15 common decorating mistakes and how to fix them!

Decorating your home is exciting, but it’s easy to make some mistakes along the way. Don’t worry; even the most seasoned interior designers have faced these challenges. In this blog post, we will explore some of the most common interior design mistakes and offer practical solutions to fix them.

By avoiding these errors and implementing the right solutions, you can transform your living spaces into stylish and functional rooms that you’ll love spending time in and showing off.

pretty decorated room for a post about decorating mistakes

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INTERIOR DESIGN MISTAKE #1 – No Defined Focal Point

Without a focal point, a room can feel chaotic and lack a sense of harmony.

Choose a central element that draws the eye’s attention, such as a large piece of artwork, a statement piece of furniture, or an eye-catching architectural feature. It’s important to have a focal point in a room to allow your eyes a place to rest. Ideally, you will have only one or two focal points in each room. Arrange other items such as furniture and your best accessories around the focal point to draw all attention to it.

Some items you may use as a focal point in a living room could be a fireplace, artwork or a gallery wall, entertainment center, bookcase or built-ins, or a view out a large window.

Finding a focal point in a bedroom is just as important as it is in any other room of your home. The focal point will set the tone for the room and create a sense of balance and visual interest.

Some potential focal points in this room are the bed, an accent wall, artwork, a window with a view, or even a chandelier.

Creating a focal point in your home office is essential for both functionality and aesthetic appeal. A well-designed focal point can enhance your productivity and make the workspace more inspiring.

Some focal point ideas for your home office could include the desk, bookshelf or built-ins, artwork, or bulletin board.

FINDING YOUR FOCAL POINT IN A ROOM

INTERIOR DESIGN MISTAKE #2 – Not Considering The Function Of The Room

Decorating a room without considering its intended purpose can lead to an impractical and uncomfortable space.  This is the biggest mistake when decorating a room. You can have a great design style and follow all the design trends, but without it functioning properly you will not be comfortable in the room.

Determine the primary function of the room, whether it’s a cozy living area or a functional home office, and let this purpose guide your design choices. Select furniture and decor that align with the room’s function to ensure comfort and usability. Here are some examples:

Creating a Functional Home Office: If your goal is to set up a home office, start by assessing your work habits and requirements. Do you need storage for files and supplies? Will you be using a computer, and if so, where will it be placed? Will you be meeting clients in this space?

Once you’ve established the practical needs of your home office, you can choose a suitable desk with enough workspace, seating that promotes productivity, and sufficient storage solutions to keep the area organized.

Adequate lighting, both ambient and task, is essential to prevent eye strain during long work hours.

By designing your home office with functionality in mind, you create an environment that not only looks good but also supports your work efficiency.

Designing a Cozy Living Area: For a living room, consider how you and your family typically use the space. Is it for lounging, entertaining, or a bit of both? If you enjoy hosting gatherings, ensure there’s plenty of seating and a layout that promotes conversation. A comfortable sofa or sectional, complemented by armchairs, can create a welcoming atmosphere. 

If relaxation is the main focus, incorporate soft textures, plush cushions, and warm lighting to encourage relaxation. Make sure that the layout allows for easy traffic flow and that furniture placement encourages conversation. By identifying the room’s primary function and choosing your design choices accordingly, you’ll create a living area that is both beautiful and comfortable to spend time in.

Crafting a Relaxing Bedroom Retreat: In the case of a bedroom, the goal is comfort and relaxation. Think about the elements that contribute to a good night’s sleep – a comfortable mattress, fluffy pillows, and blackout curtains to control light.

Choose a color scheme that promotes relaxation and opt for calming decor, such as soft textiles and minimal clutter.

If you like to read before bed, ensure that the lighting is suitable for this activity.

Your bedroom’s layout should also encourage relaxation, so consider the placement of furniture to allow for easy movement and a clear path to the bed. 

The key to successful interior design is creating a balance between looks and functionality. While it’s tempting to focus only on how a room looks, never forget that the way a space functions directly impacts your comfort and enjoyment of that room.

By determining the primary purpose of the room and selecting furniture, decor, and a layout that aligns with that purpose, you’ll create a space that not only looks pleasing but also serves you well in your day-to-day activities. Remember, a beautifully designed room is even more beautiful when it’s designed with a purpose in mind.

interior design mistakes - determining the function of your room

INTERIOR DESIGN MISTAKE #3 – Not Considering Architectural Details

Sometimes, we forget to appreciate the charming architectural details that are already in our rooms.

Take a closer look at the special parts of the room that are always there – like the pretty molding, trim, and even the windows and doors that add character. You can’t forget about those charming exposed beams either! Try to weave these features into your decorating plans to give your space that extra touch of personality.

For example, when you’re dealing with a slanted wall or a fireplace in a corner, it’s a good idea to arrange your furniture in a way that flows with that angle. If you don’t, things might just feel a bit off.

Don’t forget to let the main attraction of the room shine – that’s your focal point. Arrange your furniture so that it highlights that architectural element. It’s like giving it a spotlight!  And let’s not forget about doors and windows. If they’re beautiful or show off a lovely view, let them take center stage. If not, you can redirect attention to something else exciting in the room.

The best way to handle all of this is to give your room some breathing space. Clear everything out for a moment so you can really see those cool architectural bits and pieces.

using the architectural details in your home

INTERIOR DESIGN MISTAKE #4 – Furniture Against the Walls

If you have a large space, most people will push all furniture against the walls which creates an uninviting and disconnected room.  It is also challenging for people to have comfortable conversations.

The best way to fix this is to pull furniture away from the walls.  This will create cozy conversational groupings. This cozier arrangement creates a more intimate feel in the room. Haven’t you ever wondered why sectionals are so popular? It also helps with the function. And if your TV is too far away from your sofa you may be tempted to purchase a larger TV. See, I just saved you some money!

Sometimes this is not always an option such as in the case of a small room.  If you working with a small space then it may be impossible to pull the furniture away from the walls and still have room to move around.  In this case, just remember to pull the furniture into the grouping as best you can to create a comfortable conversation area.  And anchor these grouping with area rugs.  This brings me to my next mistake…

interior design mistakes - living room furniture placement

INTERIOR DESIGN MISTAKE #5 – The area rug is too small for the space

So many people choose area rugs that are too small for the space or use them the wrong way.

Use area rugs to define your furniture grouping.  A good rule of thumb is to make sure that all the furniture in the grouping has at least the front legs on the rug. Ideally, the rug should be just a bit larger than the whole grouping (including all of the furniture legs).  

Please don’t buy a smaller rug that is just big enough for your coffee table!  That table will be the only comfortable thing in the room. 😉

In a bedroom, at the minimum, you can use two runners on each side of the bed.  

The next best would be a rug that goes under the bed that is wide enough to extend out about 2′ on each side and includes the bottom legs up to the front of the bedside tables.

Ideally, you would purchase a rug large enough that the whole bed and side tables would be under it.  So about 2-3′ wider than the bed and from the headboard to just past the footboard. This measurement will change depending on the size of your bed and side tables.

the best area rug sizes for your room

INTERIOR DESIGN MISTAKE #6 – Bad traffic flow in the room

Getting Stuck in Traffic… Inside Your Room! You might not realize it, but how you move around in a room matters too!

Think about how you walk from one place to another in the room. You don’t want to bump into furniture or feel like you’re in a maze, right? So, set up your furniture in a way that lets you move around without any hiccups. No more blocking doorways or having to walk around something to get from one spot to another. It’s like creating a pathway that feels just right.

Oh, and don’t forget to give yourself some elbow room! Make sure there’s enough space between furniture, so you don’t feel cramped and things can breathe.

To make sure you’re on the right track, think about making a floor plan. It’s sort of like a treasure map but for moving items around your room. Create a simple floor plan before you start moving things around and save some energy. This way, you’ll have a clear idea of how to arrange everything to keep that traffic flowing smoothly before you do the heavy lifting.

a floor plan with traffic patterns-interior design mistakes
PAINT SWATCH

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INTERIOR DESIGN MISTAKE #7 – The television is the first thing you see

The TV Takes Center Stage… But Should It?  It’s tempting to let the TV steal all the attention, but sometimes it’s not the best star of the show. I know, I know.  We all love some TV time. But there’s more to your room’s story than just the TV!

You can hang the TV on the wall like a piece of art or place it on a stylish console. But remember your room’s like a puzzle, and the TV is just one piece. Place that TV in a convenient location but make sure it looks good too.  This way, it’s part of the scene, not the scene.

Decorate around it in a way that minimizes the TV like on shelves with your favorite books or a collection of plants. Or use a screen saver when you are not watching so it looks like art over your mantel. When you make the TV just a part of the fun, the room’s whole vibe gets a boost.

And hey, if you’re feeling really creative, you could even make a mini gallery around your TV, with artwork or photos that match your style. That way, the TV gets to be friends with the rest of your decor, instead of stealing the spotlight.

PAINT SWATCH

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Interior design mistakes - placing your tv in your room

INTERIOR DESIGN MISTAKE #8 – Too much clutter in the room

Less is More: It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking more furniture and decor mean a better-looking room, but it can have the opposite effect.

Picture your room as a cozy retreat, where you can breathe easily. Too much furniture and too many accessories can make it feel like you’ve invited the whole circus in! So, it’s time for a little decluttering magic.

Start by banishing anything that doesn’t really need to be there. Less is often more in this case. Keep the furniture pieces that serve a purpose and make you smile. If a piece can do double-duty, like a storage ottoman that’s also a comfy seat, it’s like getting two treats in one!

PAINT SWATCH

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Remember, your room needs space to show off its personality. Let each piece shine, instead of fighting for attention in a crowded room. Plus, when you have some breathing room, your space will feel bigger and brighter, and you’ll be able to move around without tripping over things.

Think of it as a little room makeover – clearing out the clutter and making space for the things that truly matter. So, give your room the gift of some well-deserved space, and you’ll see how a little less can make a whole lot of difference.

reduce clutter in your room

INTERIOR DESIGN MISTAKE #9 – Not using proper lighting

Insufficient or improperly placed light sources can negatively impact the atmosphere of a room and make the space feel drab.  Bad lighting can ruin a beautifully designed room.

Make sure you have a combination of general, task, accent, and natural light for the best overall effect in a room.  What are those you ask?

Think of general lighting as the friendly sun during the day or the full moon at night. It’s the soft glow that spreads across the room and makes everything feel cozy. You often find these lights in your home in the form of overhead fixtures like recessed lights on the ceiling or maybe even wall sconces.

Now, let’s bring in the task lighting – these are the trusty sidekicks that help you get things done. They can be table lamps or floor lamps by your favorite chair that shine a spotlight on your workspace or book. They give you the light you need where you need it to get things done.

Time for the accent lighting to step in! They’re like those little lights that make a painting look even more magical. Accent lighting will showcase a focal point and give the room interest. Use them to highlight your room’s showstoppers, like a beautiful piece of art or that stunning vase you love.

Finally, a touch of Mother Nature – natural light! If you’re lucky to have windows that let the sunshine in, embrace it. Natural light not only keeps things fresh but also adds that special touch that no light bulb can mimic.  Natural light will make a room feel alive.  

If you’ve ever wondered why some rooms can handle dark colors and others cannot…It’s natural light!

And the secret ingredient to set the mood – dimmers! Just like adjusting the volume of your favorite song, dimmers let you change the light levels. So whether you’re going for a cozy evening or an energizing morning, dimmers have your back.

By playing around with these different light types, your room becomes a true masterpiece, shining in all the right places and setting the mood for any occasion. Using all four layers of lighting will give your room a beautiful look and make it easy to read, cook, work, etc.

interior design mistakes - proper lighting in your room

INTERIOR DESIGN MISTAKE #10 – Accessories all the same height

Accessories at the same height can make a room appear flat and lack visual interest.

Mix things up with vases, candles, and decorative objects of different sizes, heights, and levels. This is like giving your room a burst of energy and depth.

Imagine arranging a few tall vases with some short candles and medium-sized decor pieces. By embracing this mix of heights, your decor gets a boost of personality and visual interest. Suddenly, your room isn’t just a flat surface; it’s like a whole world to explore. You’ll notice how your eyes dance around the room, discovering new things at every level. With different heights in the mix, your room becomes a lively and engaging space.

vary heights of your accessories

INTERIOR DESIGN MISTAKE #11 – Artwork hung too high or too low

Hanging artwork too high or too low can throw off the balance of a room.

When placing or hanging artwork it should be hung at eye level.  You say “Whose eye?”  It doesn’t really matter too much unless you are really, really tall or really, really short.  What you need to consider more is how you use the room!  

Place the artwork at a height that is appropriate for the use of the room.  For example, If it’s a hallway then your eye level is higher because you are standing while looking at the artwork.  If it’s a dining room then eye level is lower because you are sitting while enjoying it.

You will also use artwork as part of the whole picture. I like to place my artwork after I have placed all my furniture and accessories.  Then I can see what space I have available and use them to fill it in the blank spaces accordingly.  

Never hang your artwork before placing your furniture because it should relate directly to what is around it.

interior design mistakes - hanging artwork properly

INTERIOR DESIGN MISTAKE #12 – Window treatments hung wrong

Ill-fitted or poorly hung window treatments can detract from the overall aesthetic. It’s like putting on the wrong jewelry for an outfit. It can definitely take away from the whole look.

Time to give your windows the royal treatment they deserve! Just like finding the perfect pair of glasses that fit your face, you need to make sure your curtains or blinds are the right sizes for your windows.

No more too-short curtains that look like high-water pants!  Imagine long, flowy curtains that graze the floor or sleek blinds that kiss the bottom of the window sill.

And don’t forget about the height, as it adds a touch of elegance and polish to your room’s vibe. Try and hang your curtains as close to the ceiling as possible and have the inside edges of the curtains just inside the window moulding.  This will open up your windows and make them look larger and let in more light. Which is a win-win.

By getting the sizes and heights just right, your windows become a beautiful part of your room’s story. They frame the view outside and add a finished layer to the whole space. So, let your windows shine bright – it’s time for their grand curtain call!

hang window treatments properly

INTERIOR DESIGN MISTAKE #13 – No color scheme in the room

Not incorporating color into your decorating can leave your room feeling flat and lifeless. Using too many colors without a cohesive theme can create a chaotic and unbalanced environment. 

Let’s find the sweet spot! Choose colors that not only match the room’s purpose but also resonate with your personal style. By weaving these colors throughout your decor, you create a look that’s pleasing to the eye.

Now, if you’re not ready to paint your walls a bold color, there are other ways to sprinkle in color. Imagine a striking sofa in a vibrant shade, stealing the show in your living room (focal point).

Or hang a large, colorful piece of art and incorporate those colors into the rest of the room.  I like to use artwork and area rugs as my inspiration pieces to form a color scheme for the whole room.  

But if you’re into all white and bright with tiny pops of color, there’s something for you too. Gather a bunch of colored vases, candles, or dishes and arrange them like a bunch of confetti. Just make sure the colors are reflected somewhere else in the room so they make sense.

With just the right amount of color, your room transforms into a lively haven that’s both balanced and exciting. It’s like a piece of art that you step into, creating a space where you’ll love to hang out.

So, grab your paintbrush, and your favorite hues, and let’s bring your room to life!

Interior design mistakes - cohesive color scheme for your room
PAINT SWATCH

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INTERIOR DESIGN MISTAKE #14 – Furniture is the wrong scale

Furniture that is too large or too small for a room can disrupt the overall balance.

Furniture that is the right scale for your room size will create a well-balanced and inviting environment.

Measure your space carefully and choose furniture pieces that fit the proportions of the room. How do you know what is the right scale?  Barbie’s dream house.  

Remember playing with Barbies as a kid and the only items that would fit in a living room would be a sofa and maybe a console table?  Or the bedroom would be just big enough for a bed and maybe a dresser?  And everything else in the room was in a photo on the wall.  That’s because the furniture was the wrong scale.  

Everything you put into your room should be the right scale.  You should be able to fit everything you need in the room without crowding it or making it feel empty.  

In a large room, you will need larger scaled furniture such as bigger arms on the sofa or a large built-in on the wall.  

In a small room, you will need smaller scaled furniture such as furniture with exposed thin legs or a free-standing open bookcase. And if you have a small room, fewer items are better.  A lot of small items will make the room look even smaller.

choose the right furniture scale

INTERIOR DESIGN MISTAKE #15 – Not adding plants

Not incorporating greens into your decor will leave the room feeling dead.

You don’t have to have a green thumb in order to use plants to liven up your room.  Plants, even artificial ones, make a room come alive.  They are great for filling in empty spaces and they soften hard edges.

If you have a bare corner in your room then add a ficus tree or an olive tree.  It fills in the space and adds some life to the space.  

When you’ve finished placing your accessories, and you still have some blank areas that need a little something, add some greens.  They don’t even need to be in a pot or vase. Just tuck some fake branches in and around your accessories and watch them come to life.

By being aware of these most common mistakes and implementing the suggested solutions, you can create a beautiful and functional living space that you’ll be proud to call home. Take the time to plan your design, consider the room’s function and architectural details, and pay attention to lighting, furniture placement, and color schemes.

Interior design mistakes - add greens to your decorating

CONCLUSION:

With a thoughtful approach, and avoiding these common interior design mistakes, your home will become a reflection of your unique style and personality. Happy decorating!

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