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Five things not to do in interior design

When learning the ins and outs of design, it’s a trial and error process. Sometimes things work and other times they don’t. Here are a few things not to do when designing your space!

Hanging your art too high

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An example of art hung at the perfect height

Everyone has their own opinion when it comes to art that’s why it’s objective. Art is meant to be admired and appreciated, but one thing that can’t be argued is that you shouldn’t have to crank your neck to look at a piece (unless you have 20’ ceilings and a piece of art to fit!).

Think about an art gallery and how they hang the art at the optimal height for viewing. It doesn’t really matter what your ceiling height is, the center of the piece should be displayed at eye level, for those of us who around 5’5”.

Having too short of drapes

A post shared by Amber Lewis (@amberinteriors) on

Drapery hung just right

Unless you have a window seat or are preparing for a flood, your drapery should just skim the floor. Anything less looks like you made a costly mistake and are paying for it.

Lots of companies make great, readily available drapes, but there really is nothing like custom drapery. Another faux pas is to hang the drapes directly above the window. If you have the room above your window trim, hang the drapes 4”-6” (or more if you have lots of room) to give the illusion of taller windows.

Decorating with the wrong size of a carpet

A layered area carpet

Nothing adds warmth and texture to a room like an area carpet unless you’ve gone to small, in that case, nothing is worse! The general rule of thumb is that all the front feet of your furniture should be touching the carpet (the back feet can touch too, but at least the front).

If you have fallen head-over-heels in love with a carpet and it’s just too small, a designer tip is to layer it with a much larger one. The larger of the two should be a neutral colour so it doesn’t clash with the smaller carpet - try a natural jute under an antique carpet.

Books with the dust covers

Books decorated perfectly

Yes, books are great accessories, they add warmth, character and a bit of your personality to a room, as long as they don’t have the dust cover still on!

You know these plastic faux covers that most hardcover books come with, they are there to protect the book on the bookshelf before someone buys it. You wouldn’t leave the price tag on a new shirt, would you!? Once the book is at its new home, the cover should be removed and recycled-showing off the actual book in all its glory!

A dining room light fixture hung too high

An example of a light fixture hung at the right height

Just like art, your dining room light should be hung where you can see and admire it. Generally, lights are hung 30” (to the bottom of the light) over the table. It may seem low before the table is in place, but dining room tables are 30” high + 30” for the fixture. Making it the perfect height for you to enjoy the light and not impede the view of your guests while gathered around for a great dinner party!

Ask a Designer!

If you have a troublesome room, send a photo and your design dilemma to [email protected] and once a month I’ll choose one lucky reader to feature and give design advice!

Courtney Ungaro is an interior designer living in Kelowna and has been working on both residential & commercial projects around the beautiful Okanagan for over 12 years. She has recently started her own company Courtney Ungaro Space + Design specializing in residential & commercial design as well as creative event styling. If she’s not on a job site or shopping for the perfect piece you can probably find her supporting a locally owned restaurant/brewery/winery with her husband and kids. Follow her projects on Instagram @courtneyungaro_spaceanddesign.

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