6 Common Mistakes An Interior Designer Helps You Avoid

Apr 8, 2022

powder room
CoCreative Interiors Site Icone

Written By cocreativeinteriors

When starting an interior design project, we often picture our home dressed with fabulous style and big personality.  

We often don’t imagine the potential mistakes that are possible along the way… those are a lot less fun to think about. And, as the saying goes, you don’t know what you don’t know.

Luckily, working with the right interior designer can help you avoid many common interior design mistakes. 

Here are the 6 most common mistakes people make when they work without an interior designer.

Starting To Renovate Too Soon.

Home design and renovations should be planned carefully. 

Yes, you’re smart, capable and needed your projects done yesterday. BUT you have to understand the flow and function of your home first

What needs to change – or stay the same – to suit your needs and those of your family? 

Does your home need renovations to function well? 

Taking time to fully understand what needs to change will save you from the frustration of making changes that don’t ultimately meet your goals.

Working with an interior designer at this early stage will ensure you consider ALL the important factors involved in home projects – especially beyond the ‘pretties’.

window treatment-hobbled shades

DIYing Everything

Starting without a plan or a budget is all too easy and makes for a quick way to get in over your head. Take a step back and figure out what you can invest in your project. An interior designer will guide you through this important process to keep you from starting too quickly.  

Saving for full projects will allow you to enjoy a complete space, one that brings you joy rather than stress. Without a plan, many projects end up stopping short, leaving you frustrated and stuck with an 80% finished space. Budget is important, and your interior designer can help you get the biggest bang for your buck by knowing where you should splurge and where you can save.

Designing your home without considering your lifestyle is another common issue when homeowners DIY. Your home is a direct reflection of how you live. The last thing you want to do is complete a big project only to realize you’ve overlooked something that’s important to you and the way you live.

DIYers are also known to stop short, getting tripped up by analysis paralysis. Though you may think a floor plan is all you need from a designer, lacking the confidence or time to purchase pieces and pull it all together will leave you with a lovely plan… and nothing else.

An expert will help you develop a full-proof floor plan, and then see the project through to completion, which includes the things that truly make a house a home. Think accessories (think lamps, rugs, pictures, art) and accents (pillows, throws, candles). Small pieces have big impact. Without the finishing touches, rooms will never feel ‘done’, and a floor plan alone won’t take you across the finish line.

A picture of a dining room table and chairs

Photo: Tori Hartwell Photography

Not Trusting Yourself 

Most homeowners play it safe when making interior design decisions. The result? B-O-R-I-N-G. 

In many cases, homeowners end up with something different than what they actually want. Safe choices most often = boring, monotone and lacking personality. Safe rooms don’t feel personal or have a WOW factor that truly sets the space apart.  

Designing your home is an opportunity to express yourself! But turning your vision into reality takes confidence. Working with an interior designer can be a huge help in this area as well. A few key decisions confidently made can breathe new life into your home. (It’s okay if you need help to make your design happen – even interior designers hire interior designers!)

Often, when homeowners don’t trust themselves, they settle by buying a full set of matching furniture – ALERT! WARNING!

Buying a matching set is tempting because doing so is easy and foolproof. But is it what you want? Press the easy button and hire an interior designer to help you add just the right amount of personality and pizazz!

Tempted to follow trends? It’s your house – you can set your own style and use it however you’d like. Trends don’t last, but good design stands the test of time.

Another common tell-tale sign of a homeowner who doesn’t trust their design sense is poor space planning and buying items that are too small or too big to fit the space. Interior designers bring a new perspective to your home and think outside the box to achieve the best results. A good interior designer will give it to you straight and listen to what you want, while also ensuring you get what you need.

Saving Instead of Splurging

We all have budgets of course, and no one wants to overspend, but it’s possible to go too far in the other direction.

Design, like everything else, requires money.

Do you need to break the bank? No, of course not.

But seemingly small items add up fast, especially those pieces that make a room truly spectacular. A seasoned interior designer will advise you on how to realistically budget for your entire upfront, while also knowing where to save and where to splurge.

Photo: Tori Hartwell Photography

Not Knowing Measurements

Interior designers are extremely good at measurements for a reason. Details matter.

They don’t want your guests hitting their feet on your coffee table while trying to relax on the sofa because it’s too close. They also don’t want you struggling to pick up your cup of coffee (because it’s too far). 

In case you’re wondering, there should be approximately 18’ to 24”’ between a sofa and a coffee table. 

42’’of space is usually preferred for the walkway between the bed and the dresser. (Just saying.

Floor plans are key to making sure everything fits just right.

Knowing your measurements allows you to create a space that flows and prevents purchasing mistakes. Steer clear of taking your own measurements if you know you might miss an inch – they’re that important. 

Buying All Furnishings From One Source

Retailers, as we call them, usually follow and sell trends.

New trends make for the best marketing – they provide a reason for selling you something else!

Take a step back and consider which items you really need, which ones you want, and how those items are going to fit into your home – and consider your own sense of style as well, not just how fun the new trend is.

Ready to think about your space?

If you want help with a design project, stop, do not pass GO and do not collect $200 before getting really clear on what you need.

Not sure where to start? Grab our Project Planner + Workbook. It lays out action steps you can take to get the ball rolling!


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