When it comes to interior design there are no rules, as such. Sure, your Insta feed will sell you all manner of decor, style and shopping suggestions, but besides the odd rhyme discouraging certain color combos, there is little info to help us discern design mistakes before we make them.
Of course, mistakes made are lessons learned – however, design errors can be costly and eventually cause major setbacks.
To help you skip any false starts in the first place, we have compiled a list of 7 of the most common design mistakes, along with how to avoid them altogether:
Accenting the Wrong Walls
We are willing to bet your home has had its very own feature wall once or twice (or perhaps thrice) over the years. Whilst there is nothing wrong with accenting a single wall using paint, paper or murals, highlighting the wrong wall can draw unwanted attention to less attractive fittings, such as radiators, appliances, and doors.
Avoid: No need to shun accent walls altogether. Simply scope out your options before committing. The best walls to highlight are bedhead walls and fireplace walls.
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By all means, buy yourself those palm print cushion covers, but be aware that trends can be fleeting. While smaller accessories can be switched out if you tire of the trend, more permanent features, such as wallpaper and flooring, are not so easy – or cheap – to replace.
Avoid: Try not to make any decor decisions on a whim. Live in the space for a while before committing to any kind of scheme, and discover what the room will benefit from.
If you are tempted by a trend then consider experimenting with it in a small, lesser-used space, such as the washroom. Alternatively, try implementing the trend slowly, first with trinkets and trim, until you decide whether it can go the distance or not.
Let’s clear something up: Not every space needs to be filled with furniture. We are referring, of course, to the living room corners that all too often get plied with pieces to prevent the space from feeling sparse.
The consequence? A cluttered and impractical layout. Placing too many pieces of furniture around the perimeter of the room makes a space feel smaller and less functional.
Avoid: Simple as it may seem, give away or repurpose any pieces that do not serve a purpose. A living space will work best if you arrange the furniture for watching TV and engaging in conversation.
Organize seating so that everybody can see one another, and if empty corners make you uncomfortable, invest in artwork and potted plants to pep them up.
Giving Little Though to Lighting
A single, overhead pendant does little in the way of function or ambiance. Without carefully considered lighting, you risk a room that lacks in both comfort and practicality.
Avoid: Lighting should be layered for best effect – some stylists even recommend as many as eight light sources. Start with task lighting or spots to illuminate workspaces, such as kitchen worktops and bathroom mirrors, then build around it.
Add lamps and string lights to help you alter the mood of the room, and additional spots to highlight artwork and focal points. Candles are essential for creating a cozy vibe.
Investing in Disposable Design
If you know you will only be into the current cool motif for a couple of months, steer clear of splashing cash on items that are likely to be tossed once you are over it. Equally, avoid splurging on low-quality pieces – particularly textiles – that will wear and need replacing quickly.
Avoid: Shop with a decreeing eye. Look for the best quality that you can afford, even if it means waiting until you find that right item, or until you can afford what you want.
Skimping on Storage
It is one thing to overdo it on the furniture. It is quite another to fall short. Without ample storage to stash possessions, your home is at risk of becoming cluttered, which can cause unnecessary stress (ever tried to locate an urgent bill or keys or a missing sock in a sea of stuff? Not fun).
Avoid: Be realistic about your belongings and their storage requirements, and consider this when redecorating.
That way, more practical furnishings, such as ottoman beds and additional cupboards, can be factored into the design and budget so there are not any surprise expenses when you realize your single wardrobe can’t accommodate your shoe collection.
Not Going with your Gut
It can be easy to let loved ones and influencers cloud your vision and send you off course with their ideas and suggestions. The problem? By not trusting your instincts you chance to create a look that you aren’t all that happy with.
Avoid: Take tips, advice, and ideas on board, but prioritize your preferences over those of others. After all, it is you that has to live with the end result. More often than not, trusting your gut will pay off. And if not, remember that most mistakes can easily be rectified.