The Top 5 Mistakes I See In People’s Homes

Beth Diana Smith
This week, friend of Real Antique Wood, Beth Diana Smith, Owner and Principal Designer at Beth Diana Smith Interior Design, has taken over the blog. Be on the lookout for her appearance on The Morning Mill next month!

As a designer, and a human, there are certain things that I can’t help but notice when I go into someone’s home. I try not to stare or obsess but sometimes I truly can’t help myself. To most people they either don’t notice it or they can’t pinpoint why what they are looking at doesn’t “feel” good. Good design makes you feel relaxed and happy, but bad design will make you feel awkward and tense.

Funny enough, most mistakes are common and you’ll see them often (you may even be guilty yourself). What’s important to keep in mind is that these common mistakes can make the room look awful, cheap, or uncomfortable but they are relatively simple to fix. And I can guarantee you that making that fix will make a huge impact. With that said, I’m going to walk you through my top 5 mistakes and how you can fix them.

1.    The art is hung too high.

This is my #1 because it’s the mistake that I see the most often and drives me the most insane. Have you ever went into a friends home and there’s a 2’ or 3’ gap (white space) between the top of the sofa and the bottom of the art? It’s hung too high.

How do you fix it? The rule of thumb is that the center point of the artwork should be 5’ from the floor. But this is not law, you have to eyeball the placement to see how it looks best. A useful trick is to use a piece of kraft paper to play with the placement, all you have to do is lay your art on the kraft paper and trace it so you have a piece that is the same size and shape. This is especially handy if the art is oversized and heavy making it awkward to maneuver in order to place it.


2.    All the furniture matches.

Your home is not a furniture showroom, please don’t match all the pieces. What do I mean? A brown sofa, brown loveseat, and matching brown chairs with the matching coffee and end tables. It will make the entire room feel drab and uninteresting, and unnatural.

How do you fix it? Layer the furniture. This means combining different colors, patterns and textures to achieve a look that is cohesive. This process will take more time but will be worth it in the long run.


3.    The furniture is too big or small.

Have you ever walked into your family’s living room and the sofa is so big in the room that you almost have to scale the wall to get to it? Because of the sofas size, all of the other furniture is squished together? That’s not comfortable for anyone. Or the opposite has happened and the sofa is so small that it looks like a pebble in the room?

How do you fix it? Measure, measure, measure! Measure the actual room, including the placement of any doors and windows, and evaluate how big your furniture should be.


4.    Stuff is everywhere.

A messy room looks and feels chaotic. You know that chair in your bedroom that has piles of clothes on it which drives you nuts? Or your closet that has so many clothes stuffed inside that you can’t find anything? You have too much stuff and not even storage and organization.

How do you fix it? Add storage, get organized, and clean up. This means cleaning things out for trash or donation, adding drawers and bins, and reorganizing areas so it doesn’t feel cluttered.


5.    Window treatments are hung too low.

Think of this as a missed opportunity. Hanging the window treatments right about the window lessens the effect and can make the room feel smaller.

How to fix it? Hang the window treatments as close to the ceiling as possible. It will make a grand impact by making the space feel larger and more luxe. Trust me.


Do yourself a favor; take before photos, make these simple fixes, and then look at the after. You’ll wow yourself!

Happy Designing!


Owner + Principal Designer || Beth Diana Smith Interior Design


Contact Beth!

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