Interior Design Mistakes to Avoid

jake arnold

Courtesy Jake Arnold

The year 2020 was truly a year spent at home (among other things, of course). How people viewed their spaces and what they wanted from them, from a style and utility aspect, shifted dramatically for many as a result. Interior designer to the stars and chic people in general, Jake Arnold saw an opportunity to expand his business in a decidedly virtual capacity with The Expert, an online platform that connects clients directly to interior designers.

“My best friend and cofounder, Leo [Seigal], came up with the idea while we were in lockdown together and convinced me to test a few sessions with some of my followers who had been requesting video chats,” Arnold tells BAZAAR.com. “I was skeptical at first, but immediately realized after completing a few how much could be accomplished in 55 minutes. For the designers, it’s been really rewarding to be able to put our touch on so many more homes in a nontraditional way, regardless of location, budget, and project scope.”

The lineup of more than 100 “experts” reads like a who’s who in the design world, with new additions to the roster including Ashe Leandro, Giancarlo Valle, Athena Calderone, and Rita Konig. Sessions are booked in 55-minute increments directly through a calendar feature on the site, ranging in price from $400 to $2,500, with some offering a condensed mini 25-minute session. The conversation can be as straightforward as advice on furniture pieces to complete a room or deciding on art, paint colors, and lighting, or as in depth as design advice surrounding a full-scale home reno. Ahead, BAZAAR taps some of the top experts on the platform to give insight on the biggest mistakes people make when designing a space—and shop for some foolproof pieces along the way.

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Jake Arnold

Expert: Jake Arnold

Biggest mistake: Designing for someone else’s house, not your own. Just because you’ve seen something online doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for your home.

Enzyme Linen Coverlet

Great neutral bedding for the bedroom.

Katie Hodges Design

Expert: Katie Hodges

Biggest mistake: Scaling furniture too small in a room. There seems to be a misconception that small spaces require small and leggy furnishings, but it actually has the opposite effect.

C-Chair Dining Chair

A dining chair that never fails.

Maison Trouvaille

Expert: Erick Garcia

Biggest mistake: One mistake that people tend to make is forgetting to measure their space when shopping for furniture. I’ve seen it time and time again where pieces are either too large or too small, which causes the atmosphere to feel imbalanced. This removes the opportunity to truly create and design a beautiful interior to its full potential.

Dreamy Eucalyptus Branch & Rustic Vase

It’s all in the good, proportionally sized accessories.

Right Meets Left

Expert: Courtney McLeod

Biggest mistake: Hands down, the biggest mistake newbies make is succumbing to doubt and taking on too many uninformed opinions. Successful interior design is a personal endeavor; the goal should simply be to bring yourself joy. If you love yellow, go for that yellow sofa! If you love chocolate brown, go for it and paint your dining room that rich color. Who cares what anyone else thinks?

Antibes Chandelier

If you opt for bold colors, ground the space with inviting neutrals. 

Studio Hus

Expert: Tatum Kendrick

Biggest mistake: I commonly see people missing the mark when it comes to scale and proportions, as well as wall paint color selection. Creating a successful interior is not only picking out great pieces, but making sure everything flows together in a harmonious way. I often see bedside tables that are too tall next to a bed or a dainty coffee table being swallowed up by an oversize sofa. The inter dynamics of scale and form between the pieces in the room are just as important to consider as the style and pieces themselves. I also often see paint color choices that have missed the mark—whites that have too much blue undertones, creating cold clinical-feeling rooms, or bold moves of color in a powder room or bedroom that are way too saturated and primary, and completely overpower the space, rather than setting a harmonious tone.

Kakusho Bottle

This bottle is elegant without overpowering a space.

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