No matter how many hours you spend scrolling through Pinterest to create the perfect design plan for your home, bringing it to life isn’t always as easy as clicking the “pin” icon. DIY design can give you stunning—and affordable—results, but in the words of Miley Cyrus circa 2006, “everybody makes mistakes.”
Whether it’s a wonky-looking painting, a couch that doesn’t quite fit, or a rug that’s so busy it makes your head spin when you look at the floor, it’s not uncommon for rooms to have a “whoopsy-daisy” component to them. The good news? With the help of interior designers, it just takes a few little tweaks to get your space into tip-top shape.
Read on as designers share the biggest mistakes that they see people making in their homes—and the super-simple ways to fix them.
Choosing the wrong sized rugs
“Rugs—especially in a small space—can really ground a room, but if you cover too much area, they can actually make it feel much smaller,” says San Francisco-based interior designer Christina Higham, who notes that having an appropriately proportioned rug is key. The fix? Consider the size of your seating area, and plan for your rug to be that big. The rest of the space can remain uncovered, and that blank floor space will help to open the rest of the room up.
Hanging art in the wrong place
“I think a common mistake is hanging art too high,” says Higham, who admits she sees this everywhere (even in her own friends apartments). “I think art should always be hung at eye level, so usually that’s between 5’3″ and 5’8”.” Looking for a little wall-art inspo? Check out these woven options, which will make your home feel like a full-on yoga studio.
Holding onto knickknacks
“One design mistake that I see some clients make is holding onto an item, from their old space, that doesn’t fit with the new aesthetic,” says Nicole Alexander, founder and principal designer of Chicago’s Siren Betty Design “Unless a piece holds significant or emotional value, it shouldn’t be incorporated into a fresh design.” She notes that if you choose to work with a designer, this willingness to toss your old stuff goes hand-in-hand with trusting their vision for your new space.
Getting too matchy-matchy
“A common design mistake I see a lot is the desire to have everything match too well,” say Homepolish’s Melanie Burstin, a Los Angeles-based interior designer. “I’d avoid purchasing a bedroom set or making sure all of the wood in your living room is the same type of weathered tone.” Instead, she suggests mixing and matching pieces to add a little variation to your space.
Getting caught up in trends
Being too of-the-moment is the biggest mistake Homepolish’s Kerry Vasquez, an LA-based interior designer, sees. “I always urge my clients to go simple, classic, and neutral on the bigger pieces, and then you can always accessorize with a few trendy smaller pieces that are easier—and cheaper!—to replace or switch out,” she says. “Choosing things you love is never a mistake, just make sure you really love it and you’re not buying it because you think it’s cool right now.” In other words: You won’t regret the choice in five years.
Using the wrong lighting
“People tend to over-light or under-light their spaces, or they pick the wrong temperature lightbulbs,” says interior designer Shelly Lynch-Sparks, founder of NYC design firm Hyphen. An easy fix? Dimmers. “Dimmers make a huge impact. People think it’s so complex to change out a dimmer, but it’s really not.” Seriously though—mood lighting is possible, no electrician required.
Over- and under-scaling furniture
“Buying a piece of furniture that’s way too small or way too large for your space is a common mistake,” says Lynch-Sparks, who often sees people buying furniture that they just assume will fit, or not taking into consideration the physical space they’re trying to fill. Bottom line? Always, always use a measuring tape.
For even more inspo to get your space into tip-top shape, scroll through these ultra-bright rugs that will work in (almost) any room. And if you’re not interested in an at-home overhaul on your own, here are 5 reasons hiring an interior designer is totally worth it.
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