9 Common Interior Design Mistakes to Avoid: Simple Tips for a Polished Home

As an interior design enthusiast, I’ve spent countless hours rearranging, decorating, and tweaking my living spaces to create harmonious and eye-catching environments. But honestly, it’s been a learning process, and I’ve made my fair share of mistakes along the way. I’ve come to realize that there are several common interior design mistakes that many people make, myself included, while trying to create their dream space.

Throughout my design journey, I’ve learned a lot from experts and my own trial and error. So, I thought it would be helpful to share my knowledge and experiences, so you can avoid making the same blunders. In this article, I will discuss 10 common interior design mistakes that you should avoid in order to create a well-designed and visually appealing space. By being aware of these pitfalls, you’ll be well on your way to designing a beautiful and functional environment that you’ll love living in.

Remember, nobody’s perfect, and even professional designers have made errors in their work. The important thing is to learn from our mistakes and use this knowledge to make better design choices in the future. So, let’s dive into these common design mistakes and explore how to prevent them from happening in your own home.

interior design mistakes

Choosing the Right Color Palette

One mistake I often see in interior design is when people choose the wrong color palette for their space. When I design a room, I try to avoid using too much of any one color.

I believe it’s essential to have a mix of dark, light, and bright colors in any space. This can make the room feel more balanced and comfortable. A helpful tip I’ve learned is to consider the color wheel and how different colors work together when picking a room’s palette. I like to keep in mind that warm colors are yellows to red-violets, while cooler colors are blues to greens, as mentioned on HGTV.

Another common mistake I see is trying to use equal amounts of two colors in a room. Instead, I let one hue be the dominant color and use the other as an accent. According to Bob Vila, this can help create a pleasing balance in the space.

In my experience, it’s also crucial to consider the effect of light on colors. As Apartment Therapy points out, the right light can make a color look vibrant, while poor lighting can make colors appear dingy or different than intended.

Lastly, I always consider the room’s function when choosing a color scheme. For example, if it’s a family living room, it’s essential to choose colors that create a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere, as advised by Homes and Gardens.

interior design mistakes

Proper Furniture Arrangement

One common interior design mistake that I’ve come across is improper furniture arrangement. In my experience, this can make a space feel chaotic and uninviting. To help you avoid this issue, let me share a few tips on getting the furniture arrangement right.

Firstly, consider the scale of your furniture in relation to the size of the room. Too much furniture or pieces that are too large can make a room feel cramped and crowded (source). On the other hand, furniture that’s too small can make a space feel empty and unbalanced. When selecting furniture, always make sure it complements the size of your room.

Next, pay attention to balance when arranging your furniture. Creating a lopsided space can make the room feel uninviting and awkward (source). To achieve balance, distribute your furniture evenly throughout the space. Remember, a room doesn’t have to be perfectly symmetrical, but it is important to find a sense of balance.

Lastly, be mindful of your furniture layout when it comes to creating conversation areas within your home. Ensure that seating is arranged in groups to facilitate easy communication between guests and allow them to leave comfortably without causing disruption (source). This consideration is particularly important in living rooms and other social spaces.

Balancing Scale and Proportion

As an interior designer, it’s crucial for me to consider the scale and proportion of the furniture and décor in a room. Scale is the size of objects in relation to each other, while proportion refers to their overall balance and harmony. I’ve seen rooms with mismatched sizes and proportions throw off the visual balance, making the space feel cramped or unappealing.

One critical aspect of getting scale and proportion right is making sure there’s a balance of different heights, as MYMOVE suggests. I try to imagine a room like a cityscape, with objects of varying heights creating visual interest. If everything is the same height or size, the result is monotonous and unappealing.

To avoid this mistake, I make sure to mix different sizes and heights of furniture and décor elements in the room. For example, if I have a large sofa, I might opt for a smaller, lower coffee table combined with taller accessories such as floor lamps, bookshelves or plants. This creates a sense of balance and makes the space more inviting, as pointed out by Foyr.

Sometimes, using a rule of thirds can help balance the scale and proportion. This principle involves dividing the room into thirds vertically and horizontally, placing the most important elements at the intersection of these divisions. This technique helps create a sense of harmony and balance, keeping everything in the right proportion.

interior design mistakes

Incorporating Focal Points

In my experience as an interior designer, one common mistake is mishandling focal points in a room. A focal point is an element that draws the eye and sets the tone for the entire space. When done correctly, it can create a visually stunning and cohesive design.

I’ve seen cases where people overdo focal points, leading to a cluttered and confusing space (Homenish). To avoid this, I suggest selecting a single central focal point, such as a large piece of furniture, artwork, or a rug. You can have secondary focal points, but be careful not to let them overshadow your main one.

I also recommend paying attention to scale and proportion when arranging your focal points. Mixing different sizes and levels can create a visually appealing cityscape-like effect in your design (MYMOVE). Here are some tips for working with focal points:

  • Be bold: Don’t hesitate to choose a statement piece as your focal point, such as a vibrant artwork or textured rug.
  • Balance: Offset your main focal point with smaller, complementary elements that bring harmony to the room.
  • Proper lighting: Ensure your focal point has its own lighting source to make it stand out (MYMOVE).

In summary, incorporating focal points effectively can elevate your interior design and make your space more visually appealing. Just be mindful of the balance between focal points, their scale, and the overall room layout. With these tips in mind, I’m confident that you’ll create stunning and well-balanced interior designs.

interior design mistakes

Understanding Room Functionality

When it comes to interior design, I believe it’s crucial to have a deep understanding of the room’s functionality. This allows me to create a space that not only looks great but also works efficiently for its intended purpose. Forgetting to consider the purpose of a room can lead to design choices that work against its function, making it less enjoyable to use.

For instance, if I’m designing a living room meant for entertainment and relaxation, I’ll make sure to incorporate comfortable seating, adequate lighting, and enough space for people to move around easily. If the room is intended for work or study, I’ll focus on ensuring there’s a proper workspace, storage solutions, and a layout that promotes focus and productivity.

It’s also essential to consider how the room will be used by different members of the household or guests. Will it be a multi-functional space serving various purposes, or will it cater to a specific need? It’s essential to keep this in mind while planning the design, as it allows me to make informed decisions regarding furniture, layout, and overall aesthetics to create a cohesive and functional space.

Moreover, understanding the room’s functionality helps me select the right materials and finishes for the design. Durable materials might be more suitable for high-traffic areas or spaces prone to spills, while more delicate fabrics and finishes can work well in rooms meant for relaxation or entertaining guests.

Combining Patterns and Textures

One mistake I often come across in interior design is the improper combination of patterns and textures. Mixing patterns and textures in a room can be challenging, but when done correctly, it can add depth, character, and a sense of comfort to a space.

First, it’s important to play with different sizes of patterns. As Foyr suggests, mixing patterns of the same size may result in a visually chaotic space. Using patterns of varying sizes creates balance and harmony in the room.

Next, I like to choose colors with similar hues and intensities, as The Spruce recommends. Avoid mixing pastel patterns with jewel-tone patterns, aim for colors that complement each other and maintain the overall theme of the room.

Lastly, don’t forget to balance patterns with solid colors, and don’t overcrowd the space. For instance, if you have a patterned rug, balance it with solid-colored furniture or walls. Texture is also essential; combining varying textures, such as smooth and rough surfaces, adds interest and depth to the space, but should be used thoughtfully.

Avoiding Clutter

As an interior design enthusiast, I’ve found that one of the most common mistakes people make when designing their living spaces is allowing clutter to accumulate. Clutter can make a room feel disordered and chaotic, which is the opposite of the calm, serene environment we want in our homes.

To prevent this from happening, I’ve discovered a few effective strategies. First, it’s crucial to have ample storage space where items can be put away when not in use. Consider utilizing seasonal swaps for items like holiday decorations and weather-specific equipment, so they’re not taking up valuable space all year round.

When it comes to decor, less is often more. Mixing the scale of your decorations and furniture can make a significant difference in the feel of the room. To avoid a cluttered look, avoid using too many small items, and be cautious of overloading a room with bulky pieces. Finding the right balance in scale can help the room feel more harmonious and well-designed.

Another way to reduce clutter is to be mindful of the items in your room. Regularly assess your belongings and ask yourself if each item adds value or serves a purpose. As we develop and evolve, our tastes and needs change. It’s essential to let go of items that no longer fit our current lifestyle, even if they once did.

In summary, avoiding clutter in interior design is essential for creating a calm and inviting space. By focusing on proper storage, finding the right balance in scale, and continuously reassessing your belongings, you can create a beautifully designed and clutter-free home.

interior design mistakes

Lighting Design

One of the most common interior design mistakes I’ve noticed is not providing enough light in a space. This can result in a dim and uninviting atmosphere, making it difficult to perform tasks effectively. To fix this issue, I recommend creating a well-thought-out lighting plan that takes into consideration the room’s functionality, as well as the aesthetics of the space.

I’ve also noticed that another common mistake is to ignore the ceiling height when designing lighting for a room. The height of the ceiling has a significant impact on how the space is lit. For example, if the ceiling is high, it’s crucial to use suitable light fixtures that can distribute light evenly across the room. Conversely, if the ceiling is low, it’s crucial to avoid using overly bright or large light fixtures that can overwhelm the space.

Another common lighting mistake I’ve come across is the overuse of recessed lighting. While recessed lights are a popular choice, using too many of them can make a living room feel like a lobby or a hallway resemble a runway. To avoid this problem, I suggest assessing the room’s lighting needs and mixing various types of light fixtures such as floor lamps, table lamps, and wall sconces to create a balanced and inviting atmosphere.

The last but not least common mistake I want to mention is ignoring the importance of layered lighting. Creating layers of lighting using ambient, task, and accent lighting can drastically improve the overall feel and functionality of a space. Remember that each layer of lighting serves a unique purpose, and combining them effectively can create a visually appealing and functional room.

Investing in Quality

As an interior designer, I’ve seen countless clients make the mistake of penny-pinching when it comes to their home furnishings. I understand that everyone is on a budget, but believe me when I say that investing in quality pieces pays off in the long run.

One common mistake is opting for lots of small, inexpensive furniture items to fill up a space, rather than investing in a high-impact centerpiece like a great sofa or a stunning piece of art MyDomaine. When you invest in quality, not only do those statement pieces tend to last longer, they also elevate the entire room’s aesthetic.

You might be surprised to hear that investing in quality doesn’t always mean breaking the bank. Look for timeless designs made with high-quality materials. A well-built piece will not only withstand the test of time but also seamlessly blend into various design styles throughout the years.

Consider the functionality of the pieces you invest in as well. A modular sofa, for example, can be rearranged to fit different spatial requirements, while multifunctional furniture, like a storage ottoman, can serve multiple purposes while still looking chic.

So, remember that when it comes to interior design, sometimes it’s better to save up for that perfect piece instead of cluttering your space with subpar items. By investing in quality, you’ll create a space that’s not only beautiful but also functional and long-lasting.