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Avoid These Common Interior Design Mistakes

1. Scale. When your rug is too small and all your big furniture floats around it, the room will feel awkward. Or If you have a small bedroom and pair a king bed with tiny nightstands, the space will be uneven. Scale is crucial in making a space feel good.

This rug is too small, and it's also floating in the middle of nowhere. It needs to at least be moved closer to the sofa to anchor the space.

2. Mounting heights are wrong. Pictures are hung too high and seem to be floating in space. A good rule of thumb is the center of the picture should be 5’ on center or mounted 8-12” above furniture. This definitely can change based on art size or configuration- but a good starting point. Another issue is when a light is hanging too high or too low above a dining table (should be around 36” above the table top with an 8' -9' ceiling). You want it to light where it is intended, not dangle inches from the ceiling or graze your head.

This artwork is mounted way too high and although it's a fun compilation of pieces, it just doesn't look connected.

At first glance, cool interior...closer look: the lights are at everyone's head- they should be mounted about 6" higher. The tv is WAY too high- it should be centered on the perfectly mounted white board. The rug is the right scale though!

3. Paint color. This is incredibly subjective- but colors can skew in strange directions. It’s important to watch the paint on your walls at different times of day and night but also in your finished lighting. Gray can look purple and white can read yellow. Quick hack: You can google the paint color and see what other people's rooms look like in that same color in an image search on google or Pinterest. I don't recommend the virtual room tools because those are renderings and not real life.

These colors are really working against each other. The taupe wall paint turned green next to the yellowy floors and the greige bed.The super warm lights are just making everything worse.

4. Not measuring the doorways and stairwells. There are few thing worse than waiting 6 -12 weeks for a sofa that won’t fit into your basement or a bed that won't go up the stairs! Measure, Measure, Measure.

5. Wrong lightbulbs. Did you know that lightbulbs are different temperatures and that affects the color in the room?? The temperature is measured in Kelvins on a scale of typical interiors being 2000-6500K. The higher the number, the cooler the light. So, if you get a 5000K light bulb (AKA Outdoor light) you will have a very blue tinged room – these are used in medical field – so unless you are performing surgery in your living room, SKIP THEM! It's best to stay in the 2700-3500K range if you want your house to be more neutral. I like 3000K for overall ambient light and 2700K for bedrooms. 3500K is more common in offices but can feel cold if you are in it all day, not bad for a task light for reading.

6. Mixing too many materials. I love mixing wood tones and metals- but good design has continuity so allow things to repeat and create rhythm. I like triangulation: if you have a new material, it should appear 3x in your room. Adding a brass light fixture? Great! Make sure knobs have brass and maybe a table base too. Sometimes an anomaly is a good thing – but most of the time it just looks out of place.

The anomaly is the butcher block and teal island. Could this be cool? Maybe, but that warm wood needs to be somewhere else. There is a pop of that color in the backsplash- but there needs to be some more repetition or it's just an odd floating island that relates to nothing in the space. Also, there are more can lights in the ceiling than anyone could ever need.

This WORKS because of the triangulation of materials. The bold green vanity is repeated in the plant life and the artwork. The high contrast flooring is connected to the matte black faucet and planter. The brass knobs, frame and chair all work together. Repetition is pleasing to the eye.

7. Following trends and not your heart. What makes YOU feel good?? You want to paint your office in full jewel tones because you see it everywhere or have a stark white kitchen because that’s what people want? No, ask yourself, "what colors make me happy?" What color is repeated in your wardrobe? Have you always loved teal – like it’s been your favorite color since third grade? Then yes, go wild with your jewel tones. But truly follow your gut. I always recommend for people to find some inspiration images of things that make them happy. It doesn’t have to be interior images; it could be a bouquet of flowers, or a favorite vase, things that inspire, “spark joy” as Marie Kondo would say, and help set the tone of what makes your home a place you want to be. We want to avoid it being a generic pin on Pinterest. Maybe you want terracotta tiles on your kitchen floor because you love the warmth and it reminds you of your honeymoon in Tuscany? Or you love yellow and want to be wrapped in sunshine when you wake up. Know you and embrace it. It's those quirks that make your space about you.

Hiring an interior designer is pivotal in avoiding these mistakes and saving you money in the long run. With the right scale, color, lighting, measurements, hanging of art and accessories, material selection and direction we can help bring the space you crave into a reality! So, before you paint your walls "Mellow Yellow," call for help. :)


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