Interior design and styling faux pas

Jul 17, 2017 | Interior design and decoration

Creating a beautiful home takes time, effort and thought.  We need clear design vision or concept to deliver around that works with the intricacies of any particular home.

But, the reality is, a lot of interiors are made up of a mixture of inherited, found or poorly purchased items that don’t reflect any kind of design vision.  I sometimes find that there are awesome individual pieces in a client’s home but, as a whole, they don’t really go together!

If that’s the case for you, firstly…don’t beat yourself up!  Tastes change, we have families, we move… or we can’t bear to be parted from certain sentimental items.  Whatever your design reality, avoid an interior design or styling faux pas by considering the following.

I love it when a plan comes together

Fail to plan, plan to fail!  Regardless of whether it’s rented, your first or your last home, look at your space holistically: the floorspace, awkward nooks, budget and architecture will dictate a lot.  Next, think about your style and how to translate it into each room.  Have the courage to stick to the plan, be brave and gift old furniture to others, or recover and repurpose where you can.

This is often where a designer, like SmartSpace, can help the most. Trust me, it’s hard when you do it yourself, even for the professionals. Here’s an insight into how I plan…

Your place isn’t a show home

We’ve all done it, created our perfect home scrap book or Pinterest Board with beautiful magazine worthy shots representing our dream house. But remember, staged images don’t always translate well in practical terms. Sure… take a few key ideas or pieces but keep it in the context of your plan and remember it’s your home and not a showroom.

Reduce the clutter

Those who have worked with me, know this is a serious point of mine.  Clutter will hinder any good design; it’ll also make keeping your home clean and tide more difficult. So keep collections to a minimum or use proper displays.  Get good cabinetry and storage solutions, turn unused space into appropriate areas (reading nooks, gaming rooms, play areas etc) – even, and probably more importantly, in small space design.


Unless you’re going for specific retro or a kitsch look, use contrasting shades and tones to help break up a space.  It can be very difficult to balance décor (flooring, furniture, cushions, walls) that is all one colour or pattern, or too much similar pattern that will clash.

Revamp, rework, recycle

Regular readers with know this is a line I use a lot.  There almost endless changes and updates you can make to your existing pieces and bring them up to the standard of your design vision.  Don’t expect this to be the cheapest option and to find out more check out my other blog posts: Revamp, rework, recycle and To reupholster, or not to reupholster…that is the question.

Goldilocks and the three rugs!

Too small… to big… or just right?  A few inches can make all the difference when it comes a rug pulling the room together or looking lost.  Remember bigger is generally better, especially if you’re between sizes, and it’s worth the extra expense. It should be proportional to the space (large rooms = large rugs) and placed to echo its dimensions (long room = orient length-ways). To find the right rug size and shape, consider both the size of your space and the furniture grouping – measuring each as a first step.

Expert opinions matter

OK, I would say that… but it’s great to get some gentle guidance / advice regardless of whether you’re a design guru or not.  Even I use my contacts and colleagues to bounce ideas off, but don’t let someone else’s vision or design subjectivity knock your confidence…remember the plan!?  If you don’t use designer to fight your design corner, make sure you’re clear about what you want from your space and have a good idea about colours or items you definitely want (or don’t want) to avoid other people clouding the issue.

To find out more about working with SmartSpace, and to avoid these and other design and styling faux pas, contact us here.  And if you’re within our design radius, we’d be happy to discuss your design project in a no obligation initial consultation.

NOTE: Images used under Fair Use, and were sourced from a variety of online sources and personal archives. The above commentary is a personal view and not commercial in nature

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This