For those of us who aren’t interior decorators, a lack of awareness or just plain laziness can result in telltale rookie design mistakes. We enlisted designer Megan Weaver of Flipping Out (which returns for a seventh season March 5th) to share the most cringe-inducing decor habits—plus tips on how to break them for good.
1. Entryway Neglect
Make a good first impression by finding another spot to pile shoes, mail and keys. “Your foyer is the first thing people see when they come to your home, so use the space to display an important piece of art or to hang an unusual light fixture,” says Weaver.
2. White Out
“I, too, have fallen victim to playing it safe with all white,” confesses Weaver. But, after painting some of her white living room walls a dark gray and her white bookcase black, Weaver found her living space looked much richer and chicer. “Start paying attention to contemporary colors, like grays, deep blues and even blacks,” she says.
3. Bathroom Crowding
Decorating a tiny bathroom with large elements will only make the room feel smaller. Weaver encourages clients to “create optical illusions,” instead. “One way to make a bathroom feel bigger is to ‘float’ your cabinetry,” she suggests. Look for pieces that attach to the wall so they don’t take up floor space.
4. Unnecessary Cabinets
“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told a client to totally lose their upper kitchen cabinets and you’d think I’d asked them to run around the block naked,” says Weaver. “But thinking differently about kitchen design—like swapping bulky storage cabinets for windows and using a center island to hide your dishes, pots and pans—can really open up your space.”
5. Skimping on Hardware
Replacing cabinet hardware can instantly update and transform a room. “It’s truly the jewelry of the kitchen,” says Weaver. “Spending a little extra on beautiful hardware is well worth the final touch!”
6. Too Formal Dining
Dining rooms should feel warm and welcoming—not cold and stuffy. Weaver recommends giving the room a lived-in vibe with comfortable, upholstered chairs and personal touches. “In my house, I display all my art and design books on the table in neat little stacks with a floral arrangement on one of them,” she says. “It makes the room feel used without being messy.”
7. Going to the Wall
“Rather than automatically pushing your couch back against the wall, consider placing it into the room instead,” says Weaver. “Doing so will create a more polished and conversation-friendly area.” Add a console table behind the couch with a couple of lamps to complete the look.
8. Over Matching
“Never buy your dining room table with the matching dining room chairs,” says Weaver. “Buying sets suck the personality out of a room.” Mix and match styles to keep your home from looking like a catalogue. “Purchase your big-ticket item—like a sofa or bed—first, then pick smaller pieces from other collections or, better yet, a completely different store,” suggests Weaver.
9. Not Letting Go
“Get rid of that worn-out, outdated piece of furniture or rug—even if you spent a ton of money on it seven years ago,” Weaver says. Sometimes, you just have to let pieces go if they no longer work in your space.
10. Following Fads
“If you like traditional furniture, don’t buy a bunch of Lucite just because that’s what you think is ‘in style,'” warns Weaver. Trust your instincts and don’t get swept up in trends when using catalogues as your decor inspiration.