In my online interior design business, I often see myself repeating a few reasons why things haven’t been looking coherent or actually finally feeling “right”. The biggest thing you will notice is that many of these things could have saved you time and money if you had thought about them before actually starting any decorating project or room revamp.
Below is my list of the most common mistakes that are stopping you from achieving a coherent, gorgeous looking room. I hope this can help you rescue that room that bothers you or helps you embark on a decorating journey with confidence and ease.
1. You didn’t “design” it
Non-designers usually forget that having a clear design intention usually makes for a pretty successful project. Decide on a style, idea and focal point in the room and make design decisions based on that idea, before you start any work. If you have already started, step back and think of one. This means you might end up removing certain things you have already bought for the room – hopefully you held on to the receipt.
2. The function isn’t clear
Most people don’t have the luxury of space, therefore they use one room for multiple functions. That’s ok, as long as the function has been thought about and designed for. Usually a desk is blocked in a corner and that desk is used for everything. The danger of that is, that the junk pile starts to grow as that’s the best location in the room to put things. Getting clear on the function, means that you allocate enough or as much space you can to complete the task properly or comfortably. If it doesn’t fit, its not really practical.
3. Not using or collecting examples
Many people will usually have a good idea of the things they like or don’t like, but they don’t usually find specific images that represent their intention. Without this, (or the ability to draw very well) they can’t communicate their idea to anyone, well unless they are exceptionally good at charades.. Pinterest usually has fantastic images that can help you describe your idea. It is really important to have a clear image that is a representation of your finished room. Use this as your inspiration and a tool to pick things in your current room that aren’t working.
4. Buying on emotion
Most people buy on emotion. This means they walk into a store that has been very well designed and purchase all of the matching items hoping they will all fit just as beautifully in their own home. Sometimes, luck will have it and it works. Most of the time, this isn’t the case and you will waste lots of money buying trendy items that you don’t use at all, or use for a short time before you get bored of them. I have to admit, even I have been weak and bought on emotion. I have had some shockers!
5. Not considering storage
I will usually question all of the potential uses of a space and wonder where things will go before I start any work on the room. I also question the items that are going to be stored and gather information about your behaviour and and personality. Well designed or thought out storage in any home means the difference between mess and no mess – and we all want no mess. That’s why storage is critical.
6. Not considering timescales and future growth
Every time you start a new decorating or design project at home, ask yourself “How long do I expect to want this room to be pink?” Long lasting designs will require long lasting materials and furnishings, short-term ones will usually make do with cheaper alternatives.
7. Believing everything needs to be brand new
This is huge! So many of my clients believe they have to spend lot of money or falsely believe their project will cost a lot of money in order for it to look right. An experienced and / or good designer should be able to help with any project, big or small. If you aren’t experienced in this area, try and get some help from a pro. Houzz have a free Q&A section where you can ask a designer ANYTHING and I also answer questions on my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/InventDesignCreative/
8. Not researching options
Yes, most people want the industrial style loft apartment or the rustic shabby chic look, but are they really going to work in your suburban home? I’ll always do the research on a style, to ensure what I am doing is right on target and pick elements that can work with the architecture you already have. Don’t forget to look past or through the first image you see, and imagine how this will look at home.
9. Test, play and have fun
One of the most fun things I can think of is designing a room. But that room has been to China and back (figuratively speaking) by the time you see it. Get it wrong, play around, this is how you get experience. The best advice I ever got was to go see places for real, or the next best thing is to go into shops and check out their displays. Shop displays have good budgets and great design tips, so go get some ideas but stand back and look at the bigger picture. What things have worked together there? (This is not a chance to buy on emotion – see step 4) Analyse what you can, learn from the step up and why it works.
10. Ask for help
Most non designers believe that they cannot afford an interior or architectural designer. Not getting help from a professional can sometimes cost more money or waste time in the long run. I have found that people who don’t get any help usually never finish their project, which is really sad. You can get free advice as mentioned above or look around for some 1:1 attention. Often an expert will be able to tell straight away what is missing or lacking or “not right” with a room and having it finished and feeling perfect, might just be worth that £250.