6 Design Faux-Pas Interior Designers Can't Stand
Interior designers, whether trained or self-taught, have a keen sense of spatial awareness and a natural eye for what works and what doesn’t in a room. On instinct, they can step into any space and offer a quick diagnosis that more often than not can dramatically transform a space. To help you make some quick and easy upgrades to your space, we polled our roster of talented designers to share their top design pet peeves. Read on below and take notes!
Poorly Placed Artwork
Decorist interior designer Emily Johnson tells us her number-one pet peeve is “artwork hung too high over furniture,” and that artwork that “flies too high” is “not cohesive” with the rest of the room. Decorist designer Sarah Sakalaukus agrees: “My biggest pet peeve is wall art mounted too low or too high,” she says. The good news? “The fix takes five minutes and costs nothing,” Sakalaukus says. “Typically, art should be hung so the center is at eye level, the exception being gallery walls.”
We’ve got to say Hallelujah to this one. Decorist designer Kate Spiro tells us one of her pet peeves is “when someone buys the whole set of furniture from a catalog” or retailer. “While it is a very quick and easy way to fill a room, buying the coordinating set of furniture will make a room fall flat,” she says. “You need to mix it up to add visual interest.” If you’re looking around your home, thinking, “Whoops!” Kate has some sage advice: “Try to build in more unique pieces, different materials, and textures to create variety in your space.”
Casey Hardin of HCC Designs concurs: “A room that has all the same furniture pieces (i.e. a bedroom with a matching bed, dresser, and nightstands) doesn't show any personality and can come across feeling bland and boring.” To give each room she designs a cuated look, she pulls in different materials and textures. “A space should reflect a person's interests and have varied styles and finishes to avoid the dreaded ‘matchy-matchy’ look,” Hardin notes.
Catering to Kids
The next pet peeve is more of a mindset than a faux-pas. Decorist designer Jillian Scott tells us what irritates her is when clients or friends have “created in their minds the ideas that they can’t have nice things because they have kids.” “I know how hard my clients and friends work and to see them compromise on the space they come home to frustrates me,” she says. And there’s no need to compromise: “There are so many durable options as far as materials these days; I truly feel like you can live in a space that is comfortable, attractive and kid-friendly.”
Photo credit: Laurey Glenn for One Kings Lane
Decorist designer Sharon Copeland tells us one major no-no is curtains that are not the right length. “Curtains need be mounted as high as possible to give the room the appearance of taller ceilings,” she says. “There are few exceptions depending on the style of windows, but I cringe at drapery that’s not the right length.”
Photo credit: Joe Schmelzer for One Kings Lane
Now here’s a bright idea… how about creating a lighting plan? “One thing I see a LOT of is not enough—or sometimes nonexistent—accent and task lighting,” says Decorist designer Rita Schultz. “When clients utilize ambient or overhead lighting only, it creates harsh shadows and can make their space appear very flat and unwelcoming.” Designer Elise Payne adds, “Especially in new builds, I see people rely just on the recessed lights without realizing how much lighting can make or break the entire mood of a space. Having layers when it comes to lighting (which is as simple as adding one or two floor or table lamps) allows you to transition to a more cozy, relaxed vibe in the evening when it’s time to watch a movie, for example.”
Another pro tip? Schultz says, “I also cannot overstate the value of installing a dimmer switch on as much of the lighting as possible. It's a total game-changer for creating different moods in your space depending on the situation and time of day!”
Photo credit: Alyssa Rosenheck for Decorist
Too Small Rugs
Can’t put your finger on why your floor plan looks off? Take a note from Decorist designer Megan Moran who shares, “a too-small rug makes me cringe,” and make sure your rug is big enough to fit under the feet of your furniture. Not sure what rug size is right for your space? Check out our rug size guide for more information.