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Home Design Tips {7 Do’s and Don’ts}

December 4, 2009

As an interior designer, I am often asked for design tips so I have put together this list to address some of the most common mistakes that people make in their home.  Are you guilty of any of these?

Point 1:

  • Don’t use furniture that is too large for the space.  This will make the room feel cramped and smaller.
  • Do use furniture that is appropriately scaled for the space. This not only makes a space feel larger but enhances it and is also more attractive.

Point 2:

  • Don’t use only one type of lighting.
  • Do provide flexibility. Use a variety of lighting types including table lamps, floor lamps, wall sconces, chandeliers, pendants, etc.   Install a dimmer on each.

Point 3:

  • Don’t buy all furniture from one catalog or chain store. It is not only boring and unimaginative but significantly increases the likelihood that your family room will look identical to your neighbor’s.  In addition, avoid purchasing “sets” of furniture.  Using a bedroom set or living room set  is a tired and dated approach to furnishing a home.
  • Do mix pieces of different styles, periods and/or price points.  Create a customized and unique home.

Point 4:

  • Don’t install granite countertops in the kitchen. Sorry, I know many of you have this and that’s part of the problem – it’s everywhere!   It is a fine choice but predictable and not the only option.  (I am not suggesting to tear out your newly installed granite counters but for those planning a remodel, please see the next bullet point).
  • Do consider alternatives before going straight for granite. Some other materials include recycled glass, soapstone and marble (yes, marble.  I know that you’ve heard it stains so please read this.)

Point 5:

  • Don’t forget the foyer. First impression. 
  • Do make it special and memorable.

Point 6:

  • Don’t place the flat screen TV in the living room. If you must, don’t showcase it as though it is artwork.
  • Do highlight other features of the living room.  A focal point could be a fireplace, art piece or cozy conversation area created with a furniture arrangement.  Consider concealing the TV in custom cabinetry, furniture or recessed in the wall behind a painting.   Pay attention to scale and proportion and be careful not to purchase a giant media center that will dominate the space.

Point 7:

  • Don’t buy cheaply made furniture items  that you will toss in a year or two. This produces a huge amount of waste and negatively impacts the environment.
  • Do invest in quality vs. quantity. If budget is a concern, shop vintage and antique stores.  This is not only a cost-effective and easy way to be “green”, but a  great way to create a personalized  interior that won’t look like your neighbor’s.

I love comments and questions, so please feel free to leave them here or contact me directly through my website MANDARINASTUDIO.

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