Selecting paint is one of the most complex things in the design process. Why?
I can't state this concept often enough. A color is only a color based upon the light illuminating it, the hues surrounding it, and the age and integrity of the human eye viewing it.
Lighting quality will vary greatly from space to space, but there are basically these types of bulbs when designing a home: incandescent, fluorescent, High-Intensity Discharge and LED. In addition, you also have natural daylight from the Sun.
Also, a color will change dramatically based upon the the other colors surrounding it even under the same exact lighting conditions. When I paint a new home, I often explain we need to put up the same swatch in several rooms and view it in the morning, afternoon, and evening. It's just that complicated so leave time to enjoy the process before your contractor calls looking for the final choice. A tan may appear pink next to an orange sofa OR the white trim may appear dirty next to a light grey wall that doesn't have enough contrast. Know what is surrounding your wall color first.
Lastly, eyesight is usually one of the first senses that begins to deteriorate with aging. In fact, the average 60 year old person needs 3x the amount of light compared with the average 20 yr. old. The yellowing of the eye lens affects color perception making differences of shades of blue, green, and violet difficult for older people. I used to design long term care facilities and hospitals and became very aware how important color perception can be for residents. The next time your parents comment on your paint choice just keep that in mind!
So the source of the light, the colors surrounding it, and the human eye all play a role in color perception.
If you don't like the word budget, use Goal instead. In any case, you need to exercise discipline to meet your goal. It's not easy, but at some point know what the project should cost and then allow a 15%-20% degree of variation. You want to live in your home, not worry every night about the financial strain you've caused yourself and your partner. Avoid this mistake - you want to research the price of a typical sofa, designer rug, or hour to hang wall paper. Define your budget!
Many furniture plans look like there is a ton of room to play with according to the untrained eye that is not used to scaled drawings, door swings, circulation paths, etc. Let your designer guide you on the scale of furniture and the amount needed. I've delivered bad news to clients on what type of desk will fit OR how many people can squeeze into a Family Room. Don't make the mistake of overcrowding a space unless you're into hoarding! Everything looks more spacious on paper.
No- Have 3 Types of Light in each main space.
Lighting is one of the most over looked elements in Interior Design for most home owners. Each main space should have Ambient (General), Task, and Accent Lighting.
Ambient Lighting is the general lighting in the space. It provides a basic level of illumination to function and navigate a space.
Task lighting is provided to perform a specific function. Under cabinet lights in a kitchen, arm lamp on a desk, micro can over the head of the bed for reading at night - all are examples of effective task lighting.
Accent lighting draws attention to important elements in the room. Lighting over artwork or up lights on plants could be a few examples of accent lighting. Dimmer switches are common to pendant fixtures used as accent lights.
Limit pattern or strong color to small areas (pillows, accessories, lamps,).
As a young designer I totally failed this one and used a patterned laminate all over these cabinets in a hospital. The millwork overwhelmed the small patient exam rooms and it was too late to change it. Pattern or color can be a featured element in a room, but if you're unclear about your style, stay neutral on major pieces such as rugs, upholstery, and furniture. Splurge on colorful artwork instead to create a vibe for the room.
Plus, the average person moves quite a bit for their career, so that red sofa that looked great in NYC may not look so great Charleston.
Measure twice and place the order once.
When ordering rugs specifically, measure twice. Figure out if all the table or chair legs will fit on it. Does it clear the vent? Will people trip because of the pile height and circulation path? It it the right scale for the room/ Do you need several rugs for an extra large space? I often see rugs in photographs online that are really too small for the space. The front legs of the chair should be on the rug. It's the item anchoring the other objects together into a composition. Note: You need at least 2 feet of rug behind a dining chair. Nobody wants to be on/off the rug as they get in or out from the dining table.
Decision making is just part of the process in design. Hopefully, reviewing these 7 Common Interior Design Mistakes will help you avoid some costly ones. Please see my other blog articles for more information.
-Anita Bhattacharya Oates, NCIDQ