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Common Decor Mistakes to Avoid

Whether you're looking to renovate, decorate or refresh your home, there are a few mistakes that you should avoid to not only save you time and money but also help reduce waste for our planet. A well thought out design will not only elevate a room, but will also help in improving tasks, circulation, and ergonomics making our day to day lives more efficient and at ease. So sit back and get familiar with these common decor mistakes so that you can avoid making them.

Decor Mistake: Forgetting Function & Flow

Pictured: too large sofa

House Opedia

One of the most common mistakes people make is blind shopping. Now, I don't mean shopping with a physical blindfold, but when going furniture or decor shopping without a plan, you can easily be lead astray. It's important to address questions before stepping foot into a store and really getting to know the needs of your space. A few of the main questions to ask yourself are, how are you using the room? And what are your core needs? Forgetting to address these questions will not only cost you money, but will usually leave you with a time-sucking cycle of returning and purchasing items on end, construction errors, or miscommunication.

Pictured: Main Floor Designed for Optimal Function & Flow

White Dahlia Design

It's also important to address your budget in order to know where you can splurge, where you should invest, and where you can save a little. And lastly, don't make the worst mistake of all and buy furniture without considering measurements. Avoid the biggest headache of realizing the bench you just bought is actually far too short and awkward looking against the wall.

Key Takeaways

  • Consider what the room is intended for and how you use the room.

  • Identify your core needs and elements that you want to bring into the room, such as specific pieces of furniture or specific pieces of decor to avoid buying items with no purpose.

  • Keep measurements and photos of your room on your phone to ensure that you buy appropriate sized furniture when you shop.

Decor Mistake: An Unbalanced Room

Pictured: Incorrect rug size and over-accessorizing


Balance is key in Interior Design and can bring an awkward-looking room to a well thought out design. Now I know there is asymmetry and symmetry, so not everything has to be perfectly centered or leveled, but it's these little details that can make all the difference and can significantly make a room look put together. As mentioned above, if you forget to account for the scale of furniture, room size, and decor items, this can also leave you spending on items that don't necessarily suit the room, fit the space, or create poor circulation.

For instance, look at the image above with a smaller rug that doesn't meet any room edge or furniture, we'd call this the "floating rug". This can make the room look a little awkward overall, unbalanced, and have no purpose in the seating area. Rugs are intended to ground the space (in this case the seating area) and make a room feel inviting and cozy. If you need tips on picking out that perfect rug for your room, we can help with that.

Pictured: A rug encompassing a space correctly


Surfaces in your room also play a role in a well-executed design. Believe it or not, there is such a thing as over-decorating, and scale is an important element if you want to achieve a well-balanced room. Sometimes we can get a little carried away with decor, especially if you are one for picking up every eye-catching item you come across while out shopping. Before you decide to fill up your cart, remember to first take a look at your space and assess whether or not you may already have too many decor pieces and could be just contributing to clutter. It's not "less equals more", but "simple equals more". A great tip is to opt for larger items that create a statement vs. a compilation of nic nacks to give an overall cleaner look. And guess what? We've also got a great post to help you style your shelves and surfaces, so be sure to check that out after!

Key Takeaways

  • Know the right size of decor you need before purchasing.

  • The correct sized rug can make all the difference and give grounds for balance.

  • Simple equals more. Style your surfaces and shelves with purpose.

Pictured: A balanced layout

White Dahlia Design

Decor Mistake: Matchy-Matchy Mindset

Pictured: Matching bedroom set and living room furniture

Apartment Therapy Impell

Pictured: Existing furniture and decor mixed with new

White Dahlia Design

Many feel the need to purchase everything brand new when wanting to design their rooms, thinking it will make their home look like an image they saw out of a magazine. Some people seek out and buy matching furniture sets leaving no room for singularity. The problem with these cases is that an overly designed room put together from an image can lose a sense of the person or people that actually live there. I know we all love looking at images we see on Pinterest or in design magazines, but we often forget that usually these photos are staged for the photo. A home should represent the people who live in them, otherwise, it's just a house filled with pretty things that have no connection to each other or the homeowner.

The open concept living and dining room we designed above are a perfect example of mixing new items with existing pieces. It also showcases how you don't need to spend a fortune in order to achieve a space you love and that is unique to your personality. In the design above, we sourced items from both Wayfair and CB2 with mid to moderate price points. So much personality is incorporated into this open concept living and dining room and we couldn't be happier with how it turned out. If you'd like to take a closer look at the details that went into this design, head over here.

Pictured: Mixed metal finishes

Juniper Home

A huge misconception when it comes to metal finishes is that everything must match. Now, there is nothing wrong with wanting to match your metal finishes, however, there is also absolutely nothing wrong with mixing them. These days it is actually more refreshing to give these little details more interest, depth, and personality. Having one dominant metal finish throughout the house is now a thing of the past - and we are very OK with it! Metals can add additional warmth, give contrast or sophistication, and when done correctly can elevate your interior design style. And if you're wondering right now what your interior design style is, take our online quiz to find out!

Key Takeaways

  • Mix existing items with new items to avoid an overly staged room.

  • Incorporate personality through personal items such as photos or collectibles - but keep in mind the takeaway from our last section, simple equals more!

  • Mix metals for a more updated look. Choose one dominant metal finish and accent with one or two other metal finishes with a cool or warm aesthetic.

Decor Mistake: Bad Lighting & Fear of Color

Pictured: Poor bathroom lighting


Pictured: Layered lighting and bold use of color

White Dahlia Design

Most of the time we like to play it safe when it comes to our interiors, and it is understandable within reason, especially for resale value. But playing it safe can sometimes come off as bland and lacking personality. Color and lighting as a design element are powerful tools and designers are specially trained to help you enhance a room by narrowing down endless hues and shades of color, as well as endless styles and types of lighting. Color and lighting layers have the ability to transform, enhance, and improve task performance.

Pictured: Color perception

Greige Design

Take a look at this stunning ensuite bathroom. The overall color palette is kept tone on tone with whites and greys. The walls are finished off in grey wainscotting/paneling, and the crown molding is also painted in the same grey color. This technique shortens the room allowing the space to feel more cozy yet still airy vs. cold, bare, and empty. Color perception is everything and in this case, helped to improve the overall mood of this ensuite. In a previous post, we discuss our top 5 paint colors and color pallets for 2020 so make sure to take a look if you are looking for some fresh ideas for paint colors!

Key Takeaways

  • Introduce color into your space and avoid cookie-cutter spaces.

  • Proper lighting layers can improve task performance as well as enhance a room.

  • Colors can change the perception of a room making it feel bigger, smaller, cozier, and add personality.

Decor Mistake: Improper Window Treatments

Pictured: Improper curtain hanging


Pictured: Correct curtain hanging height

Nam Dang Mitchell

You wouldn't think that window treatments would be one of the biggest mistakes most people make when it comes to putting a room together. Too often curtains are either hung too low or too high making the room look awkward and unfinished. The power of properly hung curtains hung at the right height for your overall ceiling height can make a room feel much taller than it actually is. Just like the first point in this blog, room measurements are crucial when picking out the correct sized curtains. In design, every little detail counts - floor to ceiling - so don't make the mistake of neglecting your window treatments. Think of them as the icing on the cake or the finishing touch that brings the whole room together.

Pictured: Correct curtain hanging height in the "float" style

The Savvy Heart

Don't forget to address whether you'd like to keep your window treatments minimal and sheer or fully light blocking. Curtain hanging types and styles also help to achieve the design style you are working with. Without getting too deep into the nitty-gritty of curtains, head over to a previous post for a guide on how to properly hang your curtains where we discuss the basics and different curtain hanging styles.

Key Takeaways

  • Window treatments are just as important as the rest of the room decor. The icing on the cake, or the last bit to everything looking complete.

  • Window and room measurements are crucial in order to pick the perfect window treatments for your room.

  • Know what style you are wanting to achieve before you pick out your curtains. This can further elevate the Interior Design Style you are going for.

We are all guilty of making these mistakes (designers included!) and we hope that this post will help you avoid decor mistakes in the future. There are so many rules, tips, and tricks in design and these are only but a few. Interior Design is not just about making things look pretty - which is one of the biggest misconceptions out there. Designers are trained to design with ergonomics, circulation, form, and function in mind. They get into the finer details, taking into consideration everything from lifestyle needs to future added value. However, as much as design is about form and function, at the end of the day it really comes down to the story behind the people who inhabit the interior spaces. If you need any further help with putting a space together, you can book a free consultation call with us today to get you on track. Don't forget to also subscribe down below for more weekly posts like this one!



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