We’re living in an HGTV world, and people are demanding more and more out of their homes these days. But if you’re trying to give your house a facelift this spring, you’re all too likely to find out it’s as easy to get it wrong as it is to get it right. Here are five of the most common interior design mistakes homeowners make — and how to avoid them.
- Picking Paint Colors First
There are nearly endless variations to choose from when it comes to paint colors, but that’s exactly why you should choose other major elements of a room first. Start with a chair or drape fabric that you love, and then choose a paint color that complements it; it’s a lot easier to find paint that’s just one shade lighter or has a bit more gray in it than it is to find that kind of variation in fabrics or accessories.
- Shopping Before Budgeting
People often want to browse to get a sense of their style without worrying about the price tag, but unless you’ve got an iron will or deep pockets, that’s generally a bad idea. Set your overall budget for your project before you ever flip through a catalog or set foot in a store. If you really want to be organized, keep a spreadsheet so you can enter in budgeted and paid amounts for individual items — that way, you can make adjustments among different elements while making sure your bottom line remains the same.
- Buying Everything Brand New
The matchy-matchy look for home furnishings is out. What’s more popular these days is a curated eclectic look, meaning you want even a newly decorated room to look as if it evolved into its current state. One of the best ways to get that feeling (and save a little cash) is to pick up a few antique or just plain used pieces and refurbish them. Just be smart about your purchases, since a couch picked up off the side of the road could bring some unwanted creepy-crawlies with it.
- Disregarding Function
Interior design is about more than looks; it’s about function, too. You should spend just as much time thinking about how a layout will affect traffic flow in your home as you do thinking about how it looks. And if you’re being tempted by a beautiful piece of furniture that’s so uncomfortable it will never get used, have the courage to just move on and look for something that offers a better balance.
- Not Asking for Professional Help
Most people overestimate the cost of professional interior design services. Hiring an interior decorator or designer (slightly different things, since interior designers generally need a higher level of training) can actually be more affordable when you take into account that their expertise can save you quite a bit of money. You’ll probably be happier with the end result, too.
What other design mistakes do you see on a regular basis? Join the discussion in the comments.
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