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10 Common Interior Design Mistakes and How to Fix Them

What’s harder than getting the Wordle right on the first try?

Interior design, for starters.

We all end up having to make design choices about the spaces we live in. But that kind of thinking—incorporating proportion, balance, practicality, and beauty—it doesn’t come naturally to many of us. That’s why design mistakes are so common. But we’re here to prevent you from making the ten most common design mistakes. And we’ll suggest what to do instead

Furniture that’s too small

One of the biggest mistakes in interior design is overlooking scale and proportion. Furniture that is too large or too small for a room can throw off the balance and make the space feel awkward. To fix this, think about each space holistically and incorporate shapes and styles that are different from each other. Have a small sofa in the living room? It’s okay to have a chunkier sideboard or coffee table.

Poor lighting choices

Bad lighting can make even the most beautifully decorated room feel awkward. To remedy this, aim for a layered lighting scheme that includes ambient, task, and accent lighting. Incorporate a mix of overhead fixtures, table lamps, and wall sconces.

Defaulting to neutrals

Color sets the mood and tone of a room, yet many people shy away from color for fear of making a mistake. While neutral colors can create a timeless backdrop, they can also be…let’s just say it…boring. There are plenty of ways to incorporate color into a space with elegance and taste. Besides just painting the walls in color, you can incorporate colorful throw pillows, blankets, or other accessories. One underrated place to amp up color? Your trim and baseboards. Adding color to these smaller accent pieces is quick, easy, and instantly energizes any room.

Visible clutter

A cluttered room not only looks chaotic—it also makes our spaces less functional and less relaxing. Combat clutter by implementing smart storage solutions such as built-in shelving, multipurpose furniture, and decorative baskets or bins. Notice what “zones” of the house end up getting cluttered—usually by the door or entryway, bathroom and kitchen counters, and kitchen tables. The key isn’t to magically get your entire family to stop leaving their shoes by the door. Instead, come up with ways to organize your clutter in those zones of the home. Trays, catch-all dishes, and wall hooks are all ways to add more order without trying to overhaul your habits. Shy away from too much open shelving if you’re prone to clutter, or else you’ll end up with shelves that are full of random bits and bobs. Regular decluttering sessions can also help keep your space tidy and organized.

Storage doesn't have to be purely utilitarian. 

Artwork that’s too high

Artwork should be hung at eye level, typically centered around 60 inches from the floor, to create visual harmony and balance. Many people place it too high. The best way to avoid this? Have someone stand back and help you hang the artwork. Additionally, consider the scale of the artwork in relation to the available wall space. You may need to hang it higher or lower than 60 inches based on the context.

Lighting that’s placed too high or too low

Pendant lights and chandeliers add great ambiance to any space. But if they’re placed too high or too low—especially when it comes to kitchen and dining areas—it can create lighting that’s too harsh or too dim.

Pendant lights done right. 

Furniture pushed against walls

Placing all furniture against the walls can make a room feel disjointed and uninviting. Instead, try floating furniture arrangements away from walls to create a space with flowing energy.

Furniture that’s too same-y

We’re all for cohesion and a defined aesthetic. But that doesn’t mean that your furniture should look like you bought all of it from the same place. When your home is giving “showroom,” it’s time to mix it up a little.

Neglecting the power of accessories

Accessories are the finishing touches that bring your personality into a space. Artwork, throw pillows, vases, and other mementos tell the story of who you are. And they’re the difference between your house just being a house, and feeling like a home.

Area rugs that are too small

This last mistake is devastatingly common. But nothing throws off the proportions of a space like an area rug that’s too small. This is true even it’s in a small room. You want the rug to be large enough to define a specific zone within a space.

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