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Most Common Interior Design Mistakes

Updated: Nov 8, 2022

For my first blog post, I wanted to share with you the most common design mistakes that I come across on consultations. These three mistakes, for the most part, are quick and affordable fixes. I hope that after reading this post you’ll be able to make these small changes that have been proven to enhance the overall look and feel of your home.

Mistake #1 - Choosing the wrong lighting

  • The first mistake, the mother of all interior design mistakes, is choosing the wrong lighting. I don’t necessarily mean the fixture itself (although that can be a mistake too!) but I’m more focused on the color temperature and wattage of the bulbs. There’s a reason why I chose to not only write about this in my first blog post but am also highlighting it as the most common design mistake I come across; lighting should not be overlooked! Here’s what I tell my clients during design consultations..

  • Lighting is an essential part to a good design. Your room can be designed perfectly but the wrong lighting, too harsh or too dim, can ruin the overall look and feel you’re trying to create. A study done by Harvard Medical School and Brigham women’s hospital found that light is the most crucial cue in regulating many biochemical and physiological processes in the body. I’ve never been a science or math person, in college I studied Interior Design and Business but I’ve always found it fascinating that design elements can improve the way we function in our daily lives. We all know how we feel at the end of a week where its been cloudy for four straight days versus how we feel after those bright sunny weekends. “Warm light” is going to make you feel relaxed and comfortable, I don’t know about you, but when I’m at home those are two feelings I want to have. My suggestion; choose warmer tones for your lighting - soft white is my be all and end all for residential settings. Your home shouldn’t give off the same color temperature that you see in classrooms and hospitals! In those settings “cooler light,” is shown, which is meant to make people feel energized and excited. It’s no secret that sitting under that kind of lighting for too long will leave you feeling exhausted like you would feel after a long day at school, certainly not how you want to feel at home every day.

  • Another common mistake is not adding enough light in a room. A professional recommendation of mine is to add at least three lighting sources that provide both ambient and task lighting. Your room should feel well lit yet not overpowering to the space. Make sure your bulbs are dimmable LEDs and keep in mind that different times of day will require different levels of lighting. Lighting in your home should feel like part of your routine for different times of day.

Mistake #2 - Pushing all the furniture against the walls

People often default to pushing their furniture against the walls. I find that most people push their furniture against the walls to make the room look more spacious which is ironic because I always feel like it does the opposite. In my opinion, pushing the furniture against the walls can make your home feel cold and uninviting. Allowing some furniture to float closer to the center of the room encourages more intimate conversation areas and creates a focal point when you enter the room. In design school, we learned so much about focal points and how essential they are to a good design. A focal point, like the name suggests, is the area your eyes will immediately be drawn to. The most common focal points are fireplaces, windows, televisions or a particular piece of furniture or art. When your room lacks a focal point it will most likely feel unorganized, you’ll always feel like somethings off. It’s also important to note that focal points do not have to be a wall or attached to a wall. Focal points can be lighting, area rugs or furniture pieces that have a strong visual feature. This allows you to draw your eye to the center of the room instead of right to one of the walls. If your home has an open floor plan with several functions, give each area a focal point. For example, in the kitchen the range is usually the focal point, in the dining room the lighting is usually the focal point while in the living room the fireplace or TV is usually the focal point. Try not to overwhelm the space but use these focal points as benchmarks for how to set up the furniture in the room.

Mistake #3 - Accumulating too much “stuff”

  • I often go on consultations and people will say to me that something in the room just felt off so they kept adding more items in hopes it would fix the problem. This is the most dangerous design mistake. It’s costly and often difficult for people to part ways with items they’ve purchased for their home. I’m not a minimalist but I often find myself telling clients that less is more and that’s something that they should repeat to themselves over and over again while perusing the isles of home retail stores.

  • My advice, to put it simply, since this happens far too often with smaller items like picture frames and decor is to strip it down, start with the piece you like the most and build from there. I will go into more detail on how to accessorize your living room in a separate blog post so stay tuned for that!

I have been on so many design consultations, both in person and virtually, where clients are just completely overwhelmed by their homes. I hope that’s not you but if it is, start with trying to correct these three common mistakes and I guarantee your home will look and feel so much better. There may be more to do after these mistakes are corrected but this will be a great start! If you’re interested in booking a design consultation, click below. I can’t wait to help you fall in love with your home again!

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