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  • Writer's pictureJanell Bartlett

6 Things This Interior Designer Would Never Have In My Own Home

Bad design and last decade's trends? Not a good look in anyone's home. So in my ongoing quest to better your home, here's a list of the cardinal design “don’ts” to avoid at all costs—in other words, the things you’d never, ever find in my house. #ambleaweinteriors

1. Tiny Tiny Tiny (!!!) Rugs

When it comes to area rugs, there’s one rule that demands respect: never buy one that is too small for the space. In general, I suggest a rug that nearly coats the room’s entire floor and can have at least the legs of every piece of that section's furniture on it. Small rugs make your room appear smaller, and it’s visually awkward when furniture pieces don’t sit comfortably on top. Obsessed with a rug that’s too small for your space? Layer it on top of a larger one.

2. Impersonalized Art/Meaningless Objects

There are definitely moments that call for filler, but they’re few and far between. Designers rarely concern themselves with selecting art or objects that matches their surrounding décor or are used to fill an empty space. We opt instead for pieces that lend an interesting sense of contrast to a room’s established palette or are vintage objects from family heirlooms and/or from our travels. If we need to do filler, we try to purchase it directly from arts (Etsy!) or ensure they at least look intentional.

3. Curtains hung too low

This is a tough one for me. I have an adorable 1932 Tudor-revival home with beautiful textured walls that curve to the ceiling. I can't hang my curtains the 'correct' height from the ceiling because it would destroy the character of the home. However, this is a rare 'problem'. If you have modern square walls and ceiling you absolutely must have your curtains as close to the ceiling as possible. You must also purchase curtains that just kiss the floor or lay about 1/2". Check out this nifty illustration by Emily Henderson

4. Matchy Matchy Design Style

Walking into a home that’s committed to only one style is so BORING! Sure we all love Boho and mid-century modern but you can seriously go overboard and overboard quick. Be sure to mix it up with various pieces of multiple styles. Don't worry, there's ways to make it look put-together and intentional (check my blog post on transitional style and how to achieve boho). Stick to the same color palette and/or only bring in those styles with accessories so as they go out of style, you don't have to replace everything.

5. Matching Furniture Sets

Inline with Number 4 above, do not EVER purchase a furniture set. Nothing screams of complete design paralysis like a furniture set! You will never see a furniture set in a designers home. They make your home look like a mass produced furniture showroom -- and not in a good way.

Do I need to provide another reason why furniture sets are terrible?

I always recommend combining new pieces with antiques (and everywhere in between) for a look that feels thoughtfully layered over time. This provides a great baseline for adding in cool finds and family heirlooms without feeling misplaced. It also saves money in the long run because as things go out of style, you don't have to purchase all new furniture. And it shows some creativity. If the idea of having to purchase furniture that isn't part of a set seriously freaks you out, call me!

6. Trend-Heavy Decor

I know some of you will not like this but decorating with items that are super trendy in an attempt to be trendy does the exact opposite. Designers are lucky because we get a VIP look at all of the industry's hottest trends--but you’re highly unlikely to find all of those trends on display within our homes. I stick with a classic foundation, ensuring any space I touch will stand the test of time and put in a little trend along the way. Also, I tend to think that if you can find it at Home Depot or Lowes, it has jumped the shark. (Talking to you white washed shiplap, overused "blessed" inspirational signs, and anything farmhouse!)


Now that I have shared with you the 6 design things you will never see in my home -- let me save myself by saying that my intent with this post is to not make you feel bad about your space. If you like any of the above, then by all means shine-on crazy diamond with your "don't tell me what to do" self!

However, if you do look at the above and are like "wait a minute...yes, that is me and I want change", then I'm here to be that change! You need to your space as calm, functional, and intentional as it can be. Your space should be inspiring and reflective of who you are not trying to be something its not or looks like you are trying too hard.

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