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Karen Gastle

As an interior designer, your business is your reputation. That’s why you want to ensure that you’re doing the highest quality work you can for your clients. After all, word travels fast, and if a client is unhappy with your work, the news will seem to make the rounds even faster. Maintain your reputation by avoiding these 5 interior design mistakes.

5. Ignoring Scale

Not paying attention to scale is often considered the number one mistake in interior design. Some people put too many small things in a room, while others will crowd a space by filling it with big, bulky pieces. Still others forget to mix it up to create contrast in heights and sizes: Some rooms will seem to be filled with items that are all the same height. The best-designed rooms look like cityscapes: A mix of towering skyscrapers with smaller, shorter buildings.

4. Starting with Paint

This is an amateur mistake, but too many people still make it—even professional interior designers. They start by putting paint in a room. Maybe that’s because painting needs to be done before you move anything else in (it’s messy work), or maybe because the idea of having the freshly painted walls as a canvas or backdrop is appealing. Picking the paint colour can therefore seem like the best starting point. There’s a rule about this, though: Don’t.


Instead, buy your textiles and fabrics first. By doing this, you’ll be able to match paint colours more precisely, and to pull on or mute colours in the textiles. The paint is the piece that will pull everything together, so figure out what the foreground pieces are before you settle on the background.

3. Leaving out Character

It can be very tempting to try and recreate what you see in the showroom at a store. After all, someone has put some thought and effort into the design, and sometimes the pieces all just seem to work together. But moving the showroom look into a real-life space is going to make your living room or bedroom project look like, well, a showroom. When everything matches, your room will lack character. Instead, mix it up. You still want the pieces to work together, of course, but they should come from a variety of places and a variety of collections to give the impression they’ve been accumulated according to the tastes of the owner. And finding those pieces that work together is half the fun!

2. “Floating” a Rug

You’ve probably seen it before: Someone has placed a small area rug in the centre of the room. The rug doesn’t touch anything; there’s a space between it and any piece of furniture or wall. The rug appears to “float” in the room. This can make a room look unbalanced faster than just about anything else, so always anchor rugs by ensuring that they’re large enough to reach the front legs of the furniture. That way, your rug will appear to be “pinned down”—and part of the room’s cohesive whole.

1. Not Asking for Help

This is probably the biggest mistake in all of interior design. You feel that, as the designer, you’re the creative genius; you’re supposed to have the “vision” and the know-how to get it done. You might feel that means you need to come up with all of the ideas. But sometimes, you really need someone else to help you—whether it’s to decide if a piece is working or not, or simply to give you a new idea. Don’t feel you have to do it all yourself or in isolation.


How Business Management Software Can Help Design Firms Stay Organized

Karen Gastle

As an account manager, Karen has experience working with design firms of all sizes to integrate DesignDocs to streamline business processes, increase administrative efficiencies, and deliver higher profits.
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