Home Blunder Series: Common Interior Design Mistakes (Part 2)
October 3, 2023 - Michelle Murphy
Welcome to part two of MMID’s Home Blunder Series!
If you were with us for part one of the series, you’ll remember our discussion on a few common interior design mistakes. From the tricky task of choosing paint colours under deceptive store lighting to ensuring furniture not only fits the space but also the lifestyle, we discussed the importance of looking beyond aesthetics alone.
As we continue our journey in part two, we’ll explore even more areas where we might unknowingly err in our design decisions.
Without further ado, let’s dive into some more design blunders (and how to turn them around).
Common Interior Design Mistakes
Understanding and anticipating common interior design mistakes means that you’ll be able to make more informed, thoughtful, and successful design choices.
Mistake #4: Over-cluttering Spaces
We’ve all visited a home where every surface seems covered with trinkets, photos, knick-knacks, and furniture. It starts out innocently enough - a decorative vase here, a sentimental photo frame there…
But soon, these items multiply, and before we know it, our spaces become overwhelmed.
Why Organization in Design Matters
Clutter isn’t just an aesthetic concern - it has psychological implications too. In fact, research has shown that cluttered spaces can lead to increased stress, feelings of confinement, and decreased productivity.
On the aesthetic front, a room drowning in items can feel smaller and less cohesive, which detracts from the overall design intent. Allowing for “breathing space” in design gives our eyes places to rest and helps highlight focal points.
What You Should Do Instead
In design, as in life, sometimes less truly is more. Here are some tips for incorporating organization into your design:
Start With a Clean Slate: Once in a while, clear everything off your surfaces and reintroduce items one by one. This will help you think critically about each object’s value and purpose.
Categorize & Organize: Use storage solutions like decorative boxes, baskets, or cabinets to group similar items. It keeps things tidy and can become a design feature in itself.
Rotate Decor: Instead of displaying everything simultaneously, rotate your decorative items seasonally or based on your mood. This not only reduces clutter but keeps the decor feeling fresh.
Being intentional about what we bring into our spaces and how we display it creates rooms that feel expansive, welcoming, and uniquely our own.
Mistake #5: Neglecting Ceiling & Floor Designs
When it comes to interior design, our attention is often drawn horizontally. We focus on wall colours, artwork, and furniture, but sometimes forget to glance up or down, which leaves the ceiling and floor untouched.
Why Top to Bottom Design Matters
The floor and ceiling serve as the foundational elements of a room and create a frame in which all other design pieces reside. Think of grand spaces with intricate coffered ceilings or boutique cafes with patterned tile floors. These design choices don’t just complement - they elevate the entire experience.
What You Should Do Instead
Check out these tips for making sure your ceiling and floor don’t get left behind!
Think Beyond White: For ceilings, consider soft shades, subtle patterns, or even textured finishes like beadboard or wooden beams.
Flooring Fundamentals: Move beyond the basic and explore options like herringbone wood patterns, decorative tiles, or even coloured concrete for a modern touch.
Lighting is Key: For ceilings, recessed lighting, pendant lights, or even chandeliers can be game-changers. The way light interacts with your ceiling’s design can completely transform the mood.
Rugs, Rugs, Rugs: Rugs aren’t just for comfort. They can be used to segment spaces, add pops of colour, or introduce new textures and patterns to the floor.
Remember, every inch of your space has the potential to reflect your style and vision. By giving equal love and attention to these often-neglected areas, you open up a whole new world of design possibilities.
Mistake #6: Ignoring Room Flow & Foot Traffic Patterns
Have you ever walked into a room where you’ve had to twist, turn, or sidestep just to navigate your way around?
It’s surprisingly common to focus on aesthetic placement of furniture and decor and overlook the simple paths we tread daily.
Why Room Flow Matters
In addition to preventing minor accidents or awkward sidesteps, room flow is about creating a harmonious environment that aligns with our natural movements. A well-planned room enhances comfort, accessibility, and the overall living experience. It’s the difference between a space feeling inviting and spacious versus cramped and confusing.
What You Should Do Instead
Here’s how you can keep your rooms flowing freely:
Start at Start: Before introducing furniture, walk through the room and map out the natural paths you’d take from one point to another. This will give you a clear idea of primary traffic routes.
Keep Major Pathways Clear: Ensure there’s at least 36” of walking space in walkways and main traffic areas. Be wary of placing large furniture pieces in these paths.
Consider Sightlines: Along with physical movement, think about what you want to be the focal points in rooms. Avoid placing tall items, like bookcases or large plants, in direct line with these points.
Dual-function Furniture: Opt for pieces that can be easily moved or serve multiple purposes, such as ottomans with storage or nesting tables. This gives flexibility in accommodating different room setups.
Placing emphasis on the natural ebb and flow of a space makes our environments more functional and harmonious.
And just like that, Part Two of our Home Blunder Series is finito! Hopefully, you feel like you’ve gained even more tips on how to curate a home that’s both beautiful and functional.
Eager for more common interior design mistakes? Stay tuned for the next chapter in MMID’s Home Blunder Series!
Until then, happy designing!