With so many interior design options, we really are spoiled for choice – but this can bring with it a whole set of new problems. The more choice we have, the more scope there is for making design mistakes. Here are some of the most common interior design mistakes that you should be avoiding.
1. Too much furniture
If you have more furniture than things to fill them with, or can’t move around the room without bumping into a seat, you may well have over-furnished your room. A room cramped with furniture feels imprisoning and prevents people from moving about freely.
2. Poor quality furniture
Following on from the above, it is better to have a few pieces of high quality furniture and accessories than to have an abundance of goods that are of questionable quality. This will ensure that you have a room with a set up that could potentially last a lifetime.
3. Over- or under-sized furnishings and/or appliances
A huge television does not usually suit a small room and can draw focus away from other important focal points. As with having too much furniture, a big sofa in a small room will make movement more difficult, while small furniture in a large room is a bad idea as it can make you feel like you’re trapped inside an episode of Land of the Giants. Scale is everything, so a good understanding of the dimensions of the room and its furniture is of utmost importance.
4. Getting the light right
Lighting is an extremely important part of getting a room’s design right – it can either hide or bring out the best features of a space depending on where and how bright it is. Careful consideration should be given to the placement and intensity of lighting systems – dimmer switches for instance let you vary the amount of light in a room. And then there’s natural light, which any room should always be making the most of. One easy way to accentuate a room’s natural light is to place a mirror on the wall facing a window – this allows light to bounce around the room.
There is such a thing as having too many accessories in a room, but there is also such a thing as having too few. Getting the balance just right is difficult for even some of the best interior designers. Although the “less is more” mantra is laudable, it can be far too simplistic a formula, particularly if you want to avoid a sterile feeling in a room. A warm, inviting environment that is clutter-free is ideal (and less stressful).
The colour of your walls is perhaps the most important thing to consider when designing a room. Too bright, and the colours can overwhelm you; too dark, and the colours can depress you. If in doubt, choose a neutral colour that goes with your furniture, and use rugs, throws and other accessories to add that splash of colour.
7. Not making a room functional
Sectioning a room according to function is especially useful for large living rooms, but can be a good way of getting the most out of small rooms as well. For example, spacing out your seating over a large area and against the walls can make the room seem sparse and ‘anti-social’. Rather, it is better to keep several sofas close together to facilitate conversation and use other areas of the room for activities such as dining, working or studying. Sectioning in this way gives the room a natural ‘guideline’.
8. Not showing off the best feature of the room
Do you have a fireplace, an interesting piece of art or a nice view through the window? Use these as the building blocks for the way a room is organised. Draw attention to the best thing(s) about the room.
9. Not sticking to a style
Going for a neoclassical or Eastern-influenced look? Then keep the look consistent and pick furnishings that stay within your design rubric. Yes, a mishmash of different styles can sometimes produce good results, but more often than not it can make the room seem like a jumble sale. Those wishing to create a fusion have to be extra discerning with the furniture they pick.
10. Budgeting and planning
Planning can help prevent impulse buying and ensures that the furnishings you buy actually coordinate with your room. Budgeting is equally as important – there’s nothing worse than a room that’s half-finished due to cash restraints.
11. Not asking others their opinion
You’ve been working tirelessly on designing your room(s), but if there’s one thing a pair of tired eyes needs, it’s a pair of fresh eyes that can take an objective look at your design. Don’t be afraid to ask another person, professional or otherwise, their opinion. They may well see design opportunities that you can’t.