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10 Common Interior Design Mistakes

Sometimes something feels off with a room and you just can't work out might be down to one of these interior design mistakes

1. Scale

Scale is one of the most common mistakes made in interior design. Often people use too many small objects, making the space seem cluttered and distracting or they choose objects and furniture which are too large, causing the room to appear smaller than it is.

To avoid this, think about what your focal point is, know your room measurements and how much room should be between furniture and walls and choose a variety of small, medium and large items. Do your really need that extra vase or seat? What does it add to the room? Focus on key items first and then build from there.


2. Position and Size of Art

Related to scale and something we often see with art is hanging too small a painting or print (or mirror) on a large blank wall and hanging it too high. Art should be positioned a bit lower than you might think, a rule of thumb is for the centre of the painting to be about 5 feet high. If you have 3 or 4 small prints, don't put one on each wall, pair them or group them to create a focal point on a large wall.


3. Being Matchy-Matchy

If everything in a room is matching it will lack personality. Well-designed rooms use contrast to create interest and to highlight key items, creating a comfortable pathway for the eyes to follow. An overly matched room will create confusion and camouflage objects which should be emphasised. This is why it's always a bad idea to buy everything from the same shop, however lovely it looks in the brochure or website, it will most likely look flat and unfinished once you've installed in your home.

If you are not colour confident choose multiple shades of one colour and select a complimentary metallic colour for accessories. Variety can also be added with pattern and texture. Make use of interior design magazines and websites for inspiration.


4. Lack of Personality

Homes should be comfortable, functional, visually appealing and show the personality of the people living there.

Incorporate personal items that hold memories such as photographs and souvenirs collected from holidays and use them to create appealing displays.


5. Lack of Curation

(Yes, 'curation' is a posh word for decluttering or editing your possessions!). Avoid keeping items which neither serve a purpose or work with the design. If the piece holds sentimental value, consider selling it or re-homing it in a space which compliments it.


6. Impulse Buying

Buying something which catches your attention before you have a finished design plan can be risky as it may impact your design choices and budget later on.

Instead, decide what you need, establish a budget and create a layout plan. When you have done this, start gathering images of items that you like and create a mood board of the room or rooms to be designed. This way you will be able to make the most of your money whilst creating a design that you love. It is also a good idea to keep all receipts and paper work for anything you buy in case you need to return it.


7. Lack of Focal Point

Focal points are necessary to make a space feel visually appealing and create a focus for the room. Think about how you can draw the eye to the focal point and where it should be placed for maximum effect. Focal points placed at the furthest point of a room will draw the eye from one room to the next and make the space appear larger. Common focal points include fireplaces, TVs, bath tubs and beds.


8. Not Getting a Second Opinion

Even if you choose not to hire an interior designer, it is worth asking a friend or relative for their thoughts. People see and experience things differently, leading to different ideas and solutions. You may even find that they know someone in a trade who can be of help.

Many interior designers charge by the hour so it is worth enquiring and seeing if there is a way to obtain their help without going over budget.


9. Painting First

Choosing paint should not be your first priority when designing a room. Paint comes in virtually every shade and colour, so it makes sense to choose fabrics, flooring and furniture first. Ideally, you should first create a mood board to see how your choices work together before purchasing anything.


10. Scattering Accessories

Often people haphazardly scatter accessories and collections throughout a room without a plan in mind. This can make a room seem cluttered and does not show off the items to maximum effect.

Where possible, group similar items together to create a sense of rhythm. Items grouped in odd numbers work well. Start by arranging your accessories on the floor, choose a focal piece and think about how everything works together in terms of size, material, shape, colour and theme. Rearrange until you are happy.


Q. Have you made any of these design mistakes have you made? How did you solve them? 

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