Top Interior Design Mistakes You’re Making & How to Fix Them

Award-winning interior designer Lisa Holt shares about the top interior design mistakes and how to fix them



Transcription: Hi guys, today we’re going to go over the biggest mistakes interior designers, see all the time and how you can fix them really quickly. This came from a question from one of my subscribers, so I’m super appreciative and I love answering questions like this. So, let’s get to it!

Every client I’ve ever had had at least one, if not a number of these things kind of going wrong in their space. It was one of the reasons they called me. It’s hard to know which of those things are really kind of making the biggest problem for you, so I’ve sort of lined them up in terms of priorities on how to think about this.

If you think this is going to be helpful, for you be sure to comment down below and please share with a friend who also might have the same problem, the number one item that I always see is their idea of scale of furnishings is completely off. I’ve talked a little bit about this before.

In fact, if you check out this video on small spaces, that’ll give you some tips on understanding a scale story when you have a really tight situation, but what if your space is really big? You end up having the same problems with that as well.

One of my main tips that I want to give you guys is to don’t do anything until you’ve made a plan. Literally, I mean a floor plan. Okay, now in one of my very earlier videos, then I’ve done you can go ahead and take a look at that, and that shows you how to do a plan.

It’s very simple. You simply draw the plan up on a piece of paper mark out any doorways or windows that might be affecting your furniture layout and then look at what your furniture sizes are. Do you have a six foot sofa? Do you have a 96 inch dining room table? What do you have, or what do you need that you want and then you’ve got to put it all in plan first.

The second thing that I see wrong, literally almost everywhere I go – is area rug sizes. Now this pertains, of course, if you have a hard flooring area, rugs are either too small or too large, or they have furniture falling off of them. So it’s kind of a crazy idea to think that you’d buy an area rug and have half of a chair sitting on it. But it just never looks right because, when an area rug is built to delineate the space into a combined furnishings area or a specialty grouping within a larger space.

So here’s the solution for area rugs. You go to a vendor who sells wall-to-wall carpeting, and then you pick out a pattern that you really like that would go normally wall-to-wall. Then you have it ordered in say 12 by 18 or something, and that will be the area that you need for your furnishings and what will really surprise you is that there are great-looking roll good carpets like say this or even something even funner. I don’t know that’s a word, but even more fun, like a houndstooth check that can be done in an area rug, it looks custom and it delineates your conversation grouping properly.

So another one that I see a lot when you’re hanging your artwork. You want to make sure it’s not too high or too low for people in the space, because you may have a fabulous base with like a a 14-foot ceilings or something or you may be living in an apartment with an eight and a half foot ceiling. Either way you want to make sure that the artwork relates to the viewer alright, and not to the space.

So what you want to do is the center of the piece should be somewhere between 60 to 65 inches above your floor. Okay and the reason that works so well is because 60 to 65 inches is very close to kind of their line of sight.

Now, for instance, if you have a super big like an art poster or something that’s going say above the back of a sofa and if it’s super tall and if you were to hang the centerpiece, the bottom would be touching the sofa back. Then naturally, you’re gonna move it up a few inches, but don’t take it too far up because there’s a relationship between the back of the sofa and something as big as a large artwork statement.

The second thing about artwork that people tend to do wrong is there’s just too much of it. I love a good gallery wall. I do them all the time. If you’re doing a piece or a statement that has more than three pieces to it. Stop at that. Okay, because you want to make sure that the artwork or the sculpture or whatever it is you’re hanging on the wall feels special and to do so, you can’t crowd it and you can’t overwhelm it by having too many things the same or just different.

So the third biggest mistake that I see a lot is people making the wrong decision about their white paint. Oh, my god, I could write a whole book about white paint and how to work with it.

So let me give you an example of what I’m talking about. When I mean the white is off, there’s four whites here, there’s this guy, which is what I call a super white and then on the other end here, there’s what I call a more balanced white. Some people might even call an off-white, but not really. I could show you off white and it would be another story now, I’m filming this video in rather cool light, it’s about 4000 Kelvin, most people don’t have 4000 Kelvin in their house, they’re usually going to have around 3000 Kelvin or lower.

If you are living in a space that has cooler lighting or daylight a lot of it, you want to make sure that you stay on the warmer end of the white, and the biggest mistake I see with people is that they opt for these cool whites.

Now you always have to look at white in your or proper light that it’s going to be seen in so check out this video on how to select paints and that’ll. Give you the whole skinny on using the right lights when you’re in the selection process. All right, but the second thing about it is, is that cooler whites tend to make things look a little less healthy. Shall we say a slightly warmer white tends to bring out the red tones and natural skin colors. It’s why we don’t paint bathrooms in greens and blues because we go in and we look sick.

So that’s just a little side note, because we’re talking about whites right now check out my video about how to pick paints, and it’s always err on the side of just slightly warmer than maybe you even think if you feel like the smaller segment of this is too warm.

So the next mistake I see a lot, is people have a lot of stuff and they leave it out and clutter is one of those kinds of taboo things. Any more than three objects in a visual grouping together is almost more than the eye can take in.

So if you walk into a space and I’ve done this a hundred times, there’s stuff stacked on tables, you know for a long time, stacked books, look really cute, but honestly, stacked books is really crazy making because it’s just a ton of different visual statements, all lined up together and it can’t help, but look messy if you think you’ve got too much, you can guarantee that you do.

So walk over to any space that you’re in and grab the first thing that you see and take it out, alright? Then try it again, do it three times. And by then, if you haven’t sort of tamed the drama or the craziness, that’s going to stay on your coffee table in the center of your dining room. In your kitchen, in your dresser, in your bedroom, oh in your bathroom, on the counters, any of those places are easily spaces where things can get out of hand quickly… Give that technique a try, make sure that you’re, just not over de coring things. That goes for your walls too.

So another really common issue I see and actually has come up a lot in the comments down below which I really appreciate you guys asking about is window treatments. You know they’re kind of tricky and they’re very. What do you say? Specific but here’s one quick rule to always consider when you’re doing drapery never have them hanging above the floor, and you always want to try and hang the rod as high up as you can, so that it gives us close to the ceiling as possible, which gives you an experience of height now if you’ve got a 12-foot ceiling.

You already know that I’m not hanging your drapery at 12 feet, although I have, but what you really want to do is make sure that you create a nice long feel to the drapery, if you’re buying panels that, for instance, you can get online like you know, Through Target and and all kinds of vendors there’s lots of places where you can buy prefabricated panels a lot of times, they’ll only stop at a certain length like 102 or X number of inches.

So here’s the trick with those: if your ceilings are say nine and a half feet high, what you want to do is you want to get the longest panel. You can get and then take the hem out and repin the hem.

So, hang them as high as you can and they’re gonna be too short because they don’t make them any longer than that. But if you undo the hem and drop it as far as you can, even if you have to have a seamstress put a little bit of lining on the bottom so that she attaches it to it. So it gives it a little bit more length and you get the last little centimetre out of that fabric panel itself.

It’s going to look way better because every time I go into a home – and I see drapery – that’s sitting – oh my god, 3/4 inches off the floor. I go. Did they shrink when you got them cleaned, it’s never looking, but he wants and people pick it up, even if they don’t consciously pick it up. They go there’s something wrong here and we need to fix that.

For those of you who have regular-sized ceilings, don’t buy the normal size, you would buy the slightly longer one and you can take the hem up. Okay, so here ‘s the ticket is that if you’re buying prefabricated panels, you can always play with that hem.

Just a little bit your rule of thumb, for where you put that drapery rod, if you want to give yourself about 4-5 inches from the ceiling max and that’s where that rod goes and then the drapery hangs from there like? I said if you got really high ceilings. You’re probably gonna have to custom your drapery, which is another story altogether, but they’ll come out and measure to the floor, and that won’t be an issue for you.

So the last thing that I’m gonna touch on today is lighting and I got ta say you’ve asked a lot of questions about lighting. Thank you. I love it and it’s a big subject. So I’m gonna do another video so make sure you’ve got your Bell on for when you get notified about that one, because that’s gonna come up soon, because lighting is a big subject. So what I’m gonna give you today is three tips.

So here’s the main thing which is you want to have ambient lighting and that can either come from overhead or at least three sources in the space that shine light in all directions.

The second one you want to have is you want to have task-oriented lighting so, for instance, if you’re in the bedroom you want to be able to read in bed. I know I do, or maybe you read in your living room if you’re in the kitchen, of course you need lighting on that countertop.

And then the third item that you want to consider is art or feature lighting. You can actually get our light. That shines down on an art piece. You can angle something from up above. You can even use floor lighting, oh and I’ll link to this down to below. I love this one, this one’s great and it shines up onto an item or I love backlighting plants. Those are the three kinds of lighting that you want to make sure that you have at all times.

The fourth thing that you want to make sure you have is the ability to adjust the lumen level or the light level in the space. I just basically use rule of thumb is put everything on a dimmer, but sometimes that’s a little expensive so make sure that the pieces that are ambient lighting can go up and down so that if you really want to be able to clean in your dark corners, you know in late afternoon, you’re gonna turn those lights up as light as as bright as possible and get into those corners or if you know, if you’re having a little bit of a romantic evening – and you want to turn those lights down to say, candlelight level put them on a dimmer.

You can always turn them off too, because you’ve got two other light sources in the room, but dimmers make it a little bit more controllable for what you want at the time. That’s the tips on lighting for this video and then, like I said, I’m gonna be doing another video all about lighting so be sure and send me plenty of comments. Just ask me anything you ever wanted to know about lighting, maybe LED means, I don’t know what to you. So let me know: ok guys so there’s a bunch of stuff that I’m gonna link down below there’s also a couple of videos that you should check out from this video and then be sure to subscribe. Ring the bell – and I love your comments. So please comment for me and I will be happy to answer your questions and I look forward to seeing you next week.

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