common design mistakes and how to avoid them

Common Design Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

Not everyone has training in interior design but most people decorate their own homes — and everyone makes mistakes. 

It’s inevitable. You find things and think they’ll be great in the living room, and you bring them home without any plan or idea of what’s would be the right addition. 

On the surface, decorating your home is about what you like. Beyond that, however, there are elements of design like colour, scale, lighting and placement that should be taken into consideration in any space. 

They all affect how the space will look. Given the considerations, almost everyone makes at least one of these most common decorating mistakes:

The desire for a new look hits and before you know it, your Pinterest board is bursting with ideas, your online cart is full, and your finger is hovering over the “buy now” button. This is actually the last thing you want to do. 

When redecorating – or even rearranging – a room, it’s important to step back and assess the space first. 

Think about how you use the space, what is wrong with the room, the challenges in updating it and what your goals are. Every room has its own issues and size constraints. Making sketches on paper, collecting samples and creating lists are good tactics for planning.

How To Avoid These Interior Design Mistakes

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Between selecting furniture, experimenting with paint swatches, and positioning art, there are hundreds of small decisions that go into styling the perfect space. 

Even the slightest misjudgment, like hanging artwork too high or choosing paint in a gloss rather than a matte finish, can have a surprising effect on a room.

Few know this better than interior designers, who have seen their fair share of fabulous (and, yes, mediocre) homes. We called on 11 leading tastemakers to learn about the most common home décor mistakes and how to fix them.


Starting a new home design project can be an exciting time for anyone ready for a change in decor. However, our interior designers have found that clients sometimes get lost in their eagerness and simply forget to budget for the project at all. 

Before your project is underway you should have a pretty clear idea of how much everything will cost. Plus no need to rush and buy more than you can afford at the moment, great decor spaces are curated over time.


While it is very common to see a piece at a showroom and fall in love with it, this tends to lead to a huge and costly home decor mistake. 

Interior decorators emphasize the importance of measuring everything, especially when buying furniture online. Many people realize too late that their favorite lounge chair is far too small or low compared with their sofa. Make sure to measure all the pieces, before making this costly mistake.

Painting Before Buying Furniture

Picking out colours and painting your walls before purchasing anything is a common design mistake that can be avoided. 

Our interior decorators want everyone out there with a home decoration project to know it is much easier to pick a wall colour that will complement furnishings, rather than the other way round. If you really want to incorporate a certain colour, try finding larger furniture pieces in that shade.

Matching Different Styles

When renovating or simply refreshing your home it is easy to feel invested in only one theme. While coordinating pieces will add cohesiveness to any living space, an interior mistake to avoid is overmatching. Rooms with no contrast come off boring and lack personality. Decorators say avoid one-stop shopping in order to steer clear of overmatching.

Contrasting Elements

Just like extreme matching is a big interior decoration mistake, a room where every item contrast is a mistake you should avoid in every room. Rooms with pieces that don’t coordinate come off as eyesores and seem to have a lack of cohesiveness. A great design tip is to have a balance of pieces that match and contrast each other.

Furniture Elevation

Like many facets of a beautifully designed space, the furniture in a room should be various heights and sizes, elevated in multiple ways throughout the room. 

Think of your favorite cityscape, then imagine how unattractive it would become if every building stood at the same height. Art, window treatments and furniture should all be elevated, even just slightly.

Including Only Masculine Or Feminine Pieces

Decor Aid designers have found that clients avoid certain styles or colours assuming it will make a room too masculine or too feminine, especially in personal spaces like bathrooms or bedrooms. 

If you’re looking to make a space more masculine this does not equate to only using darker shades and vice versa for more feminine spaces. Again this is a common mistake that can easily be avoided once a balance of lights and darks are introduced into the room.

Placing Your Artwork High

Incorporating art into your home is a great way to show off personality and style. Placement of art, however, is where homeowners make a big design mistake. 

Either placing the art too high or low will create a disturbance of the rooms flow. Each piece you hang should sit together with the furniture. An easy rule to help avoid this decorating mistake is to keep art only eight to ten inches higher than furniture.

Pushing Furniture Up Against A Wall

Pushing furniture up against a wall is a decor mistake that is natural to make. Depending on the layout of the room there may not be a way around this, but If you can, you should avoid it. 

In reality, furniture that is placed up against the walls of any room does not aid in saving space or creating the illusion of a larger room. Designers suggest centering your pieces and pulling items closer together to create a flow that doesn’t box anyone in.

Falling Victim To New Trends

Design trends are useful when seeing how other people are styling their homes and can provide great inspiration. Since trends are constantly changing so a big mistake is decking your house with all the latest trends. 

You’ll end up spending a lot just for a whole room of pieces that will be outdated in a few months. Instead, interior designers say that you should opt for pieces timeless decor items and most importantly, you should pick furniture that fits your personal style.

Your Living Room As A Showroom

Just like with following current design trends, decor showrooms are a great starting place to get inspired and pick up ideas. However interior decorators see clients turn their living spaces into showrooms. 

You can avoid this mistake by picking out stylish pieces that have everyday functionality. Another huge take away for home decor projects is to gravitate towards pieces you can live with for awhile.

Too Many Objects

Like other aspects of a well-decorated room, your accessories should be balanced, not too little or too many. 

It is easy to over accessorize a room that you think needs more to it. Your accessories will help bring personality but too many create a disturbance in the flow and will come off as chaotic. Keep accessories organized and decide which can be stored away for next season.

Exposed Cords

Televisions, media players, and various other electronics help entertain guest. However dangling cords and wires are not only a fire hazard but extremely unappealing. Although many make this decor mistake it is an easy thing to fix. 

Drilling a hole into media consoles will hide exposed cords but isn’t always necessary. An affordable design trend is to opt to use cord covers or organizers. These will easily hide away any cords and wires for a seamless look to your entertainment areas.

Reasons To Hire An Interior Designer

Why do we think it’s a good idea to hire an interior designer? One of our core beliefs at Kathy Kuo Home is that everyone deserves to live in an incredible space that brings you comfort and joy.

Your space should not only look amazing, but it should be a reflection of your personality and style, and it should function in a way that works with how you live your life. It might sound impossible, and that’s because incredible interior design does

To Hire An Interior Designer: You’re Going To Save Money.

Ever bought a piece of furniture that looked so good in the store, but was too big once you got it home? Ever painted three or four times trying to find the right colour palette? 

It may seem like like an oxymoron because you’re going to have to pay the additional designer’s fee, but the truth is that hiring a designer can help you avoid costly mistakes and help you make design decisions that will increase the value of your home.

And if you’re on a tight budget, a designer is going to know how to get the best value out of what you can spend. An experienced designer is used to working on a line item budget and will help you understand where every penny is going.

To Hire An Interior Designer: You’re Going To Save Time.

We’d figure to start off with the two things most people wish they could have more of: time and money. 

Just like hiring a designer will benefit you financially, a designer will also save you on time. A designer already has a trained sense of what needs to be done and when it needs to be done, and they’ll be able to anticipate any obstacles that may come up.

To Hire An Interior Designer: You’re Going To Get Professional Assessment.

When you hire a trained designer, you get an immediate plan of action for your space. Professional interior designers went to school and had several apprenticeships to do what they do.

A trained pair of eyes will see things you’re guaranteed to miss. Interior design is a delicate balance of art and science, and good interior designers have studied both, so they know how to put them together. If you want to learn more about what makes an interior designer an interior designer, read our article on it here.

To Hire An Interior Designer: You’re Going To Have A Qualified Liaison.

A good designer will know how to speak the language when it comes to architects, contractors, and building owners. This is crucial in managing time and money. Strong communication between the interior design and the lighting, furnishing, and architecture is absolutely key.

For example, proper outlet placement is going to depend on how you want your furniture placed. These types of issues should be addressed before any construction, and an interior designer will know exactly which issues need to be brought up.

To Hire An Interior Designer: You’re Going To Have Better Resources And Contacts.

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Everyone knows it’s difficult to find good resources. But designers already work in the world of home improvement, so they’re going to have reliable connections that you may need. Hiring a designer will help you easily find an electrician, plumber, and/or contractor that you can trust. 

You get all the benefits of a professional with a design education–designers and decorators understand how to create a functional space that is also stylish. 

Plus interior designers often work closely with architects, interior design firms, interior decorators, and more, all whom have formal training. 

Designers also have access to tons of product and fabric that is not available to the general public. With these resources, an interior designer will create a space for you that looks collected and unique (instead of the big box retailer stuff everyone has in their home).

To Hire An Interior Designer: You’re Going To Have A Wow Factor.

Interior designers are trained to think creatively and spatially and learn to see an overall picture in an interior space that clients often cannot. Thinking outside of the box when it comes to home decor is what designers do on the regular. 

Not only will you get a good design sense, but you’ll also get an attention to detail from proper lighting and furniture placement to fabric choices and colour palette and fixture options. 

A professional interior designer will create and interior that is custom-designed pieces to make sure everything fits perfectly and is truly special to your home. 

Designers can also get you furniture, fabric, and materials that are trade-only and not accessible to everyone else. 

People notice a well-designed home. Try to do it by yourself, and you’re stuck juggling the many elements that go into designing that a designer is specifically trained to do so and has the space planning know-how and essential design tools. And when they’re done, not only will your home look beautiful and cohesive, but it’ll be well thought out and highly functional.

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