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15 Designer Do’s and Don’ts

I am always preaching that there are no rules to design – that you should be as free as a bird when creating your sanctuary of interior bliss. And that’s true. Mostly. But there are a few things to keep in mind when designing and decorating a new space to ensure beautiful composition and great flow – or “chi”. With that in mind, I’ve gathered up these do’s and don’ts to help you design the interior of your dreams.

Don’t ever buy a “set” of furniture

There is no reason your sofa, loveseat, chairs, ottoman, coffee table and end tables all need to be identical! If you find a sofa you are obsessed with, purchase a single other coordinating piece from that line, then STOP right there! Select some different, complimentary pieces to play off that.

Do let one piece of furniture be the star!

If the sofa you’re crushing over has gorgeous rolled arms with nail heads, then the other pieces in the room should be simpler. This will make that sofa the star of the room, and nothing will overshadow it.

Don’t be a slave to trends.

They are called trends for a reason. (Because they will soon be out of fashion!) Make your “trend” statements with accessories and smaller items that are right on target and very up-to-date.

Do make wise decisions with larger purchases

Go simple and neutral with larger purchases, so they’ll be in style for years.

Don’t paint every wall in the room a different colour.

We all love color, but there’s no reason that every surface needs to be “one of your favorites.” If you can’t commit to a colour, put your paintbrush down and meditate on your selections until you can. I’m not saying I’m opposed to a more prominent accent wall: but pick one and call it a day.

Do choose a wall colour that isn’t too saturated.

Remember, what you see on a small paint chip will look vastly different when rolled over an entire wall. Again, too much of a good thing is NOT a good thing!

Painting Tip:

Take advantage of those small trial containers of paint to see what your colour looks like on a large surface. Look at your test wall throughout the day and trust your gut reaction. Lighting is different in different rooms (just because a colour worked for your friend, doesn’t mean it will look great in your home) and at different times of day

Don’t tackle big projects like a full bathroom or kitchen reno on your own.

There are so many moving parts and specialized fixtures and fittings in these rooms; be sure to call in a professional to help with your electrical work, plumbing and any structural changes.

Do research credible contractors and designers in your area.

These professionals will help achieve your vision in a way that is safe and up to code! Renovation is expensive and it’s critical to get things right to protect your investment – and be safe.

Don’t believe everything you see on TV.

I am guilty of being on the small screen doing projects in record time, but don’t be fooled. The timelines and budgets for reality renovation shows may not be realistic for your real-life renovation.

Do look to TV for ideas and inspiration.

There are wonderful take-home messages, awesome ideas and terrific DIY tips on TV– not to mention plenty of entertaining characters. Enjoy the entertainment, but realize that’s exactly what it is.

Don’t skimp on good bedding.

Invest in linens that have a high thread count and are comfortable. We spend one-third of our lives in bed – shouldn’t we be as comfy as possible during those hours?

Don’t rely on one source of light in a room.

Try to incorporate at least three forms of lighting in every space. Combining different light sources allows you to control the feel and mood of a room.

Do use dimmers.

Lighting is one of the most powerful tools we have in our design arsenal! We can use it to create a mood, soften a look or highlight a feature! Put all your lighting on dimmers, if possible.

Tip: Buy a DIY dimmer switch. There are super simple DIY dimmer switches available that can be added to any plug-in lamps. Find them at most hardware stores. Some are hardwired to a chord and others are small, plug-in units. Either way, this ability to control the amount of light output is key! 

-by Tyler Wisler