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10 Common Design Mistakes

Many homeowners, especially the new ones, make design mistakes. Some of these problems can involve bad paint jobs, bad flooring, overspending, over-furnishing, lack of focus, bad lighting, poor ventilation, and bad plumbing. You can avoid these problems by planning ahead or by hiring a professional.
10 Common  Design Mistakes

There are few things worse than finding out your whole design plan has flopped—after having put blood, sweat and tears into the project. It happens to almost anyone who tries to design a home for the first time. Not only does it waste your time and money, it also entails a long, stressful period of redesigning and repairs. That’s why it’s important to plan ahead and bring in some professional help, especially if you’re designing your first home. Here are 10 of the most common design mistakes made by homeowners—and how you can avoid them.

1. Wrong flooring. Most home design projects start from the floor up, so if you mess up your floor design, your entire project can’t work together. Because floors are the most abused part of the home, function and durability should be your top considerations. Wood floors may be attractive, but they won’t hold up if you have kids coming in from the pool all the time. The carpet may have seemed nice at the store, but you’ll think twice when you start getting stains and vacuuming enough hair and dust to make a new carpet.

2. Bad paint job. This is one of the most common design mistakes, but also one of the easiest to repair. Often, the color turns out a shade darker that it was at the shop, a product of the drying process and the reaction with the wall material. For really bad paint jobs, painting over is usually the best solution. However, adding an extra color for texture can be easier and may cover up mistakes better. Use a sponge or rub to apply the paint in an abstract pattern over the original layer.

3. Bad lighting. Lighting can make or break your home design project. Even with an excellent layout and impressive furnishings, all your hard work can be put to waste if it’s not illuminated properly. The first rule in household lighting is to make good use of natural light. Create lots of open space with large windows and doorways. Reflect the sunlight with large wall mirrors and glass surfaces. When you do use artificial lights, go for warm ambient lighting instead of bright daylight. Warm white shades usually work best.

4. Lack of focus. When you enter a room, your eye should be drawn to a single point of interest. If it isn’t, you probably don’t have a good focal point. A focal point is the first thing that catches attention, such as a fireplace, wall decoration, or a unique piece of furniture. Decide which of the things in your room are of most interest and draw attention to them. You can do this by positioning them in the center, or arranging the rest of your things so that they lead to a single spot.

5. Over-furnishing. It happens to a lot of new homeowners. They get so excited about furnishing their new home that they end up buying more than they need. Not wanting to waste any money, they try to cram everything into the home, even if it means having two identical couches, three different wallpaper patterns, and carpeting every room including the kitchen. Avoid this by planning your purchases ahead of time. Bring a list with you when you shop. If you find something you like that’s not on the list, see if there’s something you can cross out to accommodate it.

6. Bad plumbing and wiring. Designing may be a major job, but remember that your home should be first and foremost functional. Before laying out that expensive flooring or ceiling treatment, make sure all your pipes and wires are in place and working properly. If you’re designing on your own, have a contractor check your designs to make sure it works with your wiring plan. This is especially important with bathrooms, since wiring mistakes can be costly and even cause serious accidents.

7. Poor ventilation. Windows have to let the cool air in during hot seasons and retain the hot air when it’s cold. Simply drilling a hole in your wall achieves only one of these things, sometimes none. Have your contractor help you in placing your windows right. Get energy-efficient windows, which are treated with a special coating that reflects heat and light and prevents heat loss in the winter. If replacing or relocating your windows is not an option, install a small exhaust window over your larger ones to help hot air escape.

8. Misuse of space. Just because you have a small space doesn’t mean you have to give up design and functionality altogether. Sure, there are pieces you can never put in, such as that large statue or coffee table. But there are lots of alternatives that will play up your room’s strengths and camouflage its shortcomings. Make the most of your available space by creating an illusion of size. Move everything to the walls, make all your storage built-in, and create lots of open floor space in the center. Use bright colors and reflective surfaces to make the room seem brighter and airier.

9. Room for clutter. Clutter is a room’s worst enemy, regardless of its size. A home with stuff lying around just isn’t warm or inviting. Prevent clutter by organizing storage in every room. Make sure there’s a right place for everything, and make your storage areas easily accessible. The main reason that clutter accumulates is that it’s too much trouble to reach for the shelf and put something back. If you make the job easier, your whole family will cooperate and there won’t be any room for clutter.

10. Lack of budgeting. You’d think this is the easiest mistake to avoid, but many people still go over budget when designing their homes. A lot of it comes from impulse buys, which seldom get used anyway. Stick to a budget and don’t make any compromises, no matter how tempting. Try working with an interior designer so they can help you stay on track.