Home Decor & Design

10 Interior Design Mistakes to Avoid

September 10, 2019
uncomfortable couch

When you fling open your front door at the end of a long day, does your home welcome you in? Or do you sigh as you look around and take in your current decor scheme?

If you find yourself in the latter situation, it’s probably time for a design re-do. However, you want to make sure you don’t make it worse, so as you’re planning your home’s makeover, keep these 10 interior design mistakes in mind and avoid them.


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1. Extreme Minimalism

Does your living room decor consist of one couch, one end table and a framed picture of Bob Marley? If so, well, you have excellent musical taste, but your design choices might need a little help.

You don’t want to clutter every surface, but unless you’re studying to become a Tibetan monk, taking minimalism to the extreme makes your pad look like a prison cell. It’s okay to add a touch of personality. A guitar propped in the corner, some interesting coffee table books and a few colorful throw pillows cost little but create a much cozier look.

interior design mistakes

2. All White Everything

Yes, painting your walls light colors gives you the illusion of feeling cooler, but painting everything eggshell screams boring. Consider adding a bright accent wall in a hue a shade darker than your walls. Think beyond the traditional off-white and ecru. You can paint bedroom walls a cool, icy blue with a darker accent or go for a light yellow for kitchen or living spaces to subtly invigorate you.

entryway design

3. Boring Entryway

You don’t need to hang up a giant sign reading, “Welcome home,” but if your entryway consists of piles of shoes and abandoned umbrellas, is it any wonder you don’t hurry back? You want your pad to feel welcoming to you and to guests.

Keep your carpets clean by investing in a stylish shoe rack for guests and kids alike to remove their tennis shoes. You could also add some artwork, mirrors and rugs to make the space even more appealing.

lighting mistakes home decor

4. Harsh Overhead Lighting

Many people find fluorescent overhead lighting to be unduly harsh. Fluorescent lights may be energy-efficient, but their light can be less than inspiring.

Swap out overhead fluorescent light in favor of track lighting that casts a warmer glow. Invest in LED lights to use there as well as for under counters and in cupboards. You can see without having to use the overhead lights and get that energy efficiency you’re looking for. In living areas, invest in tabletop lamps emitting just enough light to read comfortably at night.

interior design mistakes

5. Floral Prints and Wall Stencils

Wall stencils may have been fun to add to a space — in the 90s — but they can quickly lose their appeal and look outdated. Motivational sayings stenciled on walls create the feeling you never left the office. Stenciled florals make for great designs in herbal medicine guides but look outdated on kitchen walls.

Instead, find some appealing artwork and hang it at eye level. You can swap it out when you want and have it coordinate easily with the rest of the room.

furniture arrangement mistake

6. Uneven Furniture Placements

The way you arrange your furniture can become one of the most inconvenient interior design mistakes. When you want to set your Merlot down safely, do you have to walk across the room? Do you have to stoop down to a coffee table significantly shorter than your couch?

Aim to provide as many end tables as necessary to ensure every seat lies within easy reach of a place to set a beverage or remote control. Plus, make sure tables and seating arrangements match in height to prevent backaches. Not only does this symmetry increase your home’s appeal, but it improves the functionality of your living space.

mismatched appliances

7. Mismatched Appliances

Do your kitchen appliances look like they just stepped out of the 70s? Today, all appliances come with an Energy Star rating that lets you know how much power and other resources they consume. As a result, in addition to making your kitchen look a little more modern, updating to today’s models can save you money on your utility bills.

As tempting as it seems to buy a fun air fryer in mint green, if the rest of your appliances are stainless steel, you’ve created a case of, “one of these things is not like the other.” Select an appliance color scheme and stick with it.

interior design wood paneling

8. Wood and Wallpaper

Unless you’re ditching the man-cave to bring back the traditional study, stay away from wood paneling and wainscoting. You’ve seen grandma’s house in “Napoleon Dynamite,” right? Not a good look.

Speaking of grandma’s house, strip off that purple hydrangea monstrosity on your bathroom walls. Wallpaper screams old-fashioned. If you’re feeling nostalgic, bake some sugar cookies and pass on decorating for the day.

uncomfortable couch

9. Anything Uncomfortable

Your home is your refuge from the world. Refuse to keep anything within your walls that make you feel uncomfortable. Yes, that means posting a Craigslist curb alert for that lumpy couch with the springs sticking out. If you can spring for it, it’s time to upgrade to furniture you actually want to sit in.

One great way to increase your personal comfort is to add cozy touches everywhere. Warm throw blankets and pillows invite siestas. Games and coffee table books invite conversation. Plants improve indoor air quality and bring you closer to nature. These touches will have you breathing a sigh of relief instead of frustration when you’re at home.

interior design mistakes

10. Clutter Everywhere

Coming home to a messy house can be instantly overwhelming. To make your home more inviting without spending a dime, clean up your mess.

Make it a rule the little ones don’t get their bedtime story until they place their toys in the toybox. Rinse dishes and put them in the dishwasher immediately after eating. Invest in file boxes and go paperless as much as possible — really, cutting down trees to make paper bills is so last century.

Passing on Common Interior Design Mistakes

Even if you’re guilty of more than a few of these interior design mistakes, you don’t need to spend much money to update your home’s look. Clearing clutter and making inexpensive improvements like changing lights and adding paint can update a tired decor.

Take some time to review your home decor and settle on a theme that fits your style. Before you know it, returning home will become the best part of your day.

common interior design mistakes

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