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Let’s be honest: design mistakes happen, even to professional designers. Some of them require hindsight to identify. (Avocado-hued kitchen appliances, anyone?) So if a renovation is in your future – or if you’re just planning on updating a room, DIY-style – what can help you elude design mistakes in favor of décor bliss? How to Avoid Common Design Mistakes If you’re hiring a professional designer to oversee your new décor, he or she will take over some of the planning for you. Of course, you can always insist on your own way. Or change the color scheme as you go. Or raise and lower the budget at will. But this will leave you with a very frustrated and unhappy designer. So take these items to heart, whether you’re doing your own thing or hiring a pro.

  1. Have a Plan and a Budget. Before you start hiring or buying, have a plan and a budget in mind. A bit of leniency in the budget is good, since unexpected expenses do pop up from time to time. But have a definite figure in mind. And give some thought to the space you’re redoing – what will it be used for? What colors do you like? What atmosphere are you trying to create? This will give you (and your decorator) a good starting point.
  2. Avoid Impulse Buys. Buying on impulse is fine, if we’re talking games or movies or a bag of chips. Décor items, not so much. And while that celadon-and-cream striped sofa might speak directly to your soul, it may not go so well in the design you’ve chosen for your living room.
  3. Don’t Crowd. This can mean furniture, knickknacks, or just stuff. Fitting oversized furniture in a small room is as bad as cramming a bunch of furniture into a large room. If your space is multi-purpose, consider setting up distinct zones – a spot for eating, a place for TV watching, an office area – with some open space in between. This will help avoid the cluttered, unfocused feel of a purposeless room.
  4. Avoid Extremes. Matchy-matchy is bad; its opposite, total randomization, is just as disconcerting. This applies to color choice as well. Too much white will make your guests feel like they’ve entered a hospital or a space ship, while too many bold and competing colors are a step too far. For a balanced yet personal look, choose a neutral wall color, and limit statement colors to an accent wall or to accessories.
  5. Pay Attention to the Lighting. If you hire a pro, this will probably be done for you. The goal is to have an appropriate amount of light for the purpose of the room. And yes, there is such a thing as too much light; using dimmer switches can help you fine-tune your lighting.

Following these tips will not only help you avoid common design mistakes, they’ll give you a coherent space that reflects your style. image: Shutterstock