9 INTERIOR DESIGN MISTAKES I SEE OVER AND OVER AGAIN

May 8, 2021 | Design, DIY, Living Spaces | 12 comments

Today I talk about the most common interior design mistakes I see people make and how to address them so your home doesn’t fall flat.

 

I know I’m all about not following the rules…it’s even in the name…but unfortunately there are some things that can make or break your space and those may just be the things that are keeping you from loving your home.

This list is from actual interior design mistakes I have witnessed first-hand, more than a couple times, and tend to be the things that I have to address in the spaces I’m redesigning.

So let’s dive in shall we?

 

INTERIOR DESIGN MISTAKE #1: GREY, ON GREY, ON MORE GREY

OK, this one might hit some hot spots. But hear me out. I understand that you may have put off updating your home for some time, and you know grey is very popular, so you go for it. Not giving too much thought into anything other than finally getting rid of all the earthy tones in your home. Thank you early 2000’s!

Interior Design Mistakes - living room

Don’t get me wrong, I love me some warm greys…my own home is painted Sherwin Williams Anew Grey. I don’t have a problem with grey. Where the problem lies is when you paint all the walls in your home the next biggest color of grey, and then update your cherry floors with rustic grey wood and then accessorizing with yet, more grey.

Interior Design Mistakes - kitchen

I know I am picking on grey here, but you can insert any color. Too much of one color is well, too much.

Just stop the madness. Which leads me to…

 

INTERIOR DESIGN MISTAKE #2: NOT ADDING CONTRAST

Let’s stay with the updated grey example we started with in #1.

If you update your walls to a beautiful new grey, then contrast that grey with a brown wood tone in the floors. It can be light, medium or dark tones of wood, depending on the shade of the grey you selected.

Interior Design Mistakes - living room

By doing this, you are building in much needed contrast into the bones of your room and will ultimately result in a much more pleasing space that will allow you so many decorating options moving forward.

Interior Design Mistakes - kitchen - dining room

Source: Kate Marker Interiors

Same goes for your décor. See Interior design mistake #7.

 

INTERIOR DESIGN MISTAKE #3: NOT THINKING ABOUT CLASSIC PIECES

I know not everyone wants a traditional home…that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about making sure the major pieces in your home are classic in design. No matter what is trending, if you keep to classic design on your big pieces, like sofas…and especially in your homes finishes, then your home will with stand the test of time. Use trendy pieces as accents

Interior Design Mistakes - master bathroom - white bathroom

You can see more examples of classic bathroom combos here. And more on the master bathroom remodel here.

I don’t think a home is ever really finished. They’re constantly evolving. So when the major elements are classic you can update as you like to keep things looking fresh. And not spend a fortune updating high cost elements!

Interior Design Mistakes

INTERIOR DESIGN MISTAKE #4: JUMPING ON THE TREND WAGON AND NOT KNOWING WHEN TO JUMP OFF

Trends in design. They are somewhat of my nemesis. Trends innately are fine. I know I jump on that wagon often, but what becomes a problem is when you try to incorporate a major trend, like shiplap for instance, and it never ends. It’s like an explosion of shiplap all over your home.

Now if you live in a farm house, then by all means.

But most of us don’t live in a farm house and should consider such trends in moderation.

Like how I added a faux shiplap wall using a Sharpie paint pin in my entry because I knew shiplap wasn’t going to be the cool cat in town forever.

Interior Design Mistakes - living room - shiplap

Or how I added shiplap to the ceiling in our home office. I wanted a statement ceiling and shiplap on the ceiling is a classic design element.

Interior Design Mistakes - home office - shiplap

You can see more on our home office here.

And for the love of all things holy…stop with all the barn doors! Sorry. I needed to get that off my chest. Again, moderation…only when it makes sense.

I’ve been helping a friend with her home on and off for a few years. I was installing a gallery wall on to her huge barn door wall last year and snapped this pic. This here is a barn door done right.

Interior Design Mistakes - living room - barn door

INTERIOR DESIGN MISTAKE #5: PAINTING YOUR ENTIRE HOME THE SAME COLOR

This one can be tricky, especially with modern floorplans being open concept. It can be difficult to see where to change colors.

Color changes do not need to be huge and in some cases it’s fine to keep to the same color because there’s no real stopping point. But you need break up the color with other elements. My favorite way to do this is with trim work and wallpaper.

Interior Design Mistakes - bedroom - wallpaper - wainscoting
Interior Design Mistakes - hallway - wainscoting

INTERIOR DESIGN MISTAKE #6: NOT ADDING TEXTURE AND PATTERN

Do not miss this point. Take the time to add visual texture and pattern to your space by thoughtfully layering in varying elements.

Examples of Hard Texture: wood, metals, stone, brick
Examples of Soft Texture: pillows, curtains, blankets, rugs, plants
Examples of Rough Texture:  concrete, brick, stone, rattan, grass cloth, baskets
Examples of Smooth Texture: glass, satin, metals

Think of it this way…

Linen sofa (soft) + burl wood coffee table (hard)+ black and gold accents (smooth)

Interior Design Mistakes - Design Inspiration

INTERIOR DESIGN MISTAKE #7: EVERYTHING IS ALL MATCHY, MATCHY

A space that feels collected over time will have much more visual interest. And visual interest is what makes a room feel welcoming.

The number one way to avoid a matchy, matchy room is to NOT BUY SETS. Step away from the sets and their perceived deal and ease.

 Matching nightstands? Ok.

Interior Design Mistakes - master bedroom - nightstands

Source: Lonny

Matching nightstands, bedframe, dresser? A big NO.

Interior Design Mistakes - master bedroom

I was trying to find an example that most people reading this would not likely have. I feel pretty confident about this one…fingers crossed.

Instead, purchase pieces that either complement each other or play with contrast. I find it easiest to get a collected feel by purchasing items from different stores.

 

INTERIOR DESIGN MISTAKE #8: OVERUSE OF OVERHEAD LIGHTING

There are places for overhead lighting, mainly kitchens and bathrooms. However, you don’t need overhead lighting in most rooms. 

Ambient lighting is where it’s at – mainly sconces and lamps

Interior Design Mistakes - table lamp - vase

I much prefer table and floor lamps to overhead lighting. They are softer and you are able to control the mood so much more with the use of dimmers and timers.

Most rooms need at least 3-4 lamps. So look around those rooms and see where you are missing light and add those lamps.

 

INTERIOR DESIGN MISTAKE #9: USING PIECES THAT ARE TOO SMALL IN SCALE

Scale is huge and essential to keeping a space from feeling too cluttered…unless that is the look you are going for. Generally, bigger is better.

I much prefer one larger design element than many tiny little ones.

Most people go a little too small on scale, so if you can go bigger, then go bigger.

 

Oh goodness…did I lose you in all that? I sure hope not. Take these tips and scan your spaces and see where you can improve. And if you need help, well then please, just contact me. You can do that here.

 

12 Comments

  1. Lisa A Peck

    What a great guide of what to avoid in your home decorating. I agree with you on every point.

    Reply
  2. Mary Ann Benoit

    Great tips! And, I love your Sharpie Shiplap! Genius.

    Reply
  3. Christie

    Your comment about the photo of the bedroom set made me smile! Step away from the sets for sure!! I love how you incorporated the shiplap ceiling in your office and in your foyer with a sharpie- brilliant!!!

    Reply
    • Amie Druehl

      HA! I’m glad it made you smile!

      Reply
  4. Janet Lorusso

    Totally spot on, Amie! We have seen ALL of these, many times and it is a great primer on decorating mistakes to avoid! And I think (hope!) you succeeded with the bedroom set “don’t” picture in finding one no one reading this has LOL!

    Reply
    • Amie Druehl

      LOL! I hope I avoided offended anyone too:)

      Reply
  5. Anne

    This post is spot ON! Starting with making everything gray-oh, make it stop! Oh well, that one alone will keep people calling designers for years. LOL!

    Reply
  6. Heather

    I couldn’t agree more! Love this article!

    Reply
    • Amie Druehl

      Thank you! It’s all so true. But hopefully it helps people know what they need to do for themselves or with the help of a designer:)

      Reply

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Hi there! I'm Amie.

I’m an interior decorator, blogger and enthusiastic DIYer.  I help turn uncertainty into confident curation, breaking through preconceived rules of design to create a home you will love.

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