Image via WikipediaThrough out the years we have had a lot of our interior design styles and guidelines brought to us from the huge influx of interior design shows and designers on television. We place a great deal of trust in their ability to help us create the home of our dreams. Here is a list of some of their worst suggestions and advice and why.
1. Place furniture on the diagonal- This is not always a good idea in homes. First, any time your place large items on the diagonal you create dead space behind them. Dead space is usually wasted space. Secondly, unless you have a room that is too large this diagonal strategy really interferes with flow through traffic. Thirdly, diagonally placed furniture, area rugs etc. tend to throw the balance off in a room. Most rooms are built with furniture placement in mind and throwing the balance off can create an uneasy feeling in the room. They actually have studied this. Now, if you have a room that is extremely large a diagonal arrangement can be a nice way to make it seem more filled.
2. Mixing finishes- Believe it or not this has been said by some designers on television. When home owners do their own work, designing etc, it's great but usually a professional can come in and tell it was not a professional job. Now to some that may not matter, but for others it may be a glaring deal breaker depending on what it is. Deliberate choices that are conflicting have to be done in a specific way to look pulled together. There is a science to this process. If you don't know how to accomplish this, mixing finishes generally gives off a look that the home owner either ran out of money, or overlooked it altogether. The best, safe and usually no- fail approach to finishes in a room is to match them. Its just more polished. Just like it is ideal to have the same brand name appliances in a room. It just looks polished. Well thought out.
3. Gutting a dated room- Just because a room is dated doesn't mean you have to go to great expenses to gut it. All too often you will see designers on tv insist on tearing out cabinets that are still in great shape and spending a small fortune on new ones. Most of the time this is not necessary. For a fraction of the cost, cabinet refacing is the better way to go. Even in bathrooms many times the cabinets can be saved and refaced or painted. By saving money on cabinetry, you can put more money on the bigger ticket items. That could be hard wood flooring, appliances, granite counter tops, or perhaps replacing a large piece of furniture. FYI, wall paper can be painted over. To see if it can the home owner simply can take a wet sponge and hold it over a seam in the wallpaper, if, after about ten minutes the seam edge comes up, chances are the wallpaper will have issues with wet paint. Especially slower drying semi glosses and satin paints. If the seams stay in tact, go ahead and paint over the wall paper. Use a matching tinted primer if the print is bold then paint away! In other words, think long and hard about what can be tossed and what is a smart alternative. If you can, don't be so quite to replace, when you can simply refurbish.
4. Choose style over function- You have no doubt seen many room make overs using furniture that may have been ultra chic and stylish, yet would be dreadfully impractical for daily use. Clean lines and cool curves are great, but going too far isn't realistic for many families especially if you have children. Ultra modern seldom accommodates the comfort of the family entirely. Furnishings that look cool but that never get used is a waste of money. Always opt for pieces that have a clean lines but still extremely comfortable and you will have a piece that can transition along with the family. It is like having a beautiful Corvette for a family of five, it may look great in the driveway, but it won't be a comfortable ride for everyone, and you're soon trading it in for a minivan. Factor in also, the size of your family with regards to how physically large or small they are. Large people need large furniture that is well made. Large scale pieces have to be well planned for. Make sure the room the family relaxes in can seat the family comfortably. This is also important for the dining room as well. Better to spend a little more for sturdy, padded seating than to throw money away on chairs no one will sit in.