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Spooky Mistakes I Made In My Own Home

If it isn’t obvious already, we love a good design mistake. There’s something about understanding what not to do that really sticks with you. And leads towards even more interesting stories and spaces moving forward (kinda like life).

Plus, design is incredibly fluid, subjective, and creative — mistakes and questionable decisions are inevitable and in our opinion, welcome. We believe the best design comes from trying new things and simply playing around. Plus, what better way to hone and sharpen your design skills than to make a few mistakes here and there? Even if that mistake is going all-in on wall-to-wall wicker furniture in the 90s or buying a rug that’s three times too small for your living room.

Ahead, I'm spilling the tea on the design mistakes I've made over the years, and what I've learned to do instead.

Matching Furniture

I still remember my college days when I thought my bed, nightstand, and dresser should all match. But now, I’ve seen enough incredible spaces to know the magic is always in the mix. Mixing furniture styles, silhouettes, materials, and finishes creates a more layered, lived-in aesthetic.

Filler Decor

I’m definitely guilty of forcing decor into every nook, cranny, and empty wall in the name of ‘completing the look.’ But now I’ve learned that purposeful negative space is essential when designing a functional, beautiful home. Without it, a room can feel cluttered and visually chaotic instead of curated and calming.

Forgetting to Measure

Have you ever bought a sofa and not been able to fit it through your apartment door? I have. I never really paid attention to dimensions — my design-oriented mind basically ignored the math part. Now, I make sure to triple check dimensions, and even mock-up the floor plan using painter’s tape in my actual space.

Shopping Without a Plan

As a design-lover, I’ve totally gone overboard when decor shopping. You walk down one too many Target aisles, and all of a sudden, you have an entire home’s worth of new decor with no plan for how or when to use it. Now, I try to edit down my decor by season and sell or donate pieces accordingly. Not every surface, shelf, wall, or empty nook needs decor anyways!

Matching Wood Tones & Metals

In the past, if I used brass, it was all brass. If I brought in a walnut table, the rest of my furniture was walnut, too. But now, I’ve realized that it’s the intentional, mis-matched blend that feels much more captivating and design-forward. Think of it in layers: In order to create depth and dimension, you must have different tones, finishes, and textures to draw you in.

Following Every Trend

Remember shabby chic? Exposed Edison bulbs? Boho everything? Yeah, me too. And I went in on them. Don’t get me wrong — I trend-spot with the best of them. The real issue is when a space is only brimming with flash-in-the-pan fads, and features far too few classic, enduring elements. Now, I try to balance modern trends and timeless pieces for style with staying power.

Zero Size Variation

Now, I understand that paying attention to the size and scale of your furnishings is importance — but that wasn’t always the case. I’ve definitely gone all-in on square, boxy furnishings, from sofas and accent chairs to side and coffee tables, instead of mixing in different silhouettes, heights, and shapes. But it’s all about creating balance instead of matches. If you have a boxy, angular sofa, opt for a round coffee table for much-needed balance and contrast.

Skimping on Rug Size

Let’s be honest, we’ve all made this design mistake at some point. Whether you’re trying to save money by opting for a smaller size, or genuinely lack of knowledge about proper rug sizing, this mistake can quickly make a room feel small and unfinished. As a rule of thumb, all of your furniture pieces should sit comfortably on the rug — or at least the front two legs! Mapping out rug sizes using measuring tapes before purchasing is a great way to avoid having this disappointment.

Hanging Artwork Too High

I hung a piece of artwork far too high in my old bedroom, and when I look back on those photos, I cringe! Having to crane your neck upward to enjoy beautiful artwork is not the way to go. Now, I always make sure to hang artwork at eye-level. And when hung above a piece of furniture like a dresser, sideboard, or bed, remember: leave four to 12 inches of space in between!

- Raph




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