Using too many different materials and/or patterns can make the atmosphere of a space feel overwhelming and stressful. Try to keep with a clean timeless look and use accents of a pattern or color to bring flair to a room. Don't be too “matchy”; mix up your style and pieces. Buying all of your design elements from one collection or one store makes for an uncreative and uninspired interior. Take a little time to check out an antique store or artesian company to add interesting pieces. Also keep in mind that some of my best finds have come from another room in my house.
Improper use of Scale:
A very common mistake begins with mounting curtains to low. Aim to mount the rod as close to the ceiling as possible; it will make the ceiling look higher. If you are lucky enough to have real tall ceilings as an architectural reference, add a tall book case or cabinet to the room to accentuate the height. Using two small of furniture in small spaces is another improper use of scale. The volume of the elements in the room can trick the eye into seeing a larger scale and make a design statement more meaningful. An easy tip is to size the coffee table at 2/3 of the sofa size and place them 15 to 18 inches apart. When decorating with an area rug, be sure to choose a size large enough for the room and furniture in it. An under-scaled rug can make the room feel smaller and unbalanced. For example, a dining room chair should never fall off the dining room area rug when pulled out from the table. The same rule applies with the scale of the flooring you choose. A larger scale will actually make the room look larger and provide a better balance for the base of a room. Remember the rule of threes: if you can repeat a pattern three times in a certain space, the scale will work. Try using that larger tile format or wider planked hardwood.
My pet peeve:
Hanging art too high is a very common mistake. Art should be hung at eye level or a few inches below. A great rule of thumb is to hang your art work so its center rests at 60 to 66 inches from the floor.
Too little lighting:
When a room doesn't have the proper amount of natural light, you will need to bring in artificial light. The easiest way to do this is with lamps, of course. Installing canned lighting and solar sun tubes is another great way to add the proper amount of task lighting. Chandeliers are an expressive way to bring in more light, but many people choose a chandelier that is too small and hang it too high. How to get the perfect chandelier… start by measuring the length of two walls in the room you're going to be hanging it in. Add the feet dimensions together and you will get the diameter, in inches, of the chandelier. Another quick reference is to choose a chandelier that is half the size of your dining room table. Hang your chandelier 32 inches from the table.
Neglecting the Ceiling:
Don't forget your ceiling is the fifth wall or the “hat” of the room. Don't settle for boring white. Go for light or a medium tone mix of your wall colors. Mix 1/4 of the wall color to 3/4 white to get the perfect coordination. Use a pearl paint finish with a little luminosity or shine. Now you’ve breathed a bit of color into the room for a beautiful coordinated look that is unique and different.
Don't be afraid to take a risk and incorporate your personality even if it is a mistake. All designers have made some big mistakes, but some of them have turned into our most creative work. As your designer, I'll give you advice, but so will your mother, girlfriend, neighbor and any other person when you ask. But, you are the one who as to come home to your design every day, so the end result should reflect your personality and match your lifestyle.