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  • Writer's picturePatricia Kraisman

Avoid These Common Design Mistakes

Updated: Mar 3

In our line of work, we see a lot of the most common (and some uncommon!) design mistakes. As a matter of fact, they are often the reason we are called.

Pulling a space together “looks” simple enough – especially with the burden of HGTV today. I say burden intentionally, because these reality shows are not very realistic and can often fool people into believing they can create their dream space as easy as 1-2-3. I’m here to tell you it’s not that easy BUT there are a few easy tips to avoid the most common design mistakes.

Instead of sharing “before” images of these common design mistakes, I’ll protect the identities of the innocent (quite possibly now our clients) and share with you what the outcome SHOULD look like.

1.Tile Stopping Too Low

Production (vs. custom) builders will often try to cut corners in order to save money on materials wherever they can. This is where the not-quite-to-the-ceiling shower tile was probably invented.

Taking the tile to the ceiling in your shower will make the space feel seamless because the materials are consistent from floor to ceiling. The shower will feel larger and more luxurious. So splurge on that extra few bucks of tile – it’s well worth it! And while you’re at it, keep the flooring material similar in tone to the wall tile and you’ll really make the space stretch visually.

2. Artwork Installed At the Wrong Height

Hanging your art correctly is an art form in itself. When it is done well, you don’t even notice, but when it is not…well…it looks like a bad haircut…you just can’t keep your eyes away. And while art “should” be hung eye level, we are all different heights, so what is correct? A very simple rule of thumb is that the center of the piece (or the grouping) should be roughly 60″ from the ground. There you have it. Now go get your measuring tape and check what’s hanging on your walls.

3. The Curtain Panels Are the Incorrect Length

Ideally your curtain rods should be hung as close to the ceiling as possible, just below any crown molding. This is a design “trick” to make the room look taller BUT it means you will need to get longer curtains…and yes, you’ll spend more moola on those extra inches. Trust me though, it’s worth it in the long run. Your drapery panels should “just” kiss the floor or skim no more than an inch above it.

4. Furniture is Not the Correct Size

If you have a large room, you should have large scale furniture, and more of it. If you have a small room, you should have smaller scaled furniture. When you try to put large furniture in a small room (or vice versa), it’s going to look awkward. Like trying to wear an outfit that used to fit you in college – it might fit, but it ain’t pretty. Enough said.

5. There Isn’t Enough Lighting

So many of today’s rooms have overhead (ambient) lighting solutions. Which is great when you’re needing to clean the room – it is very functional and illuminating. But to live and spend time in a room, accent and task lighting are key components to making the space feel warm & welcoming.

Whether a lamp for reading or greeting you into your entry, a chandelier illuminating your meal, or providing under-cabinet light for your food prep, the height of the lighting is appropriate for the task at hand. This also adds a nice “layer” of lighting into the room…one that most of us look better in too, rather than sitting in a harsh, overhead glare.

So there you have it. These are the most common design mistakes I’m seeing these days. I’m sure they will change in the future, but for now, you know how to avoid them.

Go forth and conquer your room. And if you don’t have the energy, or something else feels askew – call us. We are highly skilled at avoiding and overcoming design challenges! +1 908.451.5357

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