1. What are the top five design mistakes people tend to make when trying to reinvent a room?
Picking the appropriate furniture. Consider the scale of the room before purchasing any items. Measure, measure, measure. The last thing you need is to get the furniture into your space and then realize it’s too big, or worse yet, it doesn’t fit through the door because you didn’t measure the door opening. Once it is in the space however, you want it to feel proportionate to the room. A small sofa in a large sitting room will just get lost, while a big leather sofa in a small apartment might be too overwhelming and make the room feel heavy. Do your research and pick pieces that will compliment the space. Maybe a sectional would work better for the larger room, while a nice neutral sofa will be just the thing that will make that small room like a million bucks! If your at all indecisive, choose the classic pieces so that you can move them from room to room and when your style changes your big pieces wont have to.
Knowing where it all goes. Placement of your furniture and accessories can help dictate the overall look and feel of the room. Don’t place all your furniture directly along the walls. Let it float. Put a set of sitting chairs opposite the sofa or even invest in a great chaise that can sit perpendicular. Placing artwork at the appropriate height to the wall (eye line should be roughly 60” from the floor with 8’ walls) will create more of a balanced look in the space and by accessorizing in groups of three you can keep your prized possessions looking well thought out and artistic.
Forgetting about layering texture and pattern. Texture and pattern is the part that gives a room personality and stops the room from looking too flat. Silk curtains, a patterned pillow, or even a nice linen wallpaper or paint treatment are all things can give the room dimension and make the room more interesting.
Going too matchy matchy with your furniture. Just because the furniture you like comes as a set doesn’t mean you have to purchase it that way. Mix it up a bit. Consider going with a white lacquer bookcase and a wood coffee table in your living room or a leather sofa paired with a beautiful upholstered armchair. This will diffuse the “I didn’t know what I was doing” look.
Lighting issues. I cant say this enough, but lighting is the single most important thing in design. If your lighting is off, the entire look will be off. Invest in low wattage bulbs and dimmer switches and when in doubt, always put at least one table lamp in every room. I even have them in my kitchen and bathroom!
2. What are the top five color mistakes people tend to make when trying to reinvent a room?
Picking the appropriate lighting for you paint color.
When choosing a color consider your lighting. Some rooms face south and get bombarded with light, while others face north and are lucky to get much at all. Likewise, some rooms are small, while some are so big you can get lost in them. The trick is to create a harmonious balance, between color and light. If you have very little natural or artificial light in your space and you paint it a dark color, chances are the room will look smaller. Make up for the lack of light by adding in some table lamps, wall sconces, a chandelier or a mirror and watch how it makes the room look so much bigger even if you’ve painted it charcoal gray!
Not picking the right color combinations.
In color there should always be a balance. The right color combination can create a look that’s cohesive and thoughtfully designed. This applies to everything; your walls, your trim, your ceiling, your floor and even your kitchen cabinets. A rule of thumb is to always have one neutral on hand and pick just two or three colors to add to the list. When in doubt, you can always take advantage of the color combinations that the paint companies put together for you. After all, that’s what they get paid to do! Another trick is to grab your favorite patterned fabric and pull colors from there. This takes all the guesswork out of choosing the right colors.
Not taking the architecture of the house into consideration.
I’ve seen it before. Someone takes a beautiful craftsman and decides to paint the interior canary yellow. Unfortunately, this takes away from the original architecture of the house and the integrity is lost. It’s important to celebrate the history of the house by doing your research. If you have an architectural marvel, picking the appropriate color for the style of your house will not only enhance the beauty, but may also increase the value of your home. If you are lacking architectural detail, you can always fake it with paint to create the same look.
Not testing the color before.
With the invention of paint samples, now picking the right color gets easier and easier. It saves you time and money and is a perfect way to see what the color looks like in the room as the light changes. After all, its way to hard to see what the color will look like in your room when its being viewed on a small paint chip. I always paint a piece of foam core (you can purchase this at your local craft shop for $1) and tape it to the wall. As the light changes, so will the color and I can decide if I like it or not.
Afraid of color. People are so afraid of color because they are worried about doing the wrong thing or getting sick of it too soon. There are no rules, just suggestions. If you love it, then go for it. It’s the least expensive thing to drastically change the look!