficient to light an entire room, (well in terms of ambiance and style anyway). It is better to start with multiple LED down-lights spaced across the ceiling, set on dimmers, and then add in additional lighting sources such as lamps. As we said before, the aim here is to spread your light evenly, and this can only be done by employing multiple light sources. A carefully placed floor lamp next to your sofa or favorite reading chair, or a table lamp set onto a beautiful side-table will add the extra light that you need. This solution will also work to add a whole new dimension and unique ambiance to any room, and give you the opportunity to reflect your personal style.
For some great lighting options, why not check out our Lighting Collection.
4) Pushing All Furniture Up Against the Walls
As logical and tempting as it may be to push all of your furniture as far back against your walls to create as mush space as possible, this can actually hinder the overall feeling of space even more.
Jennifer Says: “When planning a room, people often make this simple, and easily avoidable, styling mistake. For some reason, people feel that they need to push their furniture pieces flush up against the walls, believing that it saves space, or even creates more” she comments.
“In reality, it can actually make the room feel cramped and ruin the flow. One suggestion that I highly recommend is something that is referred to as ‘conversational furniture placement’. This revolves around grouping furniture elements, essentially pulling your furniture off the walls and towards each other. This creates a more intimate setting”.
“Take a moment to make a basic plan of how you would like to set your furniture out, either on a piece of paper, or by marking it out with blue painters' tape on the walls and floor. Play with different positions that you like around the room” she advises.
5) Choosing the Wrong Colored Furniture
Now, a huge mistake that we see time and time again is people choosing the wrong colored furniture for the size of the space that they are working with. While it seems like a simple and innocent mistake to make, the color of your furniture can really have an enormous impact on the look, feel, and even the perceived size of your home. We understand the appeal of a gorgeous dark colored sofa setting, or deep-toned wooden coffee or side-table, but in reality this is a decision that is largely based on the size of the room that you’re working with, first and foremost, and should be carefully considered before purchasing.
Jennifer Says: “Dark furniture can look amazing in a larger space, but when you are working with a smaller room, or even a smaller home all together, like an apartment or Tiny Home, it is important to only choose lighter color tones, as heavy, bulky, and dark furniture pieces will instantly make your room feel cramped and claustrophobic. This also applies to the curtains or blinds that you choose to install. Opting for lightweight linen or fabric finishes in a light-reflecting color palette will lift the space, and add a breath of fresh air to your spaces.”
Another great trick that can also work well here is matching the color of your furniture to your walls. With the colors blending, it will “pull back” your walls, and trick the eye into considering all of the elements in the room as one larger concept, which will add depth and space to the room.
6) Buying a Large Dining Table
When styling a new space, we often see many people purchasing their dining table first, and then attempting to style the rest of the room around that. This is because the dining room table is usually one of the most central pieces in any home, offering a point of family contact and becoming a symbol of community in a home. Due to this, many people dive straight in to buying a table first, based on the emotional idea of what it can fulfill for them, and completely forget about and overlook the size and dimensions that they are actually working with.
When styling a new space we often plan our home around the lifestyle that we imagine that it will create. The dining room table is a great example of this, and we often dream of hosting large dinner parties and having big family meals with our loved ones. And, while this does sound appealing, this is not often the reality. When you live in a small apartment or other small space, it is important to avoid buying a large dinner table unless you’re sure that you’re actually going to use it.
Jennifer says: “Plan the size of the furniture that you purchase by the size of the space, not by the romantic dream of what having that piece might create in your ‘perfect home’. When styling a small apartment or other space, you should aim for liveability and usability first and foremost, before letting your imagination run wild. Instead, I suggest to opt for a smaller table which will work in the space that you have. A round dinner table, for example, has the ability to accommodate more guests, and even more if you add a leaf extension. It can seat two people for everyday use and expand to up to six for larger parties”, she says.
7) Don’t Follow the Trends!
For our final piece of advice: always remember to embrace YOUR OWN style! Make your spaces personal and unique to you. Ask yourself, What does the space mean to me? What are the colors and textures I love, and what is the feeling that I want to have when I get home? Push trends aside, ignore what’s popular right now, and make design choices based on your personal aesthetic to create a space that you’ll love for years to come.
Jennifer says: “Remember to embrace your own personal style when choosing the décor for your home, or when displaying your favorite pieces. The biggest mistake that people make is trying to style their home like everyone else and redesign it every time there is a new trend”.
She continues, "If you truly want to create your dream home, stop following fads. The problem is that people are often insecure. They worry about what everyone else is doing, instead of sitting down and asking, "What does My dream home look like?". I think the best interiors are always those where you can tell that people have let their own unique personal style emanate throughout the space, ignoring the current social norms”.
Visit Estilo Living now for perfect solutions to all of these problems, plus many more!