5 decorating mistakes designers avoid

Busy day ahead, so I’m going straight into it. These mistakes are so easily made but can be avoided, if you do little bit of research, measure well and know who you are.

Here we go..in no particular order:

1. Overstaged/magazine/Pinterest-like interior

I think it’s very easy to get sucked into a trend or style and try to replicate it in our homes. You like something and you think it’s nice and you just go for it and then realise there’s something off. And you can’t put a hand on it. Before you start redecorating try to do some mind mapping.  This is basically what I do as part of the design process. Think about these: aesthetic (style, finishes, colours),  practical (function, storage, zoning, services), and lighting. Write them down. Also use your senses and describe what you want to see, how you want to feel and what you want to smell. Don’t think about it to much just go by instinct and let your thoughts run smoothly on the paper. What this does it gives you a vision and idea which is unique to you. Now you can narrow your search down and focus only on what feels like you.

2. Art without meaning

This basically means having “something on the wall to fill it up and make it more homey“. You need to start looking at art as a meaningful object that represents you, your lifestyle, your personality, your style. You can train yourself, your eye and your mind, to see art differently. Just go and visit a gallery and look at only exhibits that make a connection with you. Try to understand why you’re so drawn to it. Is this the colour, shape, story or image? Buy only art that you like because it evokes emotion and “it speaks to you“.

3. Quick fix purchase

Buying something for the sake of the need. Okay, so you need let’s say a new sofa. And you go and buy something you see for reasonable price but it’s not really your style or they haven’t got the right colour but you get it anyway. And then you have to live with it and work with it and work around it. Try to avoid this at all costs. Yes, you might’ve got the greatest bargain but the price you pay in the long run is not worth it. It’s going to be a pain in the bum. So if you seriously want to make your home look like you always wanted, don’t do it!

4. Looks great but it’s not practical

Staying with the purchases, another thing which I see quite often is getting pieces of furniture or flooring but it’s not for your lifestyle or it doesn’t fix your need. Typical examples are oversized sofas that don’t fit into the room properly, oddly shaped furniture that you can’t put anywhere or marbled flooring that needs treating and maintenance. Maybe it’s the light carpet that looks great but needs cleaning waaay too often. To avoid this you need to research before you buy. You need to understand your needs and don’t compromise. And measure before you buy.

5. Not testing wall paint first

My last point is very simple. Guessing wall colours is NOT a good idea. Walls (including ceiling) are the largest areas in your room. It’s the 70% of your colour scheme. You need to test the paint colour first on each wall as it changes throughout the day depending on light. Also I always pick the wall colour as last. Many of you probably start with it. But it’s much harder to complete the colour scheme, the furniture, soft furnishings and window treatment around it.

Now it’s your turn. Any other mistakes you can think of? Have you made one or two of these before? What have you learnt from them? Do tell!

Karolina Barnes Studio


Photo credit: Tobi Fairley design