You’ve shopped, painted, decorated, arranged, and rearranged—but something in your living room doesn’t look right. Professional interior designers can make any room look great because they know what not to do when it comes to arranging and decorating a home. You may not be a pro, but you can follow some interior design tips from the experts to figure out how to help your house look its best. Look like you know what you’re doing—expert or not—by avoiding these 8 common interior design mistakes.
1. Placing Artwork Too High
While artwork is a great way to bring color and personality to a room, too many homeowners don’t know the best way to show it off. Placing the artwork too high—or too low, for that matter—is a rookie’s design fail. It can disrupt the flow and cohesion of the room and feel unnatural to guests. Basic interior design tips recommend hanging art 8 to 10 inches over the furniture, or 57 to 60 inches off the floor.
2. Backing Furniture Against the Walls
This is an easy mistake to make, especially if you have a smaller room and want to maximize floor space. However, interior design tips from the professionals suggest the opposite: pulling furniture away from the walls makes the room appear bigger. Group your furniture together in the center to create an intimate gathering area and a sense of flow and purpose.
3. Choosing Furniture that is Too Big
Furniture showrooms are much larger than rooms in your house, so you might not be able to envision how much space a piece will take until you get it home. Furniture that is too big is a definite design fail that makes a room feel unbalanced, cramped, and awkward. Measure your room and every piece of furniture before you buy it, and make sure you know it will fit.
4. Everything Matches
At first, this probably seems more like a must-do than a mistake. But avoiding too much uniformity is one of the top interior design tips. A well-decorated room has variety and personality. Avoid stuffy uniformity by shopping for pieces from different sources. Instead of buying everything from a one-stop shop, add personality with unique artisan pieces like this sliding barn door.
5. No Cohesion
Too much matching is bad—and so is too much contrast. To create cohesion in a room, select a color palette before painting walls or buying furniture. Pick one color that inspires you and take it to the paint store for help selecting complementary colors. Make sure all furniture, decor, rugs, and paint colors, including contrasting pieces, fit within your scheme.
6. No Focal Point
Rooms with no dominant focus point fall flat. To fix this, pick one thing you want people to notice when they first enter a room. It should be something large, like a fireplace, bay window, piano, antique furniture, or a unique piece of art. Design the rest of your room around this piece to create a thoughtful look.
7. Poor Lighting
Of all the expert interior design tips, one of the most important is to make sure a room is well-lit. Professionals recommend layering light with three sources: natural light from windows, overhead light from light fixtures, and additional brightness from floor and table lamps.
8. Buying a Too-Small Rug
This design fail sets the rookies apart from those who know how to style a room. In a living room, a rug grounds the seating and connects the room. A rug should always touch all pieces of furniture—place the front legs of each piece on the rug.
Great design isn’t just for the pros. By following these interior design tips—and avoiding common mistakes—you can put together a beautifully decorated home.