Interior Design Mistakes

After years in the interior design industry, we have seen a ton of great design ideas! Dahl House Design has picked up on tips, tricks, and great ideas. We have also seen our fair share of mistakes and pitfalls.

Hopefully this list will help you avoid many common interior design mistakes that we have seen or even experienced ourselves!


1. Rug Size 

Getting a correctly sized rug for your room can be difficult. The most important thing is to bring your “area” together on the rug. The area can be a sitting area, a bedroom arrangement, a dining room, etc. In most cases, it is best to err on the bigger side. As long as the rug fits in the room with some border of the floor showing, it can make the room really come together. Some people have the misconception that a big rug will make a room seem smaller but it really makes the room more inviting and it’s a great way to define an area. 

2. Sparse lighting

Many times when we go into interior design consultations, lighting is one of the first things that we notice. Overhead lighting is great but people tend to neglect ambient and down lighting. Floor lamps, table lamps, spotlights or track lights on accent areas, and dimmers are all great ways to control the lighting in your home. Overhead lighting is not always the most flattering, so having other sources of light helps tone down harsh light.

3. Hanging art

Art height is hard to get right. Common mistakes are hanging too high or too low, where people can’t get the full effect of the piece. A good rule of thumb is to hang the art at eye level. Before you make too many holes in the wall, trace the size of the art piece on cardboard or paper and tape to the wall to get an idea of height and placement. 

4. Sticking to a certain style 

At Dahl House Design, we run into this all of the time with clients. If your house is mid-century modern, that doesn’t necessarily mean that everything in your home needs to be that style. Same with traditional, contemporary, etc. It is great to have a base style but that doesn’t mean that everything you own needs to fit into that box. Stick with things you like and what speaks to you. If a certain piece will clash with your style, of course we would advise to go a different direction. But if art, accessories, or furniture can work together and blur the style lines, that makes the design much more interesting! Nobody wants a home that looks like a showroom. 

5. Drapery heights

This is an often over-looked aspect of design. Mistakes happen when people hang the window dressing right above the window or have drapes that aren’t the right height. If at all possible, interior designers will recommend hanging the drapery rod as close to the ceiling as possible. This makes your ceilings look higher, the window look larger, and the drapery hanging to the floor makes more of an accent. 

6. Furniture scale

Furniture sizes vary so much. Many of the clients will think that if they have a small space, they need miniature furniture. Of course you need to take into consideration how much room you have and what will fit in your room. But buying really small furniture can also make a small room feel even tinier. On the other end of the spectrum, really over-sized furniture in huge rooms seem daunting and uninviting. It is all about finding balance and what will work in each space. 

7. Over decorating

As interior designers, we love the idea of decorating and accessorizing but there are times when we have seen overkill. Again, knowing what each space is used for, style, and statement pieces all come into play. But too many accessories or throw pillows can make the space too busy. It is a great idea to showcase collections or things that are important in your home but every wall does not need a statement piece; every bookshelf doesn’t need to be stuffed. Less is sometimes more. In a room, your eye needs a place to rest so focal pieces don’t need to be overdone. 

8. Furniture against walls 

Furniture is obviously a huge part of every home, often times it is the most functional part of a design. Many interior designers will say that this mistake is one we see all of the time. Sometimes furniture has to be pushed against a wall for space planning reasons. If it doesn’t need to be, don’t do it! Groupings of furniture are much more inviting and pleasing to the eye. Pushing furniture up against a wall may seem to create more space and make a room seem bigger but usually it just does the opposite; creating void spaces and awkward furniture groupings. 

9. Not reflecting your personality

Style, fads, statement pieces, and accessories are all great but if they don’t reflect you, they don’t belong in your home! Interior design all comes back to who lives in the home. If you don’t love your design, then you won’t feel at home. We always strive to make our client’s homes an extension of who they are. 

10. Not asking for help

Mistakes happen when you design without a plan.We can’t say that enough. Even if you don’t hire Dahl House Design for your interior design, don’t go into design blindly. Ask family members and friends for advice. Figure out what kind of styles and designs speak to you. Think of your dream home and the things you can’t live without. An interior designer can be much more affordable than you think and can help you space plan, shop, pick paint colors, and much more. We are trained to see the “whole picture” and strike that balance of design and functionality that will make your home uniquely yours.