Interior Designers Reveal the Most Common Design Mistakes by Redfin

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Written and given permission to repost by from Redfin.

When it comes to designing a beautiful home, there are many little things that need to come together to create the perfect space. From choosing a paint color, taking home trends into consideration, and making sure your furniture is to scale, the process can sometimes be overwhelming. So, we turned to the pros and asked them to share their tips and advice with us on the most common home design mistakes they see homeowners make and how to avoid them.

Choosing paint color first

Homeowners often select paint color first. Paint should always be selected last as paint should match the room and not the other way around. Also, there are endless paint color options to choose from. You should select your largest or most expensive items in the room first and then select a paint color to complement those items. -Gray Space Interior Design

Incorrect use of lighting

There is often too much, or not enough lighting in a home. Both are easy fixes. If you have a lot of pot-lights, simply put them all on dimmers. If you don’t have enough lights, think about adding some of these around your space - floor lamps, table lamps, reading lights, salt lamps, and even candles.”-Toronto Designers

Wall art is hung at the wrong height

I think it drives every designer crazy to come into a room and find that art has been hung at the wrong height. If a painting has been hung too high, it will have no relationship to whatever is below it, be it a table, or sofa, or nothing at all. If you have to look up or down at your artwork, then it's not at the optimal viewing height. The exception to this rule is if you are doing an artistic presentation or gallery wall where the emphasis might be on the unusual. To fix this, measure up 57" from the ground and that should be about the middle of the artwork. If you have a tall family, then maybe cheat it a bit to make everyone in your home feel welcome. This little change will make a big difference in how you view the world of art in your home. -Mandeville Canyon Designs

Not considering scale and proportion

It's easy to fall in love with something for your home, particularly when shopping online, but size matters. Make sure to check the dimensions when purchasing an item against the measurements of where it will be used. Don't end up with a media console that's smaller than your TV. -Srote & Co Architects

Avoiding color

When you are thinking of a way to refresh your space, don’t look up the new color trends, turn to yourself instead. What makes you smile? What lifts your spirit? If it’s a bright sunshine yellow or if it’s softer ethereal purple shades, go for it. You’ll never be sorry! So you ask where to start? Start today. Find that perfect shade of blue in your wardrobe and wallpaper your headboard wall with that color. Find a happy pillow if you are a pop-art loving color fan. Or if your spirit is calling for those celestial shades, channel your inner yogi and paint your walls a rose quartz crystal shade. Pack away the safe neutral blah and add color to your life right now. -Lucy Interior Design 

Not picturing the entire home first

Homeowners tend to use paint as the main source of decorating. There is more to decorating than just a paint color.  To create a well-designed room, there are many elements that all need to play nicely with one another. The color on the wall doesn't need to be a statement, it is how that color pairs with the rug, window treatments, ceiling color, furniture, etc. A thoughtful and well-designed home has many layers. -Diana Weinstein, DW Designs

Settling for things you don't love

Don't settle, small changes are what will make your home your own. Invest in elements that you truly love, sometimes it's as simple as changing the backsplash in your kitchen or changing a light fixture. These personal touches are what will make your home truly personal and exquisite. -Ami McKay, PURE design

Undersizing rugs

Area Rugs are exceptional design statements in any space, but homeowners often undersize their rugs.  Dining room rugs should be large enough to hold the chairs when they’re pulled out from the table so guests can easily sit down or get up from the table without catching the legs of the chair on the edge of the rug.  Living room rugs should always be sized so that they extend under the furniture grouping.  The length of the rug should extend to the far end of the side tables and the width of the rug should extend to any occasional chairs.  This will encompass the seating area and create a cozy conversation area within the larger space. Area rugs are an investment that will enrich your interior space for years if you choose the size to fit the space. -Sibrava & Associates, Interior Concepts

Not using the rule of thirds on tile joints

Always use the rule of thirds when laying out tile joints. It is a common mistake to stagger rectangular tiles by 1/2 in a running bond installation. However, the 1/3 rule is more aesthetically pleasing and it also minimizes the lip overhang which increases the stability of the tile. -Mary Gilmore, Campo Architects

Buying everything "new"

It's all too common to walk into someone's home and see they bought everything from a popular big box store. And while the pieces are fun and trendy, it tells the story of that store's design trend instead of telling the story of your own home. Instead, take the opportunity to incorporate an antique piece someone's grandmother brought by wagon, a unique Craiglist find you had to borrow your boyfriend's truck for, or an original piece from an artist who lives in your community. Your home should be about the people in it and the stories they created - not the "stuff." -Kind Interior Design

Too many small or same sized accessories

Vary the size of your accessories to have perhaps one larger piece, mixed with a medium-size piece and then something smaller. It gives your eyes room to wander instead of having everything be the same size. -Virginia B. Interior Design

Treating lighting as an afterthought

From a builder's perspective, one common design/decor mistake homeowners often make is treating light fixtures as an afterthought. Investing just a little more in your dining room chandelier, kitchen pendants, vanity lights, and entry light fixtures will be that added piece of 'jewelry' to your new home- and a fun way to make a statement in multiple spaces. - Austrie M., St. George Design Studio Manager, Visionary Homes

Impulse Buying

A lot of times homeowners think, “oh I just have to have that sofa” and many times I’ll get called into a new job after a client was out impulse shopping and just had to purchase the sofa, fast forward to delivery day, oops it doesn't fit. Here’s my “3 M’s: I call them Adorns’ golden rules, measure, measure, measure. The things you need to make sure to measure are the width from arm to arm, the height of the back of the highest point. (So it fits through the door), and depth, the most important one to gauge comfort level. -Shelly Amato, Adorn Design Group

Leaving walls in their home blank

People tend to be a little gun-shy about buying art, not knowing what to buy, or feeling that they don't have the budget for it.  But interesting pieces come in all shapes and sizes and at all price points.  Fabulous art can be found at galleries and art shows including the student/faculty shows of local art schools. Sometimes it's just a matter of reframing things and finding the perfect spot.  Art adds character, warmth, and personality and makes the space uniquely yours. -Debby Katz Interiors

Sticking to what is said to be trendy

In-home design people often follow trends instead of designing a home that truly connects with who they are. We see so many homes that are bland and lack personality all because the homeowner wants to stick to the "it" color or look of the moment. While we do think it's important to add attractive and resalable touches to any home update, it's more important that the existing homeowners love the home for themselves. Worrying less about what's trending and more about what makes you feel safe, happy, and in love with your home is the way to go.  -Three Luxe Nine Interiors


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