This must feel amazing!
You’ve bought a new home, and you have already imagined what the rooms will look like when furnished. How your décor will represent your personality and give your home a specific identity, and maybe even went as far as envisioning dinner parties or game nights with friends.
Everyone lightens up at the realities of the blank slate. Why wouldn’t you?
Even if your new home is only new to you, it is still a very special time in anyone’s life when they realize that they are in charge of this monumental feat; the master of their domain! But before you start moving in, it is a good idea to flesh out a plan. You don’t want to be one of those to regret buying their first home. To give your a better context, here’s an useful visual from the feedback of about 1000 new homeowners surveyed by Porch:
Getting your design underway
Fantasy and reality are rarely intertwined unless the fantasy is grounded, as fantasies rarely are.
But now that you have walked the rooms of your new home, you can cement your reality and start to give it shape. Taking stock in what you want each room to be is a good first step. You can build anything in your head, but having it in front of you can change the perspective.
Walk room to room, take measurements, and decide what that room will be.
Some rooms will be obvious like the master bedroom, bathrooms, and of course, the kitchen. Be firm while still flexible with deciding a room’s purpose.
The smallest thing can change it.
A little wiggle room can keep frustration at bay.
Even in your current state of excitement, it is still prudent to keep a level head. The thing most new homeowners forget is that every issue in the home is now your responsibility, and that includes interior design mistakes.
Here we’ll explore some design mistakes new homeowners make that may cost them big in later years.
1. Eye-balling the room
Sometimes, what you see isn’t very realistic when imagining furniture in a space.
Some home design mistakes start with lazy room planning, usually due to an outright refusal to use a tape to measure and note down dimensions that can be very helpful afterwards.
The likelihood of mistakes due to trying to cram too much stuff into a space because of poor spatial awareness can be avoided by spending a few extra minutes measuring the room accurately.
2. Picking the wrong size of the HVAC system
An air conditioner and heater unit are specific to the square footage they are supposed to cool and heat. If you have the wrong sized unit, you can be wasting money, either by overtaxing a unit that is too small or wasting energy on a unit that is too large.
Make sure you get the right one tailored to your specific interior dimensions.
3. An over-functioning room plan
This is only relevant in a floor plan with lots of walls that separate areas.
Open floor plans possess a luxury that space will have more than one function. For smaller rooms, a single function is always best. Your living room is for relevant stuff like watching TV or entertainment. Same with the dining room, office space, etc.
Having one function can also help you avoid room overcrowding.
4. Too much stuff or too much storage
Being organized is great, but the need to store a lot of items can be one of the major design mistakes.
Ask anyone who has items stored that they haven’t used or needed in a long time. Can they remember which box they stored those items in? A storage bench in a mudroom is one thing, but a wall of apothecary drawers, unless you are a hobbyist, is entirely another.
However, if that is part of your plan, we are not here to judge.
5. Choosing the wrong lighting at the wrong place
Choosing how to light a room can set the tone for how the room is to be used.
One of the common design mistakes is putting too much lighting when softer lighting would work better for the feel of the room. Natural lighting is fantastic for the main rooms, while special lighting like makeup bulbs work better in the bathroom. If you use natural lighting, decide how much with slats or vent shutters, or incorporate blinds or curtains to block light from outside if desired.
6. Poor management of your hard-earned money
Many new homeowners have grand ideas, but inadequate knowledge of how to make those happen without throwing money at them.
This is absolutely unnecessary.
For certain design mistakes, examples stem from buying away items instead of finding a cost-effective solution you can learn from. Learn the ropes, save when you can, spend when you must, and if you don’t know, ask.
There are plenty of forums that can help you navigate this.
7. Where Feng Shui meets OCD
Have you ever hung a picture? Sure.
Was it crooked? Nope.
Why? Because you knew seeing it hanging on the wall slightly askew would drive you absolutely nuts.
The same applies to the rest of your interior design. Mismatched items, colors that clash, and intolerable eyesores can add mental stress and frustration just by existing in your perfect space.
If that happens, fix it right away. It will do wonders for your sanity.
8. Possibly over-doing it with the nick-knacks
In reference to decluttering a room, over-theming or over-accessorizing a room can make it feel much smaller than it actually is.
Unless you are building a man-cave, limiting the theme can save you from feeling compressed by all your favorite items. And, if you feel the need to put all of your team gear in one place, a basement is a good choice.
Having a separate renovation plan to make it your command-center will benefit you in the long term.
9. Overloading the pictures
It might not seem like a bad idea at the beginning, but hanging pictures of your family on every wall might turn out to be a mistake, later.
Sure, you love your family and want to showcase the memories everywhere (possible), however, it can eventually feel like too much.
Better mark a couple of walls, maybe one in the living room and one in the hallway, or whichever place you feel best.
For the rest though, art pieces could be a better alternative for filling the void.
10. Forgetting the kitchen mantra
Design mistakes for the kitchen can be as small as buying too many gadgets or countertop appliances to store when not in use, to picking a nice countertop and not knowing how to properly maintain it.
The kitchen is a very important (if not the most important), and often high-traffic area. It is a gathering place for family cooking sessions and breakfast bar brunches. We wish you’d say, “My kitchen is my favorite room,” and mean it from your heart.
Please don’t mess it up. Have a solid plan, implement like a pro.
11. Cheaping out too much
Another design mistake is choosing the wrong materials, or poor-quality materials, in particular. This can bite you in the long run in many ways, especially in high traffic areas. For bathroom design mistakes, this is a big one – spring for better quality stuff.
Your home is an investment. So, invest wisely.
12. Spreading the money around
That doesn’t mean you should always have the latest and the greatest, and then run out of money after the first or second room.
Setting a budget for each room is a great way to avoid this.
And stick to the budget, please. Your nifty gadgets will not vanish overnight. You can buy those later.
13. The seasonal dilemma
Florida, Illinois, North Dakota, Washington.
What do all these places have in common?
Intense seasonal changes.
If you don’t have a home rated for hurricane winds, feet of snow, or days of rainfall, but you still love it anyway, it is time to figure out how to batten down the hatches and prep your home for what is in store when the weather gets ugly.
14. Mixing DIY skills with pride
If you have purchased a fixer-upper with the intention of doing the work yourself, then getting the work done before you move in is important.
Interior design mistakes are most often born from the desire to do the work as a point of pride without having the actual skills to do it in the right way, or completing it properly.
Be aware of your abilities, learn what you can, and hire experts if it’s entirely out of your wheelhouse.
There is no shame in it.
15. Too scared to ask
Asking for estimations and not accepting anything blindly can save you so much money.
Just by shopping around.
If they wouldn’t give you a free estimate, you have a new door to show them out of. This is easily the best way to keep your finances in check. It not personal, it’s business.
Although it can feel personal at times.
16. Too stubborn to listen
With all of these potential design mistakes in mind, stay cool.
Many are easy to dodge, easy to fix. And with some reasoning and a little help from friends or relatives that have gone through it before, soon you can be a homeowner other people will seek advice from.
Please remember that family and friends are the best resources, and they don’t want you to fail.
Listen to what they say, their experiences, and their failure stories. And use these as learning blocks toward making your home the perfect place for you. If they are willing to help, it is not a weakness to take it. If you need help, it is brave to ask.
Life is too short of failing out of stubbornness.
Your home will be amazing. You will make it amazing.
It’s okay to be excited, emotional, and feel the tingle of anticipation as you design your dream place. Just keep in mind that it is an investment, one of the most important investments in your life, and good investments require clear thinking and realistic expectations.
Do you know anyone made any of these mistakes? Share their story with us in the comment section below.
Enjoy the next chapter in your life to the fullest.
Kevin is a content writer for about 3 years. He studied Design and Arts at College in Pennsylvania. A fan of home interior design and, he has taken it upon himself to spread his love for decorating homes by informing people on some of his ideas through his articles.