Dangers of DIY Design

In my previous post we talked about the experiences and the woes of working with an interior designer and how, often, it’s so difficult to get what you want when you expect a designer to be able to read your mind.

I hear so often from clients that they will “know what they want when they see it”. But that’s no good because it’s going to waste time – both their time and my own. We just need to get to the right mood board, wallpaper, colour scheme or piece of furniture as quickly as possible to move forward.

What we’re going to talk about today is what you must not do when you’re designing a room yourself. Some of the common mistakes I often see are:

  • Over-stuffed rooms where people have tried to cram too much into the wrong space. With a slight bit of tweaking, I could help people to get the layout of the room so it has multi- purpose and multi-function. Don’t just cram it all in without a plan!
  • Magnolia mediocrity – we’ve all seen this one! Don’t get me wrong, neutrals are wonderful and magnolia is not an offensive colour. The problem comes when it’s used on every wall in every room of a home. Using colour in interiors doesn’t need to be scary – there’s a bit of theory to it and the rest is down to taste.
"Magnolia" can be beautiful...

"Magnolia" can be beautiful...

  • A major sticking point I often see is budget. People have grand designs but a small budget, and they run out of cash halfway through. It’s a real shame as you can end up with a room that might have gorgeous flooring, tasteful walls and perfectly finished woodwork and trim, but it’s let down by tired-looking furniture, really basic curtains/blinds and no accessories. Simply because there wasn’t enough budget left for the all-important finishing touches.
  • Confused schemes. Is it mid-century modern, 1970s retro, country cottage, Parisien chic, beach boho or 1920s glamour? Nope. It’s trying to be all of them at once, and tragically failing to manage to be any of them.

    I’ll admit it, I haven’t actually seen anyone try to use all these styles in one room (!) – but I do often see confused rooms that don’t really make sense in terms of style.

    We all love to follow trends but there’s a right way, and then there’s a jumble of all the current trends in one space…
You've gotta love a beach boho / desert vibe! This space has stuck to one style and does it well.

You've gotta love a beach boho / desert vibe! This space has stuck to one style and does it well.


These are just a few of the pitfalls of DIY-ing your interior design. Not to mention the heated “discussions” with your partner over every single design decision…


In the next post, I’ll be sharing ways you can avoid these mistakes and save yourself time, money and angst in your next interior design mission.