Design Tips

Interior Decorators: Have You Made These 6 Mistakes?

As an interior decorator, clients look to you to take their ordinary living and working spaces and make them extraordinary. Your keen eye for detail and understanding of colors and textures are just some of the qualities that make up your expertise. But we’re all human, and we make mistakes!

Small mistakes can be easily remedied, but others can have a major effect on a client’s space – and on their perception of their decorator! These 6 mistakes are often made by interior decorators – read on and learn how to avoid them!

1. Following Fads and Trends

Modern furniture room

As a design professional, you have your finger on the pulse of current trends at all times. Staying up-to-date through magazines, websites, and even window-shopping, you’re always on top of the latest fads.

But beware – when decorating a client’s home, tread very carefully with popular colors, furniture, and general decorating trends. The ultra-modern table in the store window that looks like it belongs on a spaceship? It probably won’t fit in with your client’s more conservative furniture, no matter how much they love it.

Another consideration regarding trends and fads – your clients likely do not have the budget to be updating their living spaces in a year or two, so try to keep it classic. For a happy balance, use a trendy color on a living room wall for a statement, while decorating with more conservative furniture. It’s the best of both worlds!

2. Forgetting About Lighting

Dimly lit room

When your focus is on furniture and its arrangement in a space, lighting is often moved to the bottom of the priority list. Only later, when the room is complete, do clients and decorators realize that they have a lighting disaster on their hands!

Overhead lighting can be harsh and overly bright, which doesn’t really help create a pleasant and relaxing living space. Installing dimmers will allow clients to control brightness, and using soft white bulbs will prevent lights from being too harsh. Moving lighting to a higher priority level when decorating is essential in order to prevent lighting mistakes!

3. Choosing Cheap Furniture

Every client is working within a budget to decorate their home. Unfortunately, furniture can be very expensive, and it can seem impossible to find the right item for the right price! A quick fix in the form of a cheap piece of furniture can be a last resort for a client who is looking to fill one last space in their living room without breaking the bank.

As a decorator, your job is to discourage this practice. When it comes to decorating, you truly do get what you pay for, (cheap furniture simply does not last!) so being stingy with items such as tables, chairs, and bed frames is not going to help your client in the long run. Encourage your client to invest in their furniture – yes, they may be spending a little bit more, but it will be worth it in terms of quality and longevity.

4. The DIY Gone Wrong

Girl painting a wall

When you meet your client for an initial consultation, you gain an understanding of their design vision. Most clients are not well-versed in the world of interior decorating, so they’ll be looking to you for guidance and expert advice when it comes to transforming their space. However, some of your clients may be crafty, creative types who have DIY plans for their home – they want to wallpaper the walls themselves, or lay down new hardwood flooring.

Don’t fall into the trap of giving clients free reign when it comes to undertaking huge design projects – offer guidance, help them choose samples of wallpaper or flooring, but ultimately hire someone with professional experience to do the job. A DIY gone wrong is a huge, costly mistake for any interior decorator, and can be extremely time consuming for the client who is keen to finish projects themselves.

5. Too Much Furniture On The Wall

Clean simple living room

Space is a highly desirable feature of a home, and both decorators and clients alike are constantly striving to create space in even the smallest of living spaces. One such tactic is by pushing couches and chairs to the edges of the room, along the walls.

Big mistake – this does create space, but not in a desirable way! You want to create an intimate living space where the chairs and couches are close enough to one another, in order for the occupants to carry on a conversation, and share in the company of others. By pushing furniture too far apart, the living space completely loses its intimate, cozy feeling. Too much space really is a bad thing, so keep it simple.

6. Out-of-Place Themes

Bright ugly bedroom theme

Your client loves floral prints – so much so, that they’ve chosen one particular print and want to use it on their bedspread, curtains, and the chair in their bedroom. Decorating with one specific theme, or print, seems like a smart design tactic, as it will ensure everything is coordinated. Don’t do it! Decorating too much in the same print is not only overly matchy, it’s also overwhelming.

Keep your client (and their room) happy by concentrating the print in one area of the room – choose the bedspread and pillows, for example, and add curtains, chairs, and other decorative elements in complementary colors. Need a refresher on color theory? Use this Color Cheat Sheet to brush up!


These interior decorating mistakes are obvious ones, but what about the rooms you’ve decorated that feel as though something is missing? Follow this helpful checklist to break down the room into sections and determine what’s needed!

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