Common Interior Design Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

by Jane K on October 8, 2019

Interior decorating isn’t easy. Not only do you have to find the right furniture, but you also need to understand how to arrange it in a way that works for your space. Before you redecorate your home, make sure you know how to avoid these common interior design mistakes.

Interior Design Mistake #1: Not Considering Your Budget

No one likes to think about budgets, especially when they’re trying to create the home of their dreams. But one of the biggest mistakes you can make when decorating your home is not considering your budget at every stage of the furniture buying process.

To prevent yourself from running out of spending money too soon, make a shopping list of all the furniture you need and how much you’re likely to spend on each one. Once you know what you need, try to determine which items are the highest priorities and try to purchase those items first.

Buying these priority items first allows you to use them to determine the style of the room, and if you end up falling in love with an item that’s a bit over-budget, you can make accommodations elsewhere, on furniture pieces that aren’t as important to you.

Interior Design Mistake #2: Going in Without a Plan

Whether you’re decorating a living room, a dining room, a home office, or a bedroom, it’s important to figure out a plan before you start buying any furniture. Do you have any older furniture items you’re hoping to keep? Do you know how you intend to use the room? Is there a certain interior design style you’re hoping to mimic?

To get started, consider the functional aspects of the room. If you’re decorating a dining room, for example, you might want to consider how many people will regularly use the table, as well as how often you might have additional guests over to eat. This will help you determine the table size, how many chairs to buy, and whether or not you need a table with an extendable leaf. Since a table is the most important item in the dining room, it makes sense to choose that item first.

You’ll also want to make sure you have some idea of what style you’d like to pursue. Need some inspiration? Here’s an in-depth look at modern contemporary, traditional, and transitional furniture styles.

Interior Design Mistake #3: Not Accounting for the Size & Shape of the Room

Not all rooms are created equal. Decorating a long, narrow living room often looks quite different than decorating a large living room, so before you start picking furniture, it’s a good idea to get to know the dimensions of your room.

Before you make any decorating decisions, take proper measurements of the room in question, paying special attention to the shape and flow of the room. In addition to noting where the doorways and windows are, you’ll want to consider the most direct path between different doorways, the height of the ceilings, where the outlets are located, and the predominant use of the room. Without this information, you may end up choosing a piece of furniture you love that doesn’t work in the space you’re looking to decorate.

Need a pro tip? Our free room planning tool makes it easy to see how different furniture items will fit in a room without having to do all the heavy lifting. In fact, you can even choose items in the Star Furniture inventory to see how they will fit in a room of your size and shape.

Interior Design Mistake #4: Overcrowding

It can be easy to go overboard when decorating a room in your home, especially with so many beautiful furniture options to choose from. But having too many furniture pieces can create a room that feels cramped and hard to navigate.

A good rule of thumb is to make sure every item in the room has a function. Some items that might be standard—coffee tables, for example—might not work in some living rooms, depending on the size and shape of the room, as well as the size and shape of the other furniture pieces. So, make sure you’re personalizing the room to your style and needs, rather than trying to mimic someone else’s design.

You’ll also want to make sure you leave enough space between each piece of furniture. While there’s no one-size-fits-all distance to leave between different furniture pieces, if you want to be able to walk between furniture pieces, we recommend leaving at least 18” between them.

Interior Design Mistake #5: Skipping the Focal Point

Every room needs a focal point—a specific area or furniture piece that draws people’s eyes when they walk into a room and assigns the room with a function. While some large rooms can have more than one focal point, forgetting to create a focal point at all can detract from the room’s style.

Looking for ideas for how to create a focal point? Start with function. What is the purpose of the room? Many living rooms, for example, are centered around a television or a fireplace, while many dining rooms utilize a bold dining room table as the focal point of the room.

If you’re looking for a more stylistic focal point, try using mirrors, accent furniture, bookcases, statement pieces, or boldly decorated walls as a focal point. Remember, the point is to draw people’s eyes, so you’ll want to choose something that immediately catches people’s attention.

Interior Design Mistake #6: Pushing Furniture Against the Wall

It can be tempting, especially if you’re furnishing a smaller room, to push all of the furniture against the wall as a way of “creating more space.” But in addition to looking more sophisticated, floating furniture away from the wall can actually make the room feel more spacious. In fact, some furniture, like reclining sofas, have to be pushed away from the wall in order to be used effectively.

In addition to making the room seem more spacious, floating furniture can create a clearer flow of traffic, divide the room into functional zones, and it can even make for more intimate spaces, as it allows for furniture to be placed closer together for easy conversing.

Interior Design Mistake #7: Keeping Pieces that Don’t Fit the Room

One big mistake we often see people make is keeping a piece of furniture that no longer fits the room. Whether it’s an old family heirloom with sentimental value or an old sofa you bought to accommodate an oddly-shaped living room, there are times when a certain piece of furniture can detract from your overall style.

If the furniture piece is important to you, we recommend decorating the room around that specific piece. That way, you can find ways to complement the design and draw out what you love about the piece. While you might think accommodating a specific piece of furniture would make the furniture search trickier, it actually gives you a helpful jumping off point, and having some constraints can keep you from feeling overwhelmed by too many options.

In some cases, it might be best to move the item into storage, give the item to someone who will better appreciate it, or to find a unique use for it in a less prominent location, i.e. a basement, a guest bedroom, or a study. Remember, interior design is all about the way different furniture pieces and decorations work together, so if one piece is preventing aesthetic cohesion, it can throw off the whole room.

Interior Design Mistake #8: Not Getting Help

Even if you’ve done your research and consider yourself great at design, having a fresh set of eyes can help you spot problems you might otherwise miss.

While it can sometimes be enough to check out the latest design blog or consult a friend with an eye for design, involving a professional interior designer can help simplify the design process. Not only can they offer expert design advice, but they can even help you better understand your own style, better complement your favorite furniture pieces, and take advantage of furniture deals.

The best part? Seeking interior design help doesn’t have to be cost prohibitive. In fact, Star Furniture stores offer complimentary interior design services, including everything from a personalized design consultation to custom furniture and fabric options.

Interior Design Mistake #9: Not Accounting for Scale

Furniture scale has to do with its size, including width, height, and length. Generally speaking, the scale of your furniture should be proportional in a given room. While you may not want all of your furniture pieces to be the exact same size, you wouldn’t want to have a low-profile couch paired with an oversized coffee table.

Furniture scale is also important when it comes to the room dimensions. Smaller rooms will also have smaller scales, while larger rooms have the space to accommodate larger scales.

If you’re decorating a room with tall ceilings, for example, you might want to avoid low-profile furniture, opting instead for tall armoires or couches with a larger scale. This will prevent the furniture from being dwarfed by the room itself or appearing insignificant.

Interior Design Mistake #10: Not Accounting for Texture

In interior design, texture refers to the surface quality of a material and can be either tactile or visual. Tactile texture refers to the way something feels to the touch, i.e. soft, hard, smooth, rough, etc., while visual texture is our visual perception of how something will feel. Stainless steel, for example, looks smooth.

Generally, rough textures make a space feel more intimate and warmer while smoother textures are sleeker and more aloof. While many people choose a dominant texture when decorating a room, you can use different textures to complement each other. Putting a smooth texture directly next to a rough one, for example, can make the rough object stand out.

Remember, when decorating a room, you’re looking to create balance and contrast, so not all of your home décor should have an identical look and feel. Try choosing different patterns, fabrics, colors, and shapes to give your room texture and depth.

Interior Design Mistake #11: Ignoring Your Personality

While it makes sense to choose an interior design style and stick to it broadly, it’s important to make sure your personality shines through your home. Don’t get caught simply regurgitating other people’s styles. Instead, keep your eye out for interior design trends, unique furniture pieces, and other home décor items that showcase your interests.

Wall art can be a great place to showcase your personality within the confines of a broader design style. If, for example, you love to travel, you can frame photographs you’ve taken or find artwork from places you’ve visited. Or if you’re an avid reader, you can incorporate large bookcases and shelving into your decorating.

Even if you don’t think of yourself as particularly stylish, incorporating parts of your personality into your design can make your space feel homier, more dinstinct, and even more welcoming to guests.

If you’re looking to furnish your home, be sure to visit one of the Star Furniture stores across Texas. Not only do we have a huge selection of living room, dining room, bedroom, and office furniture, but we also have stylish home décor items, including everything from rugs and wall art to lighting and accent furniture. We even sell mattresses. Visit us in-store or online to take advantage of our amazing furniture deals!

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