5 Interior Design Mistakes to Avoid

We’ve all been there – You find something at the store and you think to yourself, “This is going to look amazing in my living room and I HAVE to have it!”  Then you bring this amazing piece home just to find out that’s it’s the wrong color, size or simply just throws the balance of the entire space off. The good news is interior design doesn't have to be so difficult as long as you know how to avoid the most common interior design mistakes we've all made at one point or another.

Interior designers have a trained and educated eye when they are out shopping. When we see something we love, we don’t necessarily believe that it is something we have to have in our home. In designing spaces, we consider all of the elements in the space such as color, lighting, room size, scale and layout. All of these things together create an effect and each piece brought into the room can either make or break the design. Check out our blog, "Principles and Elements of Interior Design."

The good news is that you can create a purposeful, balanced, harmonious interiors for your home!  But first, let’s take a look at 5 of the most common interior design mistakes to avoid.

1. Finding Your Focal Point

5 of the most common interior design mistakes to avoid

Your focal point is the first thing the viewers eye lands on and takes the focus off the less attractive elements in the room. In design, the focal point comes first and influences the rest of the rooms layout. One of the worst interior design mistakes is avoiding this first step.  FYI:  In larger rooms, more than one focal point may be necessary. But how do you choose your focal point?

Take a look at the architectural elements within the space. Is there a grouping of windows, a fireplace or an accent wall you can work with? If your still stuck you can create your own focal point with a large oversized mirror, painting or even a light fixture. If you have an eclectic collection of any kind, (whether is an antique collection of books, dinnerware or trophies) group them together on some shelving to create your focal point. I love it when I see this incorporated into designs, it always adds so much personality and character to a space.

Now that you know where you want your focal point to be, its time to set the stage for your focal point. The most useful tip I could offer is color and contrast. If the room is light, the color should be bolder, if the room is dark the color should be light. Consider the scale of your focal point.  if the items surrounding the focal point are small, the focal point should be large. The viewers eye is sure to land on a focal point because its larger in scale and creates more visual interest.

biggest interior design mistakes


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Set a realistic budget. Whether you have $50,000 or $5,000 it is so so sooo (I can’t stress this enough) important to SET A BUDGET in order to make design choices that STAY WITHIN YOUR BUDGET. Be realistic and honest with yourself. Whatever the amount is, you should be happy to invest it without feeling any guilt or regret.

Once you know the budget you're working with you can start planning your project. Start by specifying the real costs of the items you wish to purchase for your home. Categorize each list as furnishings, fixtures, and finishes. Remember to invest in the important room features, compromise so you don’t exceed your budget and try not to blow the entire budget on cosmetic changes. If you need to hire a professional for your project, be sure to get 3 quotes from different contractors, electricians, painters, etc.

top interior design mistakes


worst interior design mistakes

Next you'll want to create a concept board for your project.The concept board is casual visualization exercise.  Its offers visual results so you can get a feel for your design and even get feedback from friends and family before too much time is invested in the wrong direction.

There are lots of helpful tools for doing this quickly. If  have a Houzz account, you can create concept boards right from your account dashboard. Its so easy and fun to use! Morpholio is another really great app that features tools so that you can  track your specified products, your purchase total all while creating  a collage using the items you specified. No photo editing yourself. Its really great and could save you lots of time!

Start by grouping materials, fixtures and finishes on your board and then ask yourself: "Do they all have a nice flow?"If not, easily swap ideas in and out until your concept board conveys the feeling you want your design to incorporate.  You're shooting for balance here so be creative, and try to avoid being too matchy matchy.

Check out our shop this look blog for more concept inspiration!

worst interior design mistakes


biggest interior design mistakes

Now you'll want to create a floor-plan layout. Yes, that's right! Bust out the measuring tape! Start with the overall room dimensions and once that's complete you can start playing with the layout of the furnishings. Be sure to all of the major furnishing are to scale. This is another visual aid tool that assists you in creating a well balanced design, and it also ensures you don't spend any money and time on anything you don't love.

If you’re still having a trouble visualizing the space you'd like to design, or are simply overwhelmed with the process, our E-design services might be right for you! Its fast, affordable and saves you time.  After filling out our design questionnaire, you receive concept boards, floor-plan layouts, (to scale) elevation drawings, a curated shopping list, installation instructions and finally a personalized 3D Rendering for each design so that you can find a look you love, without spending money and time on anything you don’t.

5 of the most common interior design mistakes to avoid
Interior Design | Design Allure | Design | Projects | Tips and Tricks

IRENE Tokstad

With a loving husband and three amazing kids, Irene is committed to serving and supporting fellow community families of all shapes and sizes by helping them realize their home vision with innovation, integrity and passion.


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Design by Joanna Gaines from HGTV Series Fixer Upper.

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In designing a room, you DO want all of the pieces in the space to coordinate but they don’t all have to match. Coordinating rooms incorporate various textures, patterns and hues that all work well together creating balance for the interior.

My best advice in this area is for you to be bold and brave. When your wood flooring matches the color of your wood cabinets its takes over the space and feels off balanced. Brighten it up with a lighter cabinet color. Use a contrasting color such as an emerald green or a navy blue for your island cabinetry. Trust me…it’s all the craze right now!

Check out this years Color of the Year by Sherwin Williams Here! 

Most Common Interior Design Mistakes


Whatever you do, do not pick your paint colors before picking your fabrics for rugs, sofas, throw pillows and window treatments. If you do, you will regret it. Not only will it make selections difficult, but the design is bound to feel off balance. its best to play it safe. Once you find the fabrics you love, it’ll be so much easier for you to pick a paint color later. So go on a shopping spree, request fabric samples, and find what you love. Once you finish this essential step, THEN you can pick your paint color.

FYI - If you're prepping your home for sale check out our article on 5 home staging tips and tricks you should know.  

Most Common Interior Design Mistakes
top interior design mistakes


Asking your friends for input on color choices, fabrics and layout can be so helpful. However, too many strong opinions can overwhelm anyone. Design Allure offers E-design services that really help if it gets to that overwhelming point.

Just like a professional interior designer, you now have the tools to minimizing common interior design mistakes, you also know how to consider all of the elements in designing your space. Check out our Blog, Principles & Elements of Interior Design, for a more in depth discussion on all of the principles and elements of design.  Remember that all of these elements together create an effect and each piece brought into the room can either make or break the design.

biggest interior design mistakes


Thank you so much for reading our blog and feel free to comment if you have any questions or want to share some  mistakes you'd like to help others avoid!

Remember, you can create purposeful, balanced, harmonious interiors for your home!  And if you're still not sure where to start, we can help!

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