Homes Photo Credit: Amanda Oster, Provoke Studios.

Five Design Mistakes—And How to Avoid Them

Designer Karin Bohne shares her smart fixes for common design missteps.

While we like to think that we are all experts in design, we recognize that we do need help from time to time. Luckily, we’ve got the pros on our side. We asked Karin Bohne, owner and director of Moeski Design Agency, to share her tricks for combatting common design missteps and the secrets to creating a look you’ll love.

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Lighting. Lighting can make or break a room. Pay attention to scale: If a light fixture is too small, you’re losing an opportunity to add drama to the room. Sometimes people can be hesitant or shy to go with a large fixture, but once the fixture goes in, it can make a huge statement and really pull the room together. “In your dining room, if you’re choosing a pendant or a chandelier to go around your dining table, go for 24 inches diameter, or something even bigger like 30 inches,” Bohne suggests.

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Colour. Avoid going too matchy-matchy. “For instance, if you choose red for your accent colour, but your throw pillows are red too, along with your art, than it becomes too much,” notes Bohne, “It can look more sophisticated and refined if you’re able to pull together a colour palette that has a few different colours in it.” Another common mistake people make: using millwork that blends in too much. Try and pick a kitchen island in a different colour or shade that your cabinets, or even with a different texture of millwork. Small space. “In small spaces or condo apartments, people feel like they have to use really small furniture. But what ends up happening, is if you have a tiny little couch, a tiny little coffee table, a tiny dining set, it’s almost like you’re living in a miniature home,” laughs Bohne. “Often, even in downtown Vancouver with one-bedroom condos, you can fit a decent sized sofa, and decent sized furniture that takes up more space but can make the apartment feel a lot bigger and function more comfortably.”

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Furnishing. To achieve a really pulled together look, there needs to be a little bit of planning involved. “If you’re not planning, than sometimes you can end up with a really eclectic space, or conversely if you buy everything from the same space than everything can look like too much of a mishmash,” says Bohne. If you want the pieces in your home to be timeless, than good planning is where to start.

Views.If you’re lucky enough to have a view—whether it’s the city, an ocean view or a leafy backyard—–don’t overlook what’s outside because it can sometimes be the best feature of your home. “Highlighting the view by using neutral paint colours is a good way to take advantage of the natural surroundings as they won’t distract,” advises Bohne. “Placing your furniture in such a way so that the furniture is open to the view, and you’re looking upon the view instead of placing the back of a sofa to the window is another great way to feature it. Try to keep the drapery in a neutral tone too.”

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