Five common interior design mistakes
As an interior designer my job is to solve interior design mistakes or problems. The types of interior design mistakes I solve vary. There a five common interior design mistakes I come across regularly. They can be functional for example, not enough counter space in the kitchen. Other types of interior design mistakes are mostly about aesthetics.
Aesthetics such as what my client’s style goal is. Or what colour to paint a wall. To how to style a coffee table with décor. The skill of an interior designer is to solve both functional and aesthetic problems in a space.
Mostly recently a client let me know that she was going to bring another interior designer through her house to get some ideas. I thought this was interesting given we had already started working together. But she felt it was an important part of her own due diligence.
Afterwards I met my client to hear what the other interior designer suggested. I found the biggest interior design mistake the actual interior designer made was not listening to my client. So here are my top five common interior design mistakes to avoid.
Interior design mistake 1 – a bad furniture layout
One of the suggestions my client received was to put a console table behind the sofa. However, this didn’t make sense to me. When you see a console table behind a sofa, it’s usually because it’s performing the function of transitioning from one zone to another.
For example, in an open plan living situation you might have a dining setting, then a console behind a sofa. Then a sofa or living room setting. The console is the piece that marks the change in zone and in function.
In my client’s space there was no adjacent zone, it was a small sitting room. So there was no need for a transitional piece such as a console behind the sofa.
Another example is a client of mine who is buying a long rectangular dining setting which will block the door to the courtyard. I had suggested a different configuration which included a built in bench seat and a round table so the door wasn’t blocked. But for some reason she prefers a long table which will impact the flow of movement in the space.
Function and flow of movement is key to avoid the interior design mistake of a bad furniture layout.
Interior design mistake 2 – Solutions for other people such as buyers
Many clients I speak to will say something like ‘this is not our forever home’ so while they are living in it, they’re thinking of selling and want the renovations they do to appeal to future buyers.
Most real estate agents would agree and advise to keep things as neutral as possible to appeal to potential buyers at some point down the track in years to come.
I think this is a mistake. Firstly, because you are spending your own money and should reap the rewards of any interior design work you do in your own home.
Styles last about 10-15 years and if you sell in that time frame, bottom line is the new owner of your home will probably need to or want to make changes that reflect their own way of living and style.
Avoid interior design mistake number two by not considering anyone other than yourself in your interior design or interior styling project.
Interior design mistake 3 – following trends
I get asked what my style is, a lot. A prospective client who is doing their research will see other design studios and notice that all their projects are similar, or appear to be in the same interior style. Mine don’t because I work hard to achieve my client’s version of an aspirational space, whatever that might be.
So avoid interior design mistake number three by not following trends and by curating a space for yourself that reflects your individuality, life and loves.
Interior design mistake 4 – not having an interior design or interior style plan
If you’re undertaken a large interior design project then often the biggest interior design mistake is not having a plan. Actually, I think the biggest interior design mistake is not engaging an interior designer but not everyone can afford an interior designer. However, everyone can afford to work out a plan.
For my interior styling clients, a plan involves setting a design strategy from the outset of every project. A design strategy is confirming the interior style goal and colour scheme for your home/project.
This makes decision making on all selections such as furniture, furnishing, fittings and fixtures so much easier. There are lots of resources available online to help you plan for your project, such as timelines, budgets and so on.
Interior design mistake 5 – not being clear about the interior design problem
Some problems are easy enough such as the kitchen looks like it’s stuck in 1999. But if your kitchen isn’t working and you have functional problems, best to write them down. This way you can ensure you resolve each problem one by one.
But if you have functional problems in your kitchen (or any space) for example not enough counter space or not enough room for your appliances, any work you do in your kitchen needs to rectify this.
For example with one of my clients, a problem she has in her main bathroom is that the shower is over the bath, so I needed to come up with a layout to separate the two.
Interior design is based on functionality. Working out if your space is working and performing it’ set function is key. This way you avoid interior design mistakes that will cost you money and angst. Take your time to observe how you use the space and write things down. If clients have just moved into a new home, I often advise not to rush into things, to experience the house first.
Sometimes the solution is not as straightforward as you might think or as you’ve see on social platforms or reality TV. Sometimes the solution has to be unique to you and that’s what I strive to deliver to my client’s – their version of aspirational spaces, and overcoming the interior design mistakes in their home.