Hiring a designer does not need to be expensive, but still, it is not always within reach of everyone. This is one of the reasons I decided to write my blog-I think that great design should be accessible to all, regardless of your financial situation! So if you can’t bring a designer in on your project, how do you make sure that your DIY project avoids the most common mistakes? Here’s a list to help make sure that you end up with a space you love, and not one that you end up having to bring someone in to fix afterall:

Mistake #1: Choosing the Paint Color First

5 Common Design Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

This is done so often, it almost deserves its own blog post! Of course, the decision of the color for your walls is a crucial one, and by all means if you have a color palette in mind that you love that’s great, but don’t let choosing the paint be the first thing you do. Instead, choose your big, statement pieces first. For instance, in your living room choose your sofa, rug, etc. and then work off of these items when choosing paint color. And remember: paint color can be easily changed, much more so than furniture, so don’t be afraid to experiment.

Mistake #2: Choosing the Wrong Size Rug

5 Common Design Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

When selecting a rug for your living room, say, make sure you don’t go too small. It is a common mistake to choose a rug that seems like it will be the right size (“4’x6’ seemed so big!”) but then ends up looking like a beach towel in the room. This is one instance where it will save you lots of headache by pulling out that tape measure and taking and accurate measurements of the room. Then, think about what furniture you would like to have/currently have in the space. All of it should be sitting on the rug. If that’s just not feasible, the front two legs of large pieces like sofas should be on the rug, and definitely all four legs of smaller pieces like coffee tables.

Mistake #3: Curtain Length

5 Common Design Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

While pants that hit the leg mid-calf might be everywhere in stores and online, this doesn’t mean that they they’re ok imho. They have the unfortunate ability to make everyone’s legs (even supermodels) look shorter and stubbier, not to mention that half the time they also give the impression that the clothes have somehow shrunk in the wash. Same thing goes for curtains: drapes should fall all the way to the floor. They can skim or puddle a bit if you want a more luxurious look, but never ever have them hit somewhere mid-wall. This will make your ceiling height look lower and visually shorten the length of the walls. Nobody wants that!

Mistake #4: Matchy-Matchy

5 Common Design Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Of course you want your space to look pulled-together, and that means that all the pieces need to be in sync with eachother. However, this does NOT mean that they all need to come from the same shop. Think about your own wardrobe-you most likely shop at several different stores and take items from each to create an outfit that’s uniquely YOU. The same idea goes for your home. A bedroom “set” with matching dressers, side tables and bed has no personality and doesn’t say anything about its owner other than s/he did not put a lot of thought into the space. Instead, take your time! Find a bed you really love, get it in the room, and then find some bedside tables that compliment it. Or vice-versa! Step-by-step, piece by piece build your room into one that you love.

Mistake #5: Neglecting Lighting

5 Common Design Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Most rooms come with at least one light on the ceiling-and too many people rely on this one spot to brighten the entire room. In order to create a space that feels truly finished (and warm and inviting), choosing the proper fixtures is key (and it’s a lot easier than you might think and doesn’t have to break the bank). Ideally, choose a combination of overhead, ambient and task lighting. In other words, a statement pendant lamp, floor lamps, and a table lamp or two. That’s it! And get a handyman electrician to come in and put the overhead light on a dimmer. This will allow you to control the level of light in the room, and everyone will look their best 😉

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