Home design mistakes often come with a lot of consequences – poorly designed interiors that have all the style of a prison cell. Homeowners start with good intentions, most only wanting to create peaceful and intimate spaces in their own homes, yet with one simple design mistake they can turn these rooms into dark, drab, and tacky crime scenes. OK, that might be a bit of an overstatement, but you get the point.
If you are set on doing a home redesign of your own, you would greatly benefit from learning a few of the ideas you should avoid, and below you’ll find the worst of them.
Junk Shop Chic. You have accumulated a lifetime of precious objects – pictures, figurines, and snow globes. And you surround yourself with these memories, displaying them on every available surface in your home. But instead of creating a cozy and inviting space, all this clutter makes your home look like a junk shop holding a sale. You may love your collection of Elvis dolls, but putting all one-hundred figurines on display creates a claustrophobic room. You need to de-clutter.
Take all of your collectibles and accessories out of the room, leaving only the furniture. Next, go through your collection and pick out your ten favorite items. Bring these back into your room and display them on bookshelves and end tables. Then go back to your collection, pack everything else in a box and place the box in the attic or garage. After a month or two, you can rotate the accessories you have on display. Just be sure to rotate – for every new item you bring in, take one old item out. And remember that a clear space leads to a clear mind.
The Beach/Jungle/Safari/Pirate Room. It seemed like a good idea at the time; you love the beach, so why not turn your living room into a seaside retreat? You painted waves on your walls, hung a large stuffed fish over your doorway, and stuck a seashell into every spare comer of your room. Yet the result of all this effort is a room that looks like a child’s playground – a busy and overactive space better suited to afternoons of pretending rather than nights of relaxing. Keep your room clear of all the gimmicks; toss out the five-foot lighthouse in the comer.
Instead, keep most of the elements in your room theme-free. Paint your walls a solid blue and skip the seasickness-inducing waves. Relegate the stuffed fish to the garage and hang pictures of your watery friends on your walls. Limit your seashell collection to five or ten, and group them together on a table or in a hurricane glass. These few touches of nautical elements will make your room look like a seaside cottage – and not a nursery school.
Furniture Gallery. Your bedroom looks perfect. Your dining room could be the main feature in a magazine. So why does your living room look like an amateur designed it? Odds are, the furniture in your living room is pushed against the four walls, creating a space that resembles a furniture gallery. This is great for traffic flow. No one in your home will ever bump into a chair in the middle of the night. But this furniture arrangement does not create a cozy space; furniture galleries are rarely comfortable. Move your furniture away from the walls.
The easiest way to arrange furniture in a living room is to group the sofas and chairs around a coffee table. Place your table in the middle of the room. Move your couch to one side of the table, keeping it no more than 17 inches away from the table’s edge. Then place two chairs opposite the couch, again keeping them within arm’s reach of the coffee table. You have just created a furniture grouping, the coziest of the furniture layouts. No one will ever try to buy your couch again :-).
Gravity Defying Art. You love your new painting, and you want everyone to see it. So you move it far away from your furniture and accessories so as not to distract from the painting’s beautiful colors. You hammer in a nail high on the wall and hang your picture on it. And the frame touches the ceiling. This explains why everyone who visits your home leaves with neck pain – your pictures are hung too high. Pull all those nails from the wall and start again.
Hang your pictures at eye level; the center of the picture should be approximately 57 inches off the ground. Your picture should also be tile right size for your wall. A small painting will be lost on a big wall, and a huge painting will overpower a small room. Try placing your picture above a piece of furniture or a fireplace; the furniture underneath the painting anchors it, creating a grouping that is pleasing to the eye. Just remember that a picture should never be larger than the object you place it over.
Everything Looks Better in the Dark. You think your dark bedroom is romantic. Your living room isn’t pitch-black, it is moody… and you probably leave your house wearing two different shoes every once in a while :-). You may be saving a fortune on your electricity bills, but you can’t see anything in your home after the sun sets. The end of daylight-saving time turns your home into a dark cave, and those single bulb fixtures cannot fight back the darkness. You need to let in the light. Install lighting in your home.
Three types of lights illuminate a room: ambient, accent, and task. Ambient lighting will be your room‘s main source of light. Your ambient light fixtures could be hanging chandeliers, pot lights, or floor lamps. Next, add in your accent lights. These fixtures shine their spotlights on paintings, fireplace mantels, and wall recesses – they illuminate your room’s features Install sconces, track lighting, and flood lights and aim their beams at your room’s focal points. And last, task lights brighten up your work spaces, illuminating your computer or kitchen counter top. Popular task lighting options include pendant lights, desk lamps, and tabletop lights.
The world is a stressful place; your home should be your sanctuary. You deserve a retreat from the world, a place that brings you joy and peace. You might have made design mistakes in the past, but you can turn over a new leaf using this new found knowledge.