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Archive for October, 2015

My Top 5 Interior Design Pet Peeves

There are several common design mistakes that I encounter that make me a little crazy.  (OK, more than a little crazy sometimes!)  Your living room doesn’t have to look like the page out of a magazine, but it should be comfortable, support your family’s lifestyle and provide a respite for that work-life balance we all seek.  So check out this list, and to remedy any of these design mistakes you may be guilty of, just call me!  I’ll help you fix it.

Furniture arrangements that resemble a doctor’s office.  Yep, probably my biggest pet peeve is when I see all the furniture pushed up against the walls.  This creates an empty, awkward space in the middle of the room which creates strained conversations because the seating pieces are too far apart.  Furniture looks best when it is floated in the room and centered on a focal point, usually a fireplace.  Creating negative space around furniture actually gives the illusion of a bigger room.  Check out the difference…


Imagine having an intimate conversation in this room…


Furniture “floated” in the center of the room provides for better conversation and makes the room feel bigger.









Art that is too small, hung too high, or poorly positioned.  Art and wall décor should “fit” the space they are intended for.  Too often I see pieces that are not the right scale and hung too high.  To be safe, the center of the painting from top to bottom should be 57” from the floor (the hook will be higher).  This is the average human eye-height and is regularly used as a standard in many galleries and museums.  Art hung over a sofa should be about 6-8” from the top of the back of the sofa.


Art that’s too small and hung too high makes the room feel unfinished.


This art is hung correctly over a sofa completes the look.









All overhead lighting.  Lighting should set the mood for a space, and the amount of light should reflect the activity at hand.  If you’re chopping vegetables with a really sharp knife, you probably want bright task lighting so you don’t mistake your finger for a carrot!  But if you’re hosting a dinner party, use indirect lighting and dimmers to set a relaxing mood.  There are so many options for lighting including lamps, pendants, undercabinet lighting and cove lighting, so why limit yourself to one overhead fixture or can lights?


Can lights only provide one type of light.


Having multiple light sources improves the flexibility of the space and adds visual interest.









Fake plants and greenery.  I think every home in America has had at least one fake ficus tree at some point, even mine.  Remember that plastic ivy over your kitchen cabinets?  Yuck!  Ditch the dust collectors and invest in LIVE plants that can actually purify the air in your home naturally.  Here are some of the most popular indoor plants.  Live foliage can “liven” up your home and add charm. 


Lose the fake ivy over the cabinets.


A dracaena is one of the easiest plants to grow indoors.








Matchy matchy furniture.  When the sofa, loveseat and chairs are all the same style, fabric and color, you’ve lost all opportunity to infuse your own personal panache.  These rooms ‘bought-in-one-day’ are boring.   Try changing things up by adding a pair of chairs upholstered in a fun color or pattern to add interest and pizzazz.  Mix in a metal side table with a wood coffee table or opt for a leather ottoman.  Adding variation to your interiors is what makes your home interesting as well as a reflection of you.


Everything is the same style/color. (Jennifer Convertibles)


A beautifully designed room with variation and interest (by Tobi Fairley).


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Beth Johnson, Allied ASID


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