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The 6 "Do Nots" of Design


The 6 "Do Nots" of Design

Interior design is about creating a place of beauty and comfort. While there are no wrong answers in the creative world of design, there are certain guidelines that are helpful to follow.

Along with the guidelines of what to do, there are also design traps that should be avoided. Sometimes the best way forward is knowing how best to steer clear of obstacles.

In this article, we are going to discuss some of the “do nots” of design and how to use them to your advantage when designing your own home or work space.

Interior design is all about creating space so don't overcrowd the room.

#1: Do Not Overcrowd

Interior design is all about creating space. A space that is overcrowded will feel chaotic and disorganized. Too many knick-knacks, decorative pillows, or wall hangings and artwork can overcrowd a space making it feel smaller.

Allow for room to breath in between pieces of furniture and decorative elements. This will give each piece the attention it deserves.

Scale is another important factor to consider when arranging the layout of a room. The scale of the furniture, floor coverings, artwork, and window treatments should be proportional to the size of the space. If given the option, consider choosing one larger item over a collection of smaller pieces to avoid a feeling of clutter.

Layering is a delicate balance between carefully selecting more than one piece to complete a desired look and feel. Window coverings are a great place to layer different materials and treatments to get the most functionality out of your windows. Pairing simple shades with floor length draperies, for example, is a great way to add textures, patterns, and colors to a space while also enhancing light control and privacy.

While you do want to allow plenty of space between furniture, avoid large, awkward gaps that feel like dead space. Pulling the furniture out and away from the walls will help with this by creating spaces that feel purposeful and intimate. Well placed furniture will create traffic patterns that allow for movement as well as create comfortable areas for gathering.

Balance is key when it comes to the layout and placement of items throughout a room. Take into consideration the architectural features of the space, such as windows, doorways, closets, fireplaces, or other structural elements.

Use what is already available within the space to encourage comfortable traffic patterns, enhance the natural light of the space, and increase the feeling of height.

There are some clever ways to make a room feel more spacious by creating a sense of light and openness. Make windows appear larger by hanging the window treatments higher and wider than the actual window which will make the room feel taller and more open.

Limit the amount of personal items on display. While having keepsakes, picture frames, books, or other items placed around a room can make it inviting and sentimental, be sure to choose these items carefully. Not only will tidying up be made easier, but this will also give more specific attention to the few items that are on display.

Having a hard time narrowing it down? Start a rotation! Stash a few items away in a drawer or basket and swap them out when you are ready for a fresh look. This will add something new to your space for you and your guests to enjoy.

#2: Do Not Simply Follow The Fads

There are some wonderful design trends that are fun to follow, but do not feel that just because something is popular it must be used in your own space.

Anytime something is forced to fit, it will not feel natural or comfortable. Making space for current trends is always something to consider. When new trends arrive, it is easy to find a vast array of trinkets and decorative pieces, but be selective.

Curious about some of the current interior design trends for 2021? Check out our article Top Trends To Keep An Eye Out For In 2021.

Just because there is a sudden influx of certain accessories, textiles, or other design elements does not mean it all has to find a place in your home. Add one or two items that resonate with you and keep the rest of your space the same. Nothing has to be completely redecorated in a day and you may find that your space grows along with you over time.

Something that is all the rage one year, may no longer be popular the next. Unless your passion is to completely redecorate your home year after year, the constant change in fads will become tiring. Stick to design elements that reflect your personality and tastes and you will feel comfortable and at home in your space throughout the changing seasons.

Finding a design style that speaks to you is step one of the process. Perhaps you already have a good idea of what your design style is, and that is fabulous! If you don’t, no need to worry! We have a quick and easy quiz to help narrow down some of your preferences to see what design style might suit you best. You can take our Design Style Quiz right here.

#3: Do Not Be Afraid To Try Something New

Do not be afraid to try something new whether or not it is currently popular in the world of interior design. Just because something is not trending is not a reason to dismiss it.

Interior design is something personal. If a piece of furniture, an accessory, or a decorative feature is something you love, find a way to incorporate it into your space. Trends will come and go, but a space that reflects what you enjoy will always feel comfortable and genuine.

People love to feel like they are getting a peek into your life - your passions and interests. Be true to yourself and that will resonate with your guests.

Mixing different elements is not a designer faux pas. Many of the current design styles are based on taking two contrasting elements and creating something new. Putting vintage items on display in a more contemporary space, for example, creates a room that reflects both the past and the present.

Feel free to put personal items on display. Adding family heirlooms or antiques will give a space a nostalgic feel. Accent pieces from places traveled or photographs from favorite vacations are a wonderful way to let people get a glimpse into your life. Giving personal items the spotlight will allow you and your guests to enjoy these pieces of your life. Not to mention, they are fabulous conversation starters!

Picking colors for a room, start with the furniture, artwork, and window treatments before picking a paint color.

#4: Do Not Pick Your Paint First

As tempting as it can be to start your room design with a paint color, don’t do it!

While looking at a space, consider the furniture, floor coverings, artwork, and window treatments that will be included. No need to have every item picked out, but get a feel for what will be included.

Once the main items have been chosen, take a cue from what colors are consistent throughout the pieces. Now with a good idea of what will be going into the space, consider what color you will want the walls to be.

Are there already a healthy mix of bold and bright colors? Perhaps the walls would be best to remain more neutral? Is there a prominent accent color that shows up in many of the design elements? Now you have something for your paint color to match.

No need to make all your walls the same color either! Pick a neutral as the primary wall color and then add an accent wall with a bold choice. Consider two toned walls. If your room has a chair rail that runs midway up the wall, this can be a stylish choice for using two complementary colors in the same space.

While it can be fun to play with different shades and hues, try to limit the total number of colors in a room. Start with three - a primary, a secondary, and an accent color. Three does not have to be the rule, but keep in mind that too many more than that will make the room feel disorganized and thrown together.

Monochromatic color schemes are another fun option to pursue. Pick a color that you love and then use all different shades, tones, and tints of that color throughout the space. This is a great way to give a harmonious and cohesive look to your room. Using variations of the same color is also a great way to make a small space feel larger.

Still not quite sure where to start? We have some great tips to help get you started in our article 5 Secrets To Simplify Color Selection.

#5: Do Not Leave Lighting To The End

Lighting is a crucial component of any space. It sets the mood and creates an atmosphere that can be either warm and inviting or harsh and uncomfortable. Don’t leave the lighting considerations to the last minute.

Lighting in a room will come from two sources - natural and artificial. Natural lighting can only enter an interior space through windows or skylights. Artificial lighting can be anything added to the room that produces additional light.

Natural lighting is limited by the size and number of windows within a room. Natural light is also affected by the time of day, region, weather, and seasons. On a cloudy day, there is no way to increase the amount of light that can naturally enter through a window.

On the other hand, while you can not “turn down” the sun on a bright, sunny day, there are some steps that can be taken to control the amount of sunlight that enters through a window.

This is what we refer to as “light control” and it is one of the primary functions of window treatments. Functional window treatments that offer superior light control help to moderate how much sunlight enters a room throughout the day. Some window treatments are better equipped for this function.

Motorized window treatments can be opened or closed by the push of a button to increase the effectiveness and accessibility of this control. When combined with smart home technology, they can even be activated while you are away or preprogrammed to follow a set schedule.

Functional window treatments are designed to make a space more comfortable and accessible. Motorization and smart home technologies take this to a whole new level by adding ease and efficiency.

Artificial lighting is any other source of light that is brought into a room. Some lights are hardwired into the ceiling, others will be added using wall outlets, and still others can be operated on battery power. Each form of artificial light will have some pros and cons.

Lights that are already installed in the ceiling may be difficult to modify and nearly impossible to move. They are designed to provide unhindered overhead lighting over the vast majority of the space.

While they may not lend themselves to extreme alterations, there are still some modifications that can be made. Changing out the light bulbs to either brighter or softer light will make a huge difference in the overall ambiance of a space. The light fixtures can be updated as well if they do not match the decorum of the room.

Electrical lights that plug into an outlet are fun additions because they come in a wide range of styles. As long as a cord can reach an outlet, these types of lights can be set up almost anywhere.

Placement of these types of lights should be strategized to avoid excess cords being run throughout the room. Extension cords and power strips can help, but consider placing these lights in locations that will have easy access to an outlet.

Battery powered lighting has the flexibility of being able to be set almost anywhere. The downside comes from the fact that batteries do not provide an endless supply of power and will need to be replaced over time. Consider using battery powered lights for smaller light sources that do not have easy access to an outlet.

Strategic planning will help determine the best use of each type of lighting. Set the lighting first and then the rest of the room can follow. This way furniture can be used to work with the lights instead of getting in the way and artwork and decorative pieces can be embellished, not hidden in the shadows.

Interior design is all about the details like window treatments that enhance the beauty and function of the room.

#6: Do Not Forget The Details

When it comes to interior design, it is easy to focus all of the attention on the big items and forget about the smaller details. Great design will focus on the details and let them guide the rest of the space.

Do not stress over every single detail and do not feel that every design element has to include a million details. Too many details can overwhelm the room and make it feel cluttered and disorganized. On the other hand, ignoring the details altogether will make the space feel generic and impersonal. Be selective on which details are important to include and focus on those first.

Consider adding tassels or trim to your window treatments for an instant customized look. Perhaps adding a few higher quality pillows to a sofa will bring in more colors, patterns, or textures for a more dynamic feel. Not happy with the particular hardware on the cabinets? Change them. Small changes to the details can be simple while making a world of difference.

Remember that a space does not have to be designed all at once. Create your environment piece by piece. Not only should a space look amazing, but it should also function more effectively. Take the time to live in your space and feel out the specifics, then make changes to beautify while also improving the functionality of the space to best fit your needs.

Take time to think about storage solutions and how best to integrate them into your space without drawing attention. Nobody’s home looks like a magazine cover, but if you have quick and easy access to drawers or storage solutions, your space can look fresh and clean in a matter of minutes.

Have fun with some of the details. Find the little nooks and crannies that make each space unique. These little additions to the design of your room will feel like small treasures left to be discovered. With some thought and intention, the tiniest detail may end up being your favorite part of the entire space.


The first rule of interior design is that there are no rules! Create a space that resonates with you and your personal taste and you will always feel at home.

When you love where you live and work, your design style will speak for itself. Working with experts can help give your style inspiration and a voice.

At Gotcha Covered, we work hard to make your ideas a reality. Let us help you create a home or work space with custom window treatments that will add beauty and functionality to your life. We can also show you all of the wonderful possibilities of motorized window treatments and smart home technology.

We are now offering both virtual and in-home consultations so call us at (888) 650-6187 or schedule a free design consultation today!

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