In our approach to home design, we often gravitate towards what feels familiar, with some people opting for neutral tones while others choose bright colours.
But according to an expert, some of our decorative choices run the risk of making our homes look dated or impractical.
FEMAIL spoke to Simon Ribchester, head of design at Beams, who explained your home should be ‘an expression of who you are and reflect how you feel in a particular room or space’.
No homeowner wants to experience that feeling of ‘house-barrasment’ when hosting guests, especially if it’s due to dated decor.
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Here, Simon reveals his top five design faux pas and – more importantly – how to avoid them…
1. ‘Busy’ decoration
It’s easy to get carried away when designing a space, but this can produce a visual overload. The room may end up feeling too busy and noisy.
Simon recommends looking more closely at the ‘negative space’ in each room, and not being afraid of leaving some wall and floor space bare.
He said: ‘I love playing with subtle textures; for example, corrugated tiles to add interest, but keep the palette simple.’
2. Bad lighting
According to Simon, lighting is a ‘crucial element of design’.
‘t has the power to make the room feel cosy, warm and inviting – or quite uncomfortable!’ he said.
‘The most common lighting mistakes include bright light and too many switches.
‘Try to achieve three layers of lighting for the perfect glow. Ambient lights are for general visibility, whereas task lighting is for a specific job, such as cooking or reading.
‘Meanwhile, accent lighting helps to illuminate a feature, object or area for aesthetic effect.
‘A good tip for avoiding too many light switches is to put incidental lamps on their own circuit, so they can be operated from one switch.’
3. Bathroom clutter
Simon reckons lots of homeowners ‘underestimate’ the importance of bathroom storage, which can help achieve a ‘minimal’ look.
He added: ‘However, the reality for most people is that you end up with lots of clutter on the sides, which can become distracting.’
The expert suggested several different options, including shower storage to organise toiletries.
‘I also advise utilising the height of a room to maximise storage solutions for bulkier items, such as large towels and cleaning products,’ he added.
Simon Ribchester, head of design at Beams, advises utilising the height of a room to maximise storage solutions for bulkier items, such as large towels
If neutral colours are to your liking, personality can be achieved through intricate design detailing and textile choices
4. Lack of personality
‘I think we can all agree that our homes reflect who we are. There’s a fine line between ‘minimalism’ and ‘bland’ – and a home that falls victim to the latter can lack warmth and character,’ Simon said.
He encouraged all homeowners to ‘bring individuality’ into their homes, and consider a mood board to draw inspiration – however he advised people not to fall into common traps.
‘A common misconception is that incorporating lots of bold colour adds personality – that’s not necessarily the case, and you won’t feel fully comfortable living in the space if that’s not your style!’ he warned.
‘If neutral colours and minimalism are more to your liking, personality can be achieved through other means like intricate design detailing, textile choices and interesting patterns.
‘Similarly, cohesive pops of colour featured elsewhere throughout the home, contrasting with the subdued minimalism, can be quite powerful in adding character.
‘Where possible, shop in vintage stores to find features that are not only unique, but a sustainable choice.’
5. Poor layout
‘A good layout should allow you to effortlessly move through each space with ease. It can make all the difference to how you feel in your space,’ Simon advised.
‘A lack of cohesion can create an awkward flow, whilst creating rooms that are too small or too large wastes valuable space.’
He advised taking care to consider the layout and design of your space, because there is a lot to bear in mind.
‘Perhaps one of the most important things to consider is ensuring your floor plan reflects accurate scale,’ Simon said.
‘This will guarantee that your room’s precise proportions, sizing and measurements are in harmony.’