We’ve all made design mistakes. Yes, even members of team domino. Impulse buys, a change in personal style, and painting snafus happen, no matter how hard we try to craft our happiest homes. The silver lining? You, our readers, can learn from—and avoid making—these mistakes. Continue reading for lessons and laughs.
Emily Hamilton, Ad Operations Manager
“I blanked in IKEA [editor’s note: as we’ve all done before] and bought an area rug that I did not need and that didn’t work in the space. It still remains in my living room closet.”
Lists are your friend. While shopping around is an effective way to see what is on the market (and for how much), go with the intent to browse or shop. If you know you won’t be able to resist an impulse purchase, like Emily, come prepared with measurements of your space and a detailed idea in your head of what you want.
Elaina Sullivan, Style Editor
“I had a bright, airy apartment and wanted it to be completely white, like a gallery. I had always heard Decorator’s White by Benjamin Moore was the way to go, but it ended up feeling too sterile in the space. I went back to Benjamin Moore to ask for their suggestions.”
Needless to say, an unsuspecting hardware employee recommended Chantilly Lace instead, and it was just the right shade.
If your wall color isn’t right, don’t settle and leave it. This is your home, so take the time and effort to make it perfect. And always, always listen to experts like hardware store employees.
Alyssa Clough, Assistant Digital and Social Media Editor
“Before moving to New York City, I was really drawn to darker interiors. I even painted my walls black (which worked!), but it was the dark, black furniture and accessories that I can now see really brought the space down.”
Think of how your big furniture pieces and smaller accessories will visually impact your space. Choosing larger pieces in dark colors has the potential to darken your space, which might even make it feel smaller. Instead, try balancing your space with a mix of light, dark, and colorful accents.
Shani Silver, Digital Director
“I painted my bedroom purple (like Monica and Rachel’s apartment purple) my junior year of college. It was a sheetrock wall so it was REALLY hard to evenly paint it. The end result was uneven and I had to paint it back six months later. Sigh.”
Don’t shy away from bold wall colors, but if you’re going to paint your own space, do so correctly. That means reading up on techniques and being prepared with all the right supplies.
Anna Kocharian, Digital Editor
“I tend to go overboard with the monochrome look, and don’t use enough color in my space. Even though I know there should be a delicate balance between the two, it’s hard to resist.”
Recognize your tendencies and take actions to correct them before you take action, like buying an investment piece. Asking friends and family for a second opinion usually helps.
(Pst, love monochrome but want to balance your space more? We can help.)
Emily Possenriede, Senior Site Merchandiser
“I accepted a Pottery Barn sectional from family when I first got out of school… It was a brick red color. I thought I could work my design around it, but it was always this huge red elephant in the room. So not recovering it and investing in that cost was a HUGE mistake.”
Accept hand-me-downs, but make them your own. And unlike Emily’s assumption, those solutions do not always have to be costly. Her design challenge could have been solved in a matter of minutes, as there are ways to cover a sofa without resorting to reupholstery. With some research and a DIY spirit, most hand-me-downs can easily be transformed.
Sarah Bracy Penn, Editorial Intern
“I regret asking my mom to decorate my room in pink, green, and black in fourth grade. She made me live with all that funky animal print fabric and lime green wall color until I was an adult! I finally convinced her to paint the walls white this year, and we’re in the process of antiquing to find cool new pieces to fill the once dreadfully bright space.”
Consider how you will feel about your chosen design as the years wear on. If you’re going to commit to a bright, bold, or trendy look, think about how the space will fit your needs not just now, but in the future.