From trying out color blends with paint swatches to the fanciest furniture selection, playing Fixer Upper seems fun and exciting. Most of the time though, what looks excellent to you may be a piece of mediocrity for interior design experts. Admittedly, these professionals see the subtle details your amateur eyes miss, so learn from these professionals to make your home look expertly and effortlessly designed.
1. Empty Walls Are Wasted Spaces
It's completely unwelcoming when you have nothing to look at on a wall and your focal points are on the floor. Take advantage of every inch of space there is and don't leave your walls empty and blank. Walls are your biggest display area and you better do something now before your kids realize the opportunity for a mural-fest.
Items placed on floors or counters make the room feel crowded. Keep it less busy by applying a vertical vision and freeing up storage in your drawers and work space. This is especially appropriate in the kitchen where many utensils and cutlery need to be pruned. Nina Ward, an interior designer and regional director at ShelfGenie says, "Not allowing for enough vertical storage in your kitchen design can actually make it look more cluttered and take up valuable space."
Mounting light-colored shelves or racks to the walls of the room gives it a more spacious and taller impression as unwanted items and distractions are removed from the horizontal view.
2. Disproportionate Furnishings Need a Second Opinion
If there's one life lesson we learned from Hollywood it's that you have to fake it 'til you make it. But faking it only works in the movies. In the interior design world, you just don't go after the look, you aim for function and proportion. There's more to creating a spacious illusion in a room than throwing in a new batch of furniture that "looks" good.
According to the principal and design director of Ambience Design Group, Josie Abate, gauging the right proportions in furniture selection is an important element in arranging your space at home. She advises, "Choose smaller furniture, like condo sized, for a smaller space to accommodate for traffic. Leaving parts of the floor visible also gives the illusion of space." Group together furniture depending on the purpose of the room, its size, and most importantly its visual balance. Measuring is important or you'll be shocked that the expensive furniture you bought doesn't even fit through the doorway.
3. Look up! Your Ceiling Has a Big Role
More often than not, ceilings are overlooked when you're pouring conscious effort in designing your house. It's the biggest blank canvas in the room and it deserves your attention. The most basic color choice for the ceiling is white. Indeed, it makes the ceiling appear brighter and higher. But interior designer Josie Abate tells everyone that, "there has never been a rule that says that the ceiling color has to be white."
You don't have to be Michelangelo and create your own version of the Sistine Chapel ceiling. Just apply a paint that's two shades lighter than your walls for a more spacious and bigger-looking room. On the other hand, if you want it to look smaller and cozier, give it a darker hue to have a lower ceiling trick.
4. Stop Overdoing It, for Art's Sake
You're not decorating a Christmas tree, so don't overdo styling by hanging and placing all the things you love. Be selective with your home accessories. Too many of them can eat up space and equal clutter. Keep excessive knick-knacks at bay or be branded a hoarder. Make a statement by making sure accessories are well-placed and carefully chosen to pique the interest of visitors, says Josie Abate.
What's important is you feel at home. According to Hannah Grant, interior designer, photographer, and owner of Royal Essence, when choosing accessories, remember to mix colors, textures, accents, and layers. It is a must to throw in some character and set a mood for your home without being overwhelming.
5. Shy Away From Being Too Matchy-Matchy
For the artist and designer at Beverly Solomon Design, Pablo Solomon is firm with his statement that being afraid to mix and match is a big home décor mistake. "While you may choose to use one décor period or type, the only rule of decorating that matters in the long run is 'does it work'," he says.
Getting too obsessed with matching the same hue and pattern leads to a dull and cheap-looking room. Instead, experiment thoughtfully.
Karina Jones of Superior Interiors says that purchasing several individual pieces of furnishings and decors without carefully thinking about the final product results in a disjointed and incohesive look. Learn how to arrange decorative items effectively - that's the reason for Pinterest!
6. Imitation Isn't Always the Best Form of Admiration
The founder of Wynter Interiors Inc. and The Living Show host Charmaine Wynter points out that "Trying to copy a look seen on television, a friend's home or in a magazine and expecting the same effect without taking into consideration the many differences in their home which precludes its success" is a big mistake. If you're trying to create a modern look for your home, finding an inspiration from free home décor catalogs, magazines or home design TV shows is okay. However, don't mistake inspiration for being a copycat.
Your design budget should cater to the ideas you would like to see in every room. The identity of your home reflects the individuals inside the house. Would you still want a plagiarized home style then? You need to be relaxed and feel great in your own home. Let those creative feelings run through your original design.
"It's okay to use the ideas or concept of the model but remember no one lives there. Therefore, understanding what looks appealing doesn't always work," adds Dawn Stafford, creative director of Gathering Souls.
7. Is There a Power Interruption?
Another common mistake homeowners commit is relying on one light source. If you're trying to join Extreme Cheapskates you're excused, but depending on just one source without considering how much light is necessary is a total nay. "Accent lighting plays an important role in creating the perfect ambience for every home. Lighting fixtures must go natural and align with the home design," Charla Lantz, interior designer and VP operations at Avanti Homes, says.
Layer lighting by having multiple sources at different heights. Veer away from white lights for your bedroom and living room as they look harsh in the eyes and appear uninviting. Go for soft, warm lighting to get that cozy feel, and bright, white lights to create a lively ambience.
8. Open, Stinky Trash Bins Shoo Visitors Away
At some point, Febreeze-ing your way out of a reeking room will no longer work. Leaving your trash cans out in the open is the biggest culprit here. Nina Ward reiterates that "Not hiding the trashcan in the kitchen or bathrooms is a big design no-no. It's distracting, challenging and stinky."
Beautifully hide those unattractive trash bins by installing custom-made pull out shelves that slide smoothly for easy disposal of scraps or other unwanted items. Or you can also strategically place the bin neatly inside a cabinet just below the sink. Aside from discreetly putting away the bad smell, this trick also frees up floor space. Talk about two birds and one stone.
9. Viewless Rooms Are Only for Prisons and Dungeons
Your home is not Count Dracula's den, so don't be afraid of some natural light entering your abode. As Pablo Solomon states, "Not living in a home long enough to get the feel of the place from season to season, and how best to utilize sunlight and views" are one of the most frequent home décor mistakes he notices.
If you have a picturesque view from the outside why not frame it and use your windows as an instant medium of artwork? The better way to capture a beautiful view is to style your place in such a way that windows are best utilized.
Take Advice From the Experts
Professional interior designers all have intimate knowledge that can guide your future renovations and home updates. As they say, take it from the expert.