the 10 biggest design mistakes homeowners make

  1. not measuring the space. failing to measure accurately (or at all!) is by far the most common design problem out there. measure everything. it can be the most beautiful sofa in the world, but if it's too big (or just a bit too small) it can throw off your proportions and make it a very difficult to balance the room. 
  2. designing for someone else's lifestyle. if you have two toddlers, a clumsy golden retriever and spend your afternoons crafting, chances are that the pristine white sofa or moroccan wedding blanket rug are not in the cards for your home. same goes for the angular glass coffee table. design for the life you have and everyone will be happier with the results.
  3. not thinking about what makes you happy. love yellow? incorporate it into your decor! have a thing for elephants? let's find a way to weave them into your home. it's all about intentionally placing joy moments around your home, things that reflect your personality, passions and aspirations. a home is meant to be personal, not perfect.
  4. going with the trends. if there's a trend you love, by all means incorporate it! however, i frequently caution clients against choosing overly trendy items, as it can feel a little too cookie-cutter or make your home feel dated when it's no longer the hot item to have. if you want to incorporate trends, go for the less expensive accessories unless it's truly your thing. 
  5. focusing on matching. it's totally ok to put that parisian side table with a mexican rug, or that 1920s light fixture with a thoroughly modern sofa. think more about what "goes" together rather than what matches. this is how you get a home that truly has personality and layers. 
  6. not considering custom pieces. custom items get a bad rap as being difficult to procure, time-consuming to order or just overly expensive in general. trust me, this is not always the case. in fact, many custom furniture designers can save you money versus that "off the shelf" or "off the showroom" product. best yet, you'll have a piece that is fully built to your specifications, from the fill of the pillows to the color and durability of the fabric, not to mention it will be just the right size for your space. 
  7. you don't consider working with a designer. sorry, but it has to be said! designers are your friend in creating a home that makes you smile each time you walk through the door. contrary to popular belief, designers can save you major money, as well as unexpected headaches along the way. it's our job to manage and work within you budget, knowing what's worth splurging on, as well as the vendor connections that can help you save money by buying directly. 
  8. buying something that is "good enough." my personal rule is that if it is coming to live in your home, you have to love it. do not buy anything you're not head over heels enamored with. hold out for the items that really speak to you. on that note, if you do find something you love and it's even marginally within your budget, buy it. i've never regretted splurging on items i love and you can almost always find ways to save on other items that feel less important to you. 
  9. buying your art at ikea. no not all ikea art is "bad" per say. however, wouldn't you like to have something that feels bit more interesting and enlivens your space with a human touch? while everyone's budget is different, it's easier now than ever to find affordable, handmade art for your home. or consider creating your own art--it's amazing what good framing can do for even the most simple sketches.
  10. not treating your home as a living, breathing thing. your home should evolve with you and your different stages of life, as well as with your personal preferences. let's say your kids leave the house so you start entertaining more frequently. or you take up yoga and use your family room to perform your exercises each morning. or you get a big promotion but rarely cook at home anymore.  your home should evolve for this, as well as other more minor adaptions. don't be afraid to move things around, experiment, and most of all, have fun.