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Decorating Disasters to Dodge

Steer clear of these dastardly design crimes...

Kenneth Byrd | April 24, 2012

There are dozens and dozens of decorating disasters to dodge (say that a few times fast) but we’re focusing on the most common repeat offenders. 

We’re counting down the Top 10 Decorating Disasters to Dodge starting with #10 and working our way down to the #1 Design Don’t….

10. Starting a project without a game plan can be a disaster, both financially and with time. It’s best to set parameters for your project from the get-go, such as a time frame, budget, or scope of project.

9. Taking stock in unsolicited design advice or letting someone infringe on your decorating style is hazardous to your design health, unless it’s a housemate or hired interior designer. You know your style best, so pick things that appeal to you. Opinions and advice should only be considered when you’re the one asking for it. 

8. Only investing in the latest trends dilutes your personal style while draining your wallet. It’s ideal to indulge in one or two trend pieces every so often, but to fill the entire room with a trendy look can be detrimental. You’ll be disappointed when the trend fades and your room starts to look and feel like last season’s clearance. Weather the tumultuous trends by investing in high quality pieces with timeless, classic lines and upholstery. 

7. Buying cheaply made furniture is bad–instead, buy well-made furniture cheaply!  The material and construction of a piece is just as important as its aesthetic. Invest in timeless, well-constructed pieces that will last you through many redesigns. It’s best to make gradual investments in furniture over time rather than buying a room full of furniture from some discount retailer having THE BIGGEST SALE OF THE YEAR- every, single, weekend! 

6. Choosing paint from a swatch without trying it on the walls first may be a time consuming mistake. It’s all about lighting. Pick out your paint swatches while in the subject room. I’d suggest purchasing a few sample size containers and testing them on the wall in all types of lighting and at all times of day before you commit.

5. Rooms void of color are lifeless and uninspiring. Be mindful of more than just your furniture. Paint is the least expensive item in a room but easily plays one of the biggest roles in any design. Even if you’re afraid of color, I encourage you to paint an accent wall in a hue that is complementary to your decor. Consult a color wheel  if you need a little science to guide you.  

4. Displaying too many personal items will make your space look overcrowded and dull. Hoarders and great grandmothers are guilty of this. It’s important to have personal pictures and collectibles in your home, but in minimal doses. A few personal framed photos are great when thoughtfully merchandised around the room. Same goes for collectibles and knickknacks. We don’t need to see your whole collection so just pick a few pieces and simply rotate them out to keep it fresh.

3. Lining the perimeter of your room with furniture is an all too common layout default because it’s simple. The intended function of a space should determine the placement of the furniture. To promote conversation, place seating groups in front of one another instead of beside. Create dimensional interest with something as simple as pulling your sofa off the wall just enough to place a console table behind–throw in a lamp and a few tchotchkes and you’re in business!  That few inches alone will make the room appear larger and much more interesting. 

2.  Buying a matching furniture set is creative suicide. For a more thoughtful and collected look, opt to purchase from multiple retailers. Just because stores may showcase a sofa, loveseat and table combo, doesn’t mean you have to buy the lot! Think about replacing the loveseat with a pair of accent chairs–it’ll break up a packaged look and add dynamic interest.

1. Reluctance to try new things is far and away the worst design crime anyone can commit. Decorating, much like life, is a series of trials and errors, and those who take risks will reap the reward. Anyone is capable of creating an interesting and beautiful space, regardless of experience or budgetary constraints. More than anything, try to step out of your comfort zone and experiment with things that are new to you. Discover new styles and looks by reading shelter magazines, traveling, watching design shows, attending open houses and of course, checking out our posts!  For more info, please visit us at www.kbddesignjet.blogspot.com.

Have minimal space but want maximal style?  Be on the lookout for our next post where we provide great tips on squeezing the most style out of your small space!