We've all visited homes where the interior design felt exactly right. And we've all been in homes that got it all wrong. Not everyone has an eye for design, but anyone can make home a better place. And sometimes all it takes is a tweak here and a nudge there. That's why we wanted to share these 10 interior design tips, to help you avoid the most common design mistakes. And guess what … they don't require a major investment.
Design Tip #1: Move Furniture Out
Furniture against the walls looks and feels awkward. So move it out a few inches, or more than that and add a table behind. Even in a smaller room where furniture against the walls seems like a space-saving trick, the opposite is true. The subtle play of light and shadow gives any room a more spacious feel when there's room to breathe between furniture and the walls.
Design Tip #2: Raise Artwork Higher
There was a trend in the 90s that encouraged people to move artwork lower. And while it's true that paintings and prints hung too high throw a room off balance, artwork that's too low does as well. Interior designer tips recommend keeping artwork at eye level, so everyone can enjoy your art.
Design Tip #3: Use a Larger Rug Under Furnishings
Think of a rug as an island. You need room to walk without falling off the rug and into the sea. With this in mind, interior design tips suggest selecting rugs that give ample space to walk around furnishings. (Read: Tips for Finding Inexpensive Rugs)
Here are some simple tips on how to position your rugs:
- With open floor plans, a rug is a great tool to define and separate (zone) one space from adjoining spaces.
- With two sofas, the rug needs to be evenly positioned between them.
- In a big open space, the rug should sit under the front legs of both sofas.
- Under a dining table, allow room to pull out a chair while staying on the rug.
- Under the bed, the rug should be anchored at the foot where people walk.
Design Tip #4: Ditch Boring, Forgettable Lighting
Most homes are built with yawn-worthy lighting installed. It functions, but that's about all it does. Replace outdated lights with statement lighting, and you've got a brand new feature in the room. (Read: 7 Surefire Ways to Refresh Your Space)
Design Tip #5: Skip Mini Furnishings in Small Rooms
It's natural to think diminutive when furnishing a small room. After all, you don't want to overwhelm the space. But furniture that's too small makes the room look even smaller. Work with standard size pieces and use fewer of them, if necessary.
Design Tip #6: Be Who You Are
One of the biggest interior design mistakes is decorating for looks alone instead of for yourself. A white interior might look gorgeous, but it can be a nightmare to keep clean. Beautiful but uncomfortable furniture won't make anyone happy. Stick to your nature, and you'll love the space you're in.
Design Tip #7: Mix Prints and Patterns
A matching theme throughout the house is one way to get a cohesive look, but it's probably not the look that you're after. HGTV says repeating the same fabric pattern on drapes, pillows, upholstery and other items tends to look tacky instead of stylish. Instead, mix up patterns and colors. Learn what the pros say about mixing patterns.
Design Tip #8: Hang Drapes Properly
Each room has its own best way to hang drapes. If they're short, they should hit the window stool instead of dangling halfway down the wall. And if they're long, they should just reach the floor. Use a rod that's wide enough to reveal all of the window glass when they're open, and mount the rod above the top trim; all the way to the ceiling is a great way to give the illusion of height.
For more tips on where to hang curtains, read Installing Curtains: Where Do I Hang Them?
Design Tip #9: Store Unattractive Things
If you use a stair climber or elliptical machine, that's great. But the living room isn't a great place to keep it. Out-of-place items need their own home. If you can't devote a room to exercise equipment or other not-especially-attractive things, think about building out from a wall to create a closet.
Design Tip #10: Collect Ideas for Inspiration
Interior design isn't the easiest thing to get right, but professional designers use a few staple techniques to pull everything together. That's often the difference between a room that looks perfect and one that's just not right.