So I write a lot about the things that I love when I pull together a room or indeed when I look at the work others do, but let’s cut the crap and talk about all the things that drive me crazy. Crazy might be an overstatement some merely make me raise an eyebrow but for the purposes of this post I will mostly be talking in a hyperbolic manner.
1. Radiator Covers & Integrated Appliances
So I am going to dive straight in with one that I know will rub a lot of people up the wrong way as they are everywhere. Radiator covers and integrated appliances may seem like strange bedfellows but my primary reason for hating them is the same. I don’t like disguising things. I believe that if an item serves a purpose in the room then it should be designed well. Okay items we use and put away don’t count, like the vacuum, iron, frying pan etc. I am talking about the permanent integral room items. Perhaps it was the obsession with the Arts & Crafts Movement
“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
― William Morris
I believe if you have a fridge say there is a fridge here, same goes for a microwave, radiator, you name it have a well designed one. Obviously there are certain items, such as a washing machine that you might think well hey they are all as ugly as one another, that is where you have to make your design flare shine, make it work give yourself a challenge but stop filling your house with bland boxes that make people hunt for an hour just to find milk for their tea.
I have one more point to raise and that is this, and you can’t argue with me my husband is a physicist who works in energy, a radiator cover makes your radiator inefficient and with rising fuel costs that just seems like a silly item to make inefficient.
2. Curtains That Are Too Short
Growing up, for the most part in the 80s it seemed like everyone had little faffy curtains that brushed the cil. There are many things that were popular in the 80s that we no longer do, throwing batteries into landfills, using teletext, listening to Bon Jovi, and by gum if we can quit Bon Jovi we can quit short curtains. In my opinion the only thing worse that really short curtains are ones that are a strange length bobbing around somewhere near the top of the skirting in no mans land. This is the rule; curtains should touch the floor or pool on the floor this is not up for debate. What about windows where that cannot happen I hear you say, (in fact I am imagining you saying this I can’t actually hear you, that would be weird). Those windows above a counter top or a sink where they cannot reach the floor. Those places need to be dressed in a different way. There are many more ways to dress a window than sticking a curtain in front of it.
3. Rugs That Are Too Small
This is such a common mistake, people buy a rug that floats around in the middle of the room and it looks awful, there is no way to say that in a kind way. There are also some other mistakes that are related to size you should consider. An example of this is the dining table, you have you small rug under the table, the chair are then half on and half off the rug, no no no. If they are on they should be on. The rug in my lounge is way too small, but it came from a smaller house and we have a slate floor and a toddler so there it sits until I save up for the rug I really want but it hurts my eyes and my soul every time I have to look at it.
4. Badly Hung Art
This is a two part pet peeve so brace yourself. Badly hung art for me is art that is either at the completely wrong eye line, usually way to high on a wall, or it is floating around in space. You don’t have to go all out gallery wall all the time but you do need to think about the composition on the wall. A painting that is way to small for a large expanse of wall floating around on its own is doing more harm than good to the aesthetics of the room. Balance it with furniture, more art, lighting, a plant etc. Think about where your art is in relation to your view, if all of your art is on the same wall as your bed or the seating and all you look at is a blank wall something is wrong.
Part two is this pet peeve is generic nonsense. Posters from Ikea, Keep Calm And ‘enter nonsense here’, photo canvases, faux vintage signs, anything by Banksy. Try and buy limited edition prints or posters, original art, thrift store vintage, children’s drawings or photos framed. You don’t want to walk into someone elses home and have it look just like yours do you?
Look you don’t have to daub your walls with dark blue paint like I have you can go for a neutral pallet but do not under any circumstance put magnolia/cream or any derivative on your walls it looks awful. It is the nothing colour, it says nothing, it makes everything else in your room look bland and dull, it is like a disease turning everything around it boring and uninteresting. The colour of your walls is the base of your room, the backdrop for everything else, if that is wrong nothing else is going to pop no matter how hard you try.
There are so many fantastic neutral option out there that do not involve magnolia.
7. Incorrect Scale of Furniture
Here I am again banging on about how size matters and this time I want it just right, not too big, not too small. Too big tends to be the more common mistake when it comes to furniture. You see it in a showroom or you even look at the dimensions on line and go as far as measuring if it will fit in the space. The trouble is measuring if something will fit across the width of your room is not the same as seeing it in full on 3D when it is dominating the room. The fact is you have to work with your room. If your lounge is small it is small you can still get all of the things you want but be smart about it as having to side step around the coffee table to leave the room is not fun and it does not look great either. If your bedroom is small it just is and a king size bed will just have to wait.
You can also go too small but having said that I see this with rugs but not as often with furniture but you should keep in mind scale at all times. Size matters people never forget it.
8. Being Too Matchy Matchy
For those of you who live in the UK and watch the Great Interior Design Challenge you have probably heard Daniel Hopwood use this phrase at least twice an episode.It is a tricky one to define because it can be misinterpreted as filling your house randomly with things that do not make a cohesive style. The main thing to avoid is buying room sets, walking in and buy a set of things or creating a theme that is very twee like look here is our butterfly room with butterfly curtains and butterfly cushions and butterfly art. The best way to demonstrate is with images.
9. Not Enough Cushions
You buy the sofa, they offer you the two cushions to place either end of your sofa that match the sofa you have just bought. Stop! Don’t do it it is a pet hate of most interior stylists to have a home that is too sparse of cushions. Mix patterns and colours and add personality to your sofa. As I am waiting to re upholster my sofa I have decided to go zero cushions until I pick a colour of the sofa rather than going minimal cushions.
10.Poorly Laid Out Rooms
This covers a whole host of mistakes such as; pushing all of the furniture against the walls, arranging all the seating so that it stares at the TV, blocking off alcoves that have nothing in etc. Think about the flow of the room, think about how you need to comfortably move around the space. Don’t be afraid to let go of furniture, if it does not fit it has to go this is not time for hording. Also know when you can break the rules, for example in the kiddos playroom, apart from one area most things are against the wall or close to it as I wanted to create a huge playspace that could be used in a variety of ways for the kiddos, space for trains and games to be set up and put away. I made sure that it didn’t look awful by creating different heights, creating zones around the room, playing with lighting and having open displays and storage to create interest.
please note I have added photos of the world and our homes as they should be because who needs ugliness on their blog