Common interior design mistakes

Nov 25, 2012 | Anoushka's Blog

When it comes to designing a room in your home simple mistakes can have a big impact on the overall effect. Without careful planning, research and decision making it can be easy to make mistakes when putting a room together. Here are what I believe are the major pitfalls to think about when designing a room and what can be done to avoid them.

This doesn't work as furniture items are pushed back against the walls, most of the furniture is too small including the rug and the colour palette is bland. (from Hippie Home Improvements)

Scale & placement

I often I walk into homes where owners have been afraid to buy furniture that fits the scale of the room, purchasing items that are too small and feel lost in the space. To make matters worse a common mistake to place all furniture against the walls of your room makes the space feel even more sparse and uninviting. Even if you don’t have a vast amount of space, pulling the sofa out 20-30cm from the wall allow it room to breath and give the illusion of more space. If you do have a large space pull your furniture in, use a rug to ground the area and place the front feet of your sofa and chairs on the rug. If you’re lucky enough and have the room place a long slim console behind your sofa and display table lamps and decorative items here. This is a really elegant way to make the most of the space.

On the flip side often when people are downsizing furniture can feel oversized and no longer fit. I actually don’t mind using larger pieces in a small space, however you may need to let one or two pieces go to make this work, and add in a few smaller pieces like side tables, stools and smaller occasional chairs that can be more flexible in terms of placement.

There's just far too much going on in this room. (from freshome design & architecture)


This is a common problem when I’m working with clients. When you have been living in a space for a number of years it’s hard to see what others can and so you look past the clutter. Clutter can create a chaotic energy in a room and it will never feel 100% comfortable to live in. I recently worked with a couple that felt this way. So we worked to create a few areas in their living space where they could display items that were dear to them. I had a carpenter make two beautiful display cabinets where we placed items carefully with some sort of order to them. Either use colour, material type or theme to group items together. Mix size and scale into your groupings and don’t be afraid to place larger items up higher for a more dramatic effect. The finished result was beautiful and you could actually see each item once we were done. There wasn’t room for everything so some things got packed away and these can be interchanged from time to time to keep the displays fresh and interesting.

Although this room looks pretty appealing, the lack of focal point makes it hard to know where to look first. (taken from Decor Girl blog)

Lack of focal point

A room can be filled with gorgeous furniture and beautiful artwork but if there is no focal point the whole space can feel scattered with nowhere for your eye to rest. It’s good to decide on a focal point in the early stages of building a design. This could be a fireplace, a large colourful rug, or a piece of artwork that you love. Once you have this build everything around it tying in colour, pattern and materials. However don’t upstage your focal point, this needs to be the star of the show, everything else should be there as a supporting act.

This room is far to minimalist, interest needs to be created through layering textures, colours and decorative items.

Under dressing

Having addressed the issue of clutter I also feel it’s important to talk about underdressing a room also. In more recent times where minimalism has been a popular trend I’ve noticed that some have taken this to an extreme making their home fee impersonal, cold and even clinical. When thinking about any design it takes layers to create depth and interest. It’s the layers that complete the design. For a more minimalist look these layers are paired back but they still remain. For instance I would use more soft furnishings such as throws, scatter cushions and curtains in a brief that was country or rustic. Whereas in a minimalist brief the layers would be harder lined for instance using simple blinds, and more sculptural such as one or two larger decorative items. I would also include one or two pieces of furniture that added interesting lines, being a sculptural piece in its on right without having to add extra items. I hope you’ve found these tips useful. Feel free to email me with any questions and advice you may need.

Happy decorating!

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