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How to Avoid Common Design Mistakes

In my line of work I see a lot of the most common (and some not so common!) design mistakes. As a matter of fact, they are often the reason I'm called in for assistance.

Pulling a space together "looks" simple enough - especially with the burden of HGTV today. I say burden intentionally because these reality shows are often not realistic and can fool people into believing they can create their dream space as easy as 1-2-3. I'm here to tell you that it's not always that easy, so this month I'm providing a few simple tips to help you avoid some of the most common design mistakes.

Tile Stopping too Low:

Production (versus custom) builders will sometimes try to cut corners in order to save money on materials when they can - this is probably why the "not-quite-to-the-ceiling" shower tile was created. Taking the tile to the ceiling in your shower will make the space feel seamless because the materials are consistent from floor to ceiling. Your shower will feel larger and more luxurious - so splurge on that extra few bucks of tile, it's worth it! And while you're at it, keep the flooring material similar in tone to the wall tile and you'll really make the space stretch visually.

Artwork Installed at the Wrong Height:

Hanging your art correctly is an art form itself. When it is done well it blends perfectly into your décor, but when it's not…well…it looks like a bad haircut…you just can’t look away. And while art “should” be hung at eye level, we are all different heights, so what is correct? A very simple rule of thumb is that the center of the piece (or the grouping) should be roughly 60″ from the floor.

There you have it. Now go get your measuring tape and check what’s hanging on your walls.

Curtain Panels are the Incorrect Length:

Ideally, your curtain rods should be hung as close to the ceiling as possible, just below any crown molding. This is a design “trick” to make the room look taller, BUT, it means you will need to get longer curtains…and yes, you’ll spend a little more moola on those extra inches. Trust me though, it’s worth it in the long run. Your drapery panels should just kiss the floor or skim no more than an inch above it.

Furniture not the Correct Size:

If you have a large room, you should have large-scale furniture and more of it. If you have a small room, you should have smaller scaled furniture. When you try to put large furniture in a small room (or vice versa), it’s going to look awkward. It's like trying to wear an outfit you wore in college – it might fit, but it ain’t pretty. Enough said.

There Isn't Enough Lighting:

So many of today’s rooms have overhead (ambient) lighting solutions. This is great when you need to clean the room – this type of lighting is very functional and illuminating. But to live and spend time in a room, accent and task lighting are key components to making the space feel warm and inviting.

Whether a lamp for reading, a chandelier illuminating your meal, or using under-cabinet lighting for your food prep, the height of the lighting should be appropriate for the task at hand. This also adds a nice “layer” of lighting into the room…one that most of us look better in too, rather than sitting in a harsh, overhead glare.

So there you have it. These are the most common design mistakes I’m seeing these days. I’m sure they will change in the future, but for now, you know how to avoid them. Go forth and conquer your room. And if you're still feeling unsure, or something else feels askew, give me a shout and I can assist you in avoiding and overcoming your design challenges.

Much Love,



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