Home Decor-ible: Common Problems in Interior Design

The home is where the heart is - so why expose it to bad design choices? Houses all over the world suffer from misplaced furniture, unappealing patterns, and unfortunate accessories. No one ought to be viewed as any less of a person for their lack of design expertise, but people are less likely to spend time in a room that's unappealing for any reason, severely limiting your living space and comfort. Take back your home by being aware of some of the most common problems that plague interior design.

Size Does Matter 

Contrary to popular belief, a huge television is not what your living room needs. While larger pieces can draw the eye, trying to fit too large a table, couch, bed, or T.V. into a space can make a room clunky and unbearably small. Conversely, small pieces can leave space feeling empty or awkward. Stand back and view the room from an outside perspective to get a feel for these too-large, too-small effects.

Rule of Thumb? Just because something can fit through the doorway does not mean it should go in the room. Measure everything before you buy it. Spending an hour twisting objects or taking doors off isn't what most would call "quality time" with others.

When picking out furniture or accessories for your home, choose pieces that are to scale with each other, as well as the room that they are in. In this action you will create cohesion and a more pleasing flow. Living room carpets, for example, should be big enough so that every couch or chair can rest its front two feet on the material. In the event that you want a particularly larger focus piece, however, make sure that it does not overtake the room or your other pieces in the design.

One's Trash is another’s Clutter

Mismatching your furniture can create an eclectic, fun look that's in line with today’s styles. Unfortunately, many take that idea too far. Filling your home with unique pieces can often serve to make it look like a consignment shop. Clutter is not attractive, and living in a home that's too busy has been shown to cause significant health problems.

Rule of Thumb? When looking for quirky pieces to reflect your style, balance recycling and reusing with rethinking and reducing. Ask yourself the question: "Do I have a special connection to this piece that makes me bias to whether or not it "fits" in this room or home?"

Eclectic pieces should be used to highlight traditional styles or furniture. Use them to create a room’s focus points that are inviting both to you and your guests or as conversation pieces. Most quirky furnishings have interesting forms and textures. Match them against clean, contemporary lines to emphasize them and add sophistication to the area.

Reach for New Heights 

We exist in a three-dimensional world, but some homeowners have forgotten this when furnishing their rooms. This faux-pas comes in three varieties - furniture, wall-art, and lighting. With improper layering techniques in any one of these areas, a room can feel flat and unwelcoming.

Rule of Thumb? Rooms are like an onion - they smell if ignored and they have layers. Stagger the height of your furniture and your wall art, so that the eye can be drawn up. This makes a room seem more spacious.

Staggering your furniture can be simple with a few auxiliary pieces. Bedside lamps can be visually uncomfortable without a headboard to help pull the eyes upwards, and setting family photos in abstract clusters can create a dynamic, personal touch to a home. Don’t content yourself with an improperly lighted home, either. Bringing in lamps or lights on tables, floors, or walls, as well as the ceiling, can greatly add to the atmosphere of a room.

Living in a Bubble 

Whether or not a home has an open floor plan, decorating each room with an isolated theme is the quickest way to achieve a tacky, disjunct home. This is especially true in the general living spaces of the home like the kitchen, dining room, and living room.

Rule of Thumb? If the only thing that connects one room to another is the door, you've got a problem. Find at least two design choices consistent between adjoining areas of the home. Some room color continuity is certainly ideal as well.

When decorating adjoining areas of a home, try designing the space as if it was one room. Use similar colors, shapes, and materials (glass or wood, for example), which will even out the rooms, making them more uniform. That said, don’t be too consistent. Creating carbon-copies will make rooms uninteresting (admittedly, it's a fine, subjective line). Introduce unique elements to each room to clearly define their use and individuality.

Beauty before Paint

Painting is one of the most inexpensive ways to update your home. A fresh coat of paint can breathe new life into an area. However, if you are choosing to completely redesign a room, painting first can create unnecessary headaches as you try to find furniture or accessories that match the color of the walls.

Rule of Thumb? Paint to compliment your furniture - do not find furniture to compliment your paint. There are lots of paint colors and they're (almost) always in stock!

Designing a room requires both focused planning and flexibility. Sit down and plan out what elements you want a room to have - try bringing together fabric samples and paint swatches to see what compliments each other. Invariably, something will not work in your initial design. Saving the painting for last allows you to check the color against everything that will go in the room, rather than repainting if your decor changes.

Invest in your Things 

For the most part, saving money is never a bad idea. Unpredictable expenses, like medical bills or Girl Scout Cookies, are less of a burden when you have money tucked away. However, there is a difference between saving money and buying cheap. Cheap items often require repeated replacement purchases. 

Rule of Thumb? If it can withstand dents, scratches, tears, stains, or explosion, the purchase is often worth it.

High-quality furniture can be expensive, but buying cheap furniture can cost even more. Replacing those neat-looking coffee tables or bed frames takes time, as well as financial investment. Sturdy, durable furniture that can last a lifetime is often easier to reupholster or paint, if you want to update its look. Be prepared to put most of your design budget towards a few key pieces, and then look for bargain accessories.

There are so many benefits to being smart/thoughtful about your home decor. With informed decisions about your home design, you can save both space and money, as well as have a space that reflects you. Don’t be content with living in a sub-par space -- start turning your house into a home today! 

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