Home » Interior Design » 20 Common Interior Design Mistakes To Avoid in 2023

Interior Design Mistakes

Faced with the sheer beauty of any well-designed space, no one can deny that, interior design is an art in itself. A professional interior designer has to acquire professional education, then spend years unrelentingly honing and practicing his skill and creativity to be able to expertly transform people’s lives through the correct designing of spaces.

However, some issues crop up time and again while crafting spaces. These oversights can be avoided with a keen understanding of the design principles. The intensive online course on ‘Interior Design Essentials’ by designer & entrepreneur Rose Sprinkle (from Rose Staging & co.) can help you quickly pick up the basic principles of interior design. You can access the learning videos and the course workbook for free by creating a Foyr Community profile.

Even better, you can get in touch with Rose herself and many other professional interior designers in Foyr Community. The free membership lets you ask questions, seek mentorships, share ideas, and even search for jobs.

Read also – 10 Essential Tools for Interior Designers

20 Common Interior Design Mistakes To Avoid:

1. Scale

One of the most common interior design mistakes we see is the wrong scale.

Too many small things in a room can make the room look cluttered and messy. Similarly, overloading bulky pieces in a room makes it stuffy.

skale - interior design mistake

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The trick is to mix the scale. A “skyline” of different heights, shapes, and types of pieces keeps the room interesting.

Similarly, the proportion is tricky to get right. Just because you have a small space does not mean you need to buy small furniture. No one wants to feel like Snow White in the house of seven dwarfs!

One large statement piece of furniture will hold your room together.

Read also – 10 Best Client Management Tips for Interior Designers

2. Arranging Accessories

Still, holding onto your grandmother’s porcelain figurines that you can’t stand? Time to let fly and find something that you genuinely enjoy to adorn the house. Too many heirloom pieces make your room look dated.

arranging accessories to avoid interior design mistakes

Image Credit: ubuy.coid

Too many heirloom pieces make your room look dated.

If there are keepsakes you do adore, scattering them throughout the house is downright lazy and random. Instead, break the accessories up into small clusters. And arrange them in groups of odd numbers on ring-trays.

Add one large piece into the vignette to anchor everything down and bring out the details of the smaller ones. Again, a mix of different heights, textures, and shapes will yield the most engaging display.

Read also – 10 Powerful Networking Tips for Interior Designers

3. Hanging Art

Art can be striking and absolutely stunning. Unfortunately, also why the mistakes tend to be glaring.

interior design mistakes - hanging art

Image Credit: homezop.com

The first mistake some interior designers make is going for the wrong size. Don’t be intimidated by size! Bigger is almost always better. A too-small artwork can look silly, while a grand-scale art can become the room’s focal point.

If you want to put more than one piece, experiment with the placement, and scale till you find one that looks balanced.

Remember, as a general rule, eye-level looks the most natural.

Read also – 40 Best Online Furniture Stores To Shop Trendy Furniture

4. Fabrics First

Loving that robin-egg blue lacquer on your living room wall, but are now left with no other option than white to complement the wood used and the wall paint?

Unfortunately, this is a mistake many designers and homeowners end up making.

Many factors in the home decor keep evolving, and putting something as permanent as the wall color first is risky.

Which is why we recommend you budget your buys and pick out variables such as fabric for curtains, rugs, sofa, and chairs first and then proceed to pick out a color for the walls from the shades in the material.

It is also easier to find wall paint that compliments the room’s fabric, texture, and lighting than the other way around.

Read also – 15 Problems Most Interior Design Business Faces


Image Credit: noissue.co

5. Color Color

We love a Scandinavian interior that makes you all comfortable and snug! However, white is poised, empty is not.

Neutrals are chic but only when done right. If not, it can leave the living space feeling grim and harsh.

What makes Nordic designs cozy is the layering of warm colors and textures. All neutral furnishings with white walls and no warmth end up looking insipid and unfinished.

color - interior design mistake

Image Credit: alghuraircentre.com

Bring in some accessories and artwork. Throw some paint colors like Cook’s Blue for some zing! So pick up some colors, splash them on the rugs, pillows, curtains, and maybe even a few shelves, just not all together.

Read also – Color Theory in Interior Design

6. Add Character

Pinterest brings the latest design trends to our fingertips. However, it also brought long the movement of cookie-cutter interiors where all spaces started to look similar and forgettable.

It may be easier to copy a Pinterest board as is, but it will not speak to you. Adding your personality to your home is what will make it truly personal and meaningful.

Like gardening?

Read also – 10 Best Home Garden Ideas

add character

Image Credit: aryacandles.com

Add that rug from the time you went holidaying in Turkey to your master bedroom. Make your home tell your story!

To get the most curated house that is all you, learn to take it slow. Add pieces as and when you fall in love with one. We said before, interior design is an evolving process. Let it grow with you.

7. Focal Focus

A room without a focal point floats about with no corner or scene to catch your interest for long.

A focal point doesn’t just elevate the beauty of a room, it anchors your room. A focal point is a space from which all other activities of your room radiate.

focul focus

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A visually prominent feature in an open plan helps center the attention and make the room feel connected.

A large piece of artwork, paneled walls, animated wallpapers, or a large indoor tree are some foolproof ways to create a focal point in a room design.

Read also – 20 Best Wall Decor Ideas

8. Right Light

Lighting can make or break a room. So starting with plenty of natural light, make sure to equip a room with adequate, well-planned secondary lights next.

Lighting being left as an afterthought or last-minute haphazard addition is the biggest mistake you can make.

right light

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Another mistake is using cheap fixtures with no dimmers or installing lighting that’s just enough to provide basic brightness. This results in a glaring bright or dimly lit dull house with no ambience.

Lighting is as much aesthetic as it is functional. The trick is to layer lights to form soft glowing pools of lights. A balanced and creative installation of ambient lighting like table lamps, task lighting, and accent lighting ensures a comfortably lit, beautiful home.

Read also – Best Kitchen Lighting Ideas

9. Wall to Sofa

Leaving gaps between furniture and walls makes the room airy and light.

wall to sofa

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conversations awkward but makes the central empty space feel unutilized.

A proper layout that centers the seating space with pathways around, lets the room breathe and makes the space look larger.

If you have a small living room, trying separating the sofa and the wall with a floating shelf or console table for a break in space.

Read also – 10 Best Furniture Design Software

10. Wrong Rug

A rug is an integral part of your room décor. Getting it correct can uplift the allure of the entire room.

Choosing a rug that’s too small is not only a faux pas but also makes your room look smaller and messy. There are simple design tips that can get your rugs to flourish in any space.

Rule one is to make sure it’s the correct size. By this, we mean that rugs should come under the front half of every piece of furniture that rests on it in the living room.

wrong rug

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Suppose you are late to the game and already own a gorgeous small rug. Fret not, for there are ways around rule one. Taking the carpet right back to the “sofa wall” makes it an intimate part of the seating layout and not of the whole living.

Assuming it’s even smaller, all’s not lost still. Hero your coffee table with the rug under for a centrepiece in the room!

Read also – 30 Best Traditional Living Room Ideas

11. Metal and Layers

Who doesn’t love metallic accents? But it is easily possible to overdo metals.

While a chrome floor lamp can look dashing, pairing it with a chrome chandelier, chrome coffee table legs, and chrome accessories is displeasing.

Too much metal, unless it’s warm like brass, can take away the warmth from a room, making it clinical and austere.

However, natural and organic materials like lines and jute interspersed with metals can tone down the rigid aura.

Read also – 14 Best Living Room Interior Design Ideas

metal and layers

Image Credit: unsplash.com

12. Room Measurement

You found a gorgeous piece of accent chair from your local thrift store. You are excited, you are going green, and you couldn’t be prouder. But then, you reach home to find that it completely upsets the scale of your room.

room measurement

Image Credit: archisoup.com

A big part of a successful interior design process is planning; this includes accessing your floor plan and measuring the remaining elements of your home.

A new piece of furniture should not just fit, but be comfortable to use, and leave adequate space around for movement. This can save you precious time and money.

Read also – The Average Bedroom Size for Master Bedroom

13. Picking Form Over Function

Form follows function is a distinguished architecture principle that finds application in interior design too. the rule of thumb dictates the outer aesthetics of an object should be in line with its purpose or use.

picking form over function

Image Credit: sarkina.com

A home design that’s right out of Architectural Digest may earn you plenty of praise and envy too, but if it doesn’t enrich and facilitate your daily life, it’s pretty much a waste of resources.

How you intend to use the room should determine picking the furniture, paints, accessories, and every other room element.

Read also – 14 Best Rustic Bedroom Ideas

14. Overlooking Details

A simple decorating mistake that can easily be avoided is the lack of attention to detail.

overlooking details

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A beautifully crafted, fully functional kitchen will fall flat on its face if fitted with ugly, mismatched fixtures.

Similarly, minutiae like curtain tie-back, well-chosen switchboards, placement of dustbins, knobs on drawers, the throw pillows on the sofa, etc., can be easily overlooked but will adorn the house delicately if paid attention to.

Read also – 10 Best Kitchen Remodeling Ideas

15. Match All

Your dream home must reflect who you are.

match color palette - design mistakes

Image Credit: pinterest.com

However, if you are crazy about blue, we don’t condone covering every available surface of your room in shades of the sky. A matchy color palette is a dated trend that we hope never comes back.

Mixing and matching styles are fun and adds depth and interest to your space.

It also makes it easier to get a new addition or replace an old one. Just make sure you maintain a balance to stop your home from looking at a gallery opening.

Read also – 11 Best Home Decor Ideas

16. Boring Entryways

An error many designers make when working n a home is underestimating the importance of an entryway.

boring entryways

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An entryway is the first thing your guests see when they enter the house and the last thing they take away when leaving. So give this alcove the loving it deserves.

Hang a handsome art piece complete with stellar overhead lighting. Throw a plush area rug down. If your entryway has a mudroom shelf and storage, make sure you give them a suave revamp and fit them with some sleek accents.

Remember, the entryway sets the mood for your entire home.

Read also – How To Revive Your Interior Design Business Post-COVID-19?

17. Big on Cheap

Buying cheaper pieces for your home may not always be the most frugal.

big on cheap - interior design mistakes

Image Credit: westelm.com

For one, if you fill your home with ratty furniture sets, they will need swapping out sooner due to regular use and wear. However, a good quality item will last you years.

Similarly, instead of filling up your space with inexpensive goods, consider investing in a single, worthy piece.

This is where the aforementioned slow living pictures in; let your home waiting for you. Keep an eye out for good bargains, yard sale finds, and antique stores, and collect accent pieces gradually. Grow together!

Read also – 9 Ways To Incorporate Interior Design Style In Your Home

18. No Plan

We have already seen how planning is essential for purchasing the correct size of furniture pieces. However, this is not limited to the size of furniture alone. Often designers and clients are at discord due to improper communication and organization.

no plan - interior design mistakes

Image Credit: newnorth.com

Often designers and clients are at discord due to improper communication and organization.

Planned and organized furniture placement and house layout offer a smooth flow of movements, a winning color scheme, cohesive design styles, and improved functionality.

Irrespective of the size or scope of a design project, proper planning with regards to requirements, timeline, budget, preference, etc. will lead to frictionless project completion.

Read also – 11 Amazing Home Decor Trends 2023

19. Pillow Pile

Who doesn’t love plump, cloud-like pillows? But how much is too much?

While you can take some liberty with the pillows placed on the bed, it’s better to stick to minimal numbers when it comes to the sofa.

The trend of piling pillows on sofas and armchairs has thankfully ebbed away, leaving our seating clutter-free once again.

pillow pile - design mistakes

Image Credit: pinterest.com

By leaving the sofa looking sleek, the throw pillows are free to shine on their own. This is also a place where you can indulge in a few exquisite throw pillows.

Read also – How To Create Amazing Mood Boards For Interior Design?

20. Window Woes

Curtains play a crucial role in the luxurious softening of the rooms. But they are also super functional. This is why there are many ways window treatments can go wrong.

Hanging draperies at the right level are essential to make the room look tall and spacious.

Some cut the curtain length at the sill level of half windows, making the window look shabby and even smaller. However, curtains that are too long trail along the floor miserably, making them look droopy.

We love old-school glamor. But done incorrectly, curtain pelmets can look dated and drab. So it’s prudent to stick with concealed or a soft pelmet at the most.

Read also – 20 Wonderful Pool House Design Ideas

Image Credit: unsplash.com


So, while room for error today is low, to err is human. The best way to deal with mistakes is to learn from the ones committed by others. Catch up with other interior designers on Foyr Community. You can not only have meaningful conversations but also seek mentorships and suggestions.

Foyr Community also offers courses and learning modules created by professional interior designers. Access them for free by signing up today.

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