The Power of Good Design & How to Avoid the Common Blunders

Home design
Looking around your house and feeling bored with the decor, tired of the wall color, and cramped among your current furniture? Whether you are hoping to find deeper enjoyment and more functionality from your home now or considering selling it in the near future, a well-designed home can make all the difference in its personal value to your family and its resale value to future buyers.


But, before you begin testing paint colors, shopping online, or even considering larger remodeling projects be sure to avoid some of these common design mistakes as found and fixed by design experts in the Denver community.


Mistake: Ignoring the Layout
Fix: Your first instinct in design may be to start purchasing decor and furniture. Finally, that incredible couch and beautiful rug you’ve had on your Pinterest page for months can be yours! However, try to resist the urge and instead begin your process with spatial planning. Given your dimensions and layout, what scale and how much furniture works and where. Without having a cohesive goal in mind, your room will likely come together feeling hodge-podge, random, and either sparse or cramped. Knowing how each furniture piece or decor item will work together is key. Who knows? Maybe your dream couch will work after all!


Mistake: Not Prioritizing Function
Fix: Even the most beautiful layout or collection of items means nothing without the ability to function for your family. Your home should work hard for you. Decide first how best the space would be laid out in general, and then make tweaks as you realize how your family will utilize the given area.


Mistake: Overlooking Millwork
Fix: Millwork is often underestimated and overlooked but in actuality it can serve as both the foundation of a room as well as the icing on the cake. It gives any space a more polished or elevated look and comes in so many varieties that it can match almost any style and aesthetic. It can be expensive, but offers quite an impact for the investment.


Mistake: Failing to Create Height
Fix: Creating height can happen at various stages of the design process and by many different methods. Floor to ceiling curtains, accent walls or vertical striped wallpaper, or even raising the height of your doorways can elongate a space.


Mistake: Keeping Dated Railings
Fix: Stumpy, chunky stair railings can overwhelm a space more than you might guess. A clean, modern railing will transform the entire vibe of your room or even your entire house, especially if your stairwell is centrally located.


Mistake: Not Addressing Wall Texture
Fix: Retexturing the walls can be an expensive and messy undertaking but there are other elements you can introduce to a space with dated wall texture to help distract. Millwork or wall coverings are the most common.


Mistake: Having A More Is More Philosophy 
Fix: Overlapping too many elements can overwhelm a space even if each is stunning on its own. Most good designs are sophisticated in their simplicity. Compile all of the materials, finishes, and colors you plan to use in a space and reduce it by at least one. Repeat the process again when picking furniture and decor items.


Mistake: Misusing Color
Fix: Design experts here encourage the 60-30-10 rule. Each color used in a room should fit into one of these proportions. Oftentimes, the eye will be drawn to the color used least. Use just one bold accent piece in your favorite color to emphasize that color, while surrounding it with complimentary more subtle colors. Of course, within these color proportions, you can experiment with patterns and hues to create even more depth.


Mistake: Not Creating Light Source Variation
Fix: Balance ambient lighting, task lighting, and accent or mood lighting. Installing dimmers or sconces can be a big fix, while adding table and floor lamps can be a quicker, less expensive fix.


Mistake: Hanging Light Fixtures Too High or Too Low
Fix: Hanging a fixture 30-36 inches above a dining table is a good rule of thumb. This can vary widely however depending on the size of your fixture and the height of your ceilings.


Mistake: Not Editing Ever, Or Often Enough
Fix: Editing your personal belongings and decor should be a cyclical process that happens at least twice a year. Decor might need to be donated or given a facelift to keep a space feeling updated and fresh.


Mistake: Sourcing All of Your Furniture & Decor from Similar Places
Fix: Beware, while it seems easy, just duplicating a catalog living room set up can fall flat and feel lackluster. Mixing and matching styles and brands will add dimension and personality to your space. Combine vintage and modern, causal and formal, funky and classic. The rules are there are no rules so long as materials, shape, colors, or elements of each piece compliment the energy and use of the space.


Mistake: Choosing Diminutive Decor
Fix: While it can be intimidating to purchase a statement vase or a large canvas, larger pieces can actually make a greater, more inviting impact than the culmination of lots of smaller pieces. The latter easily becomes distracting clutter.


Thoughtful, intentional design has the power to overcome many misgivings within a particular space. It can elongate low ceilings, distract from dated backsplash, or even brighten a space with little natural light. Design considerations should be the first stop in elevating your home for your family or getting it ready to put on the market.


If time or money restricts the possibility of larger remodeling projects, let a luxury design plan do the work instead. Corken & Company would love to put you in consultation with our real estate and design experts. We are your ultimate resource providing real estate solutions without limits.


Read more tips and browse the design experts’ “cheat sheet” from our source at 5280 Magazine.

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