Let’s face it. The design catalogs make it look so easy and effortless, but putting together a cohesive look for the décor of your own home can be difficult. Some folks are better at math or cooking than design, and you know what? That’s okay. The world needs all sorts. It just so happens, however, that design is our area of expertise, and in our time in homes all around the Chicagoland area, we’ve seen the same design mistakes made over and over. Today we’d love to share seven common design mistakes and the steps you can take to avoid making them yourself.
1. Neglecting the function of a room
When it comes to design, most people focus on the form before the function. What is the purpose of this room you’re designing: is it a dining room? A study? How many people will you want to fit in this room? The function should always be in the back of your mind as you’re thinking of furniture, where it will be placed, and what accessories are necessary in the room. Remembering this will help to enhance the way you are able to live in this room. Furthermore, who says the room only has one function? Be flexible! Select furniture pieces that have versatility and are easy to rearrange; that way, the room can be multi-functional for many members of your family.
2. Forgetting scale and proportion
This pertains to everything! Scale means the size of things, and proportion is how those items go together with one another and in the room. Drapery, rugs, furniture, accessories…go too small, and your room looks sparse. Go too large, and your room looks small and cramped. Nowadays, with so many buying options out there, people will buy pieces in isolation without measuring them or thinking about how they will look with the other items they have for the room. Be sure to spend time selecting items that pair well together, both in size and style. You don’t want to buy a twelve person dining table for a room that can only comfortably host six guests. And you certainly don’t want to hang your curtains too low and make your ceiling seem shorter.
3. Investing in low-quality furniture
Folks, we can’t stress this enough. Don’t bother spending your money if you plan on getting a low-budget sofa that will fall apart and show wear on the fabric in less than a year. Talk about throwing money away! You’ll only end up being unhappy with the wear and tear and spend more money in the end, simply trying to get that “new” look again. By saving up a little more and investing in higher-quality pieces of furniture, they will stand the test of time and survive many kids birthday parties, anniversaries, and family holiday gatherings. Don’t go and blow your entire budget on a swanky side table and scrap together everything else.
4. Insufficient lighting
Lighting a room is a very important job. You have so many things to think about, from where light is needed most, to color and quantity of light. Living in the Chicagoland area means you also have to think about how the lighting changes outdoors from season to season. This is why we at Curtain Call Creations think that layering your lighting is the optimal choice. Think ceiling lights, floor and table lamps, lights with dimmer switches—this way, you’ll be able to adjust the brightness of your room based on time of day, mood or activity.
5. Arranging all furniture against walls
Can we say boring? Also, it’s not the only way to go! Don’t assume because you have a wall, furniture needs to be placed against it. Floating chairs in the middle of the room across from a sofa can enhance a conversation area. Leaving some space behind your sofa means you can fit a sofa table with pictures or lamps on it. Your options become so much more limited when you confine your furniture arrangement solely to the walls of a room.
6. Too many accessories/art
Similar to thinking about scale and proportion of your furniture, you have to think about your amount of accessories! You can easily overdo it when it comes to the amount of accessories or art in a room. If you have a larger amount of artwork that you’d like to display and the colors and styles pair well together, consider a well-designed gallery wall. Accessories look better when they are thoughtfully paired together, rather than all over the place. Furthermore, one to five framed pictures that are larger in scale will be a more powerful design choice than twenty smaller ones. Too many accessories or art pieces makes a room feel busy and cluttered, no matter how clean it is. Pick your favorite pieces and create a beautiful focal point with those, rather than trying to fit it all in one room.
7. Not testing paint colors
Sure, we know. That tiny little two-inch paint sample looks like the perfect color. But did you bring a little sample of it home with you and test it on the wall next to a few other options? The reason for doing this is that in a room, in different lights, paint swatches can look changed. What looks perfect on a swatch might be entirely too dark or too light for the room you’re painting. The colors might completely clash with your current furniture. The only way you’ll truly know is to try it out on the actual walls—more than one is recommended so you can see it in different lights and angles!
We hope that knowing these seven design mistakes will get you started in tying your beautiful home together. As always, if you find yourself needing some extra design help, give us a call at Curtain Call Creations! No design project is too big or too small for us!