Homeowners' Interior Design Mistakes

Why it’s often better to hire a keen eye than DIY



Other than not hiring them—“You wouldn’t do your own root canal would you?” asks one—what do local interior design professionals find are the most common mistakes “civilians” make when they decorate their own homes?

“They go to the store and buy the collection they see with all the matching pieces and then their house looks like a store, with no personality.” —Ayse Lewis, Ayse Lewis Interior Design, Harrison

“Scale—people don’t understand the importance of picking out the right size chair, sofa, area rug, et cetera.” —Cathy Schlecter, Cathy Schlecter Interior Design, White Plains

“I see women walking around with teeny little samples of fabric, teeny little samples of carpet, and teeny little samples of paint, and they try and make everything matchy-matchy. It never works.” —Susan Anthony, Anthony & Olanow Design Group, Rye

“People are often too cautious and great interior decorating requires taking chances. They don’t have the experience to be courageous enough, for example, to choose an unusual color or do the whole room in one pattern.” —Barbara Bell, Barbara Bell Interiors, Tarrytown

“Too much clutter, too many tchotchkes, too much symmetry—a room with matching chairs, matching walls, and matching pillows, with everything just matching up too much.”  —Barbara S. Horowitz, Barbara S. Horowitz Design and Decoration, White Plains

“When people shop on the Internet, they have no sense of scale and how big things are, so the things that they order will often come out too small or too large.” —Barbara Sternau, Barbara Sternau Interior Design, Waccabuc

“Common mistakes include failure to visualize, inability to understand scale and proportion, and spending money on the wrong things.” —Alice Silverman, Creative Interiors, North Salem

“Often people do not really think about the quality of the pieces that they’re buying. They buy for trend—pieces that don’t last long—instead of buying classic pieces.” —Phyllis Harbinger, Design Concepts/Interiors, Cortlandt Manor

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