• Bre Bardenwerper

Design Mistakes to Avoid

Today I am answering the number one question that I get as a designer, and giving you all the information I can about how to address it!

So what is it? What is my most frequently asked question?


To answer this question, I’m rounding up the 4 most common mistakes that I see people make when decorating and explaining what you should do instead!

4: Overcrowded Decor

Whether styling shelves, mantles, coffee tables, you name it, so many people overcrowd the given space. I get it, I really do. There are just too many cute decor items to decorate with these days and its easy to get carried away and throw it all together. The problem with this is that then it looks cluttered, and cluttered spaces are not appealing to the eye. When you see a cluttered area its more difficult to feel settled in the space, and I personally think that you should easily feel settled at home.

So how do you address this situation? Keep in mind that less is more. Now, I am definitely not a minimalist, so I’m not saying don’t have stylish decor. I’m just saying be intentional about what you use, and how you use it. I like to group things in threes. This could mean two stacked books and a candle on top, or this could mean three groups of items on a shelf. The main thing is that you leave some open space when styling. When doing this, you actually notice your decor more, feel lighter and more settled in your space, and let’s not forget its less to dust! Win. Win. WIN!

3: Art Placement

I get asked ALL THE TIME where to hang art, pictures, or wall decor. Realistically, most people actually hang their art way too high.

Hanging art too high causes the room to look less cohesive. When scanning a room you should naturally take in all the decor and art without having to “look for it.” I know it sounds weird, but you scan the room at your eye level, and when art is hung too high it forces you to have to look up and away from the rest of the room.

Instead, art should be hung with the middle of it at eye level. Now, because everyone is a different height, you want to average out the eye levels of everyone. In other words, the middle of your piece of art should be hung around 5ft high or 60-62”.

2: Curtains Placement

I am truly convinced that there should be a “How to properly hang curtains 101” class for all home owners! I very rarely go into a home that has their curtains hung properly, and if they do its probably because they had a professional hang them.

Most people hang their curtains too low and too narrow. However, when hanging curtains you want it to accent the window and frame it out. Don’t hang the curtain rod right above the window, but actually hang it as close to the ceiling as you can- leaving a few inches between. I know this leaves wall space between the rod and the window, but your eye is not naturally drawn to the wall space, it actually gives the illusion that the window is bigger than it really is. You should also hang the curtain rod with the finials (end of the rods) at least 10 inches off each side of the window. Some home designs and layout don’t allow for this, but you should still extend the rod out as much as you can. Curtains should hang on each side of the window and cover the window casing, not the window itself. You want to windows to look larger and let in more natural light!

Ready for the #1 mistake I see?

1: Rug Sizing

Rugs are meant to serve as an anchor for the room. This means that the rug should be the item that bonds everything together. However, most houses choose rugs that are too small for their space. You never want a rug “floating” in the middle of your floor, instead it should anchor the furniture in the space together. This means that at least the front legs of the furniture should be sitting on top of the rug.

Lets take a living room for example. A 5x8 rug should NEVER go in a living room. It just looks too small and dinky. ( yes, I just used dinky in a sentence…)

A living room should have at least an 8x10 rug, but most living rooms actually need a 9x12 rug to be correct.

I get asked often how to make a space seem larger, and I always say get as big of a rug as you can. It seems silly, but your eye naturally sees the boarder of the rug, and it causes the room to look more expansive.

Have you accidentally made one of these design mistakes? If so, no worries, they are all easy to fix!

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