It’s been a couple of weeks since my last blog and I am so glad to finally be back! Because of family commitments, out of town engagements and working on mostly the staging side of things, I haven’t been able to write as much as I wanted to.
When I am helping homeowners get their homes staged for sale, I often see my designer pet peeves in full blown action. If you know that you plan on selling your home in the future, these are design choices that should be addressed sooner rather than later. Trust me on this. Your house will be more marketable if you do.
Pet Peeves vs. Design Pet Peeves
Whether it’s maintaining the bathroom door closed, making guests take their shoes off at the front door or positioning dining chairs 4 inches away from the table (don’t judge me, this one is my dad’s fault) we all have pet peeves regarding our homes. After working on many different design projects, interior designers also develop pet peeves about particular design choices.
Unlike most pet peeves, which can be completely irrational, design pet peeves usually have a very rational reason behind them. Here are my top pet peeves in design in no particular order. If you are in violation of any of these, be sure to keep reading. We’ve got some work to do!
Ceiling Fans in Dining Areas
I have said it before and I will say it again; I am not a fan of ceiling fans. In fact, most designers do not like to work with ceiling fans. Nevertheless, ceiling fans serve a practical purpose, especially for people who always seem to be hot (I happen to be on the other end of that extreme).
In general, I can live with a ceiling fan, if and when it is not in the kitchen, dining room or breakfast area. From a purely hygienic standpoint, having these dust collectors near food is a recipe for disaster, unless of course you have an affinity for eating dust bunnies. Not to mention, there is nothing fun or decorative about a ceiling fan. A chandelier, a flush mount light fixture or recessed lighting is the best option for these areas.
Un-Accentuated Tray Ceilings
Having lived in New York City, we were lucky if our ceilings were 8 feet high. That is why I can appreciate just how amazing tray ceilings are! It takes a bit of structural work to actually create a tray ceiling so when I see them I get really excited. Tray ceilings are wonderful opportunities to add a pop of color, to use gold or silver foil or to add wallpaper.
I have found that most clients are afraid to maximize their tray ceiling potential. Ironically, these types of ceilings are ideal for experimenting with colors and materials. Reclaimed wood, medallions and tin tile are perfect for accentuating a tray ceiling.
Not only is too much carpeting not aesthetically pleasing, it also isn’t beneficial when it comes to resale. Most home buyers are on the hunt for wood or tile floors, particularly on the main level. Too much carpeting can read like an expensive project to a potential home buyer.
Although wood and tile are initially much more expensive to install, they have remarkable staying power if they are well maintained. In comparison, carpeting usually needs to be replaced every few years. Still, because of its sound dampening qualities, carpeting continues to remain popular in bedrooms, recreational spaces, media rooms and bonus rooms.
There is nothing like dim lighting to really put you in a funk when you enter a room. If your spaces lack sufficient light, it is also difficult to appreciate any interior design efforts in those rooms. Fortunately this is an easy fix.
If you have at least some overhead lighting in your room, you can change out the light fixture and/or increase the light bulb wattage. If general lighting is lacking, call in an electrician to evaluate your situation. He or she may be able to add recessed lighting, sconce lighting or a junction box to allow for a flush mount light fixture or a chandelier. In addition, adding table lamps or a funky floor lamp can help to increase the lighting in a space.
Disclaimer: If you happen to prefer dim lighting or mood lighting (like in the room above), put your light switches on a dimmer. That way if you ever need to sell your home in the future, this will not be a sticking point.
TVs Hung Too High
Hanging televisions too high on the wall is a faux pas we have probably all committed. If so, you know all too well that your neck will hurt after a few hours of TV watching.
I am not completely against hanging a TV over a fireplace, but if you do, be sure that the distance between your seating area and the TV is far enough to offset the height. This way, your eyes, instead of your neck will be engaged in the process of watching TV. The TV in the room above is placed far enough from the main sofa for your viewing pleasure.
Designer pet peeves are subjective. Although these pet peeves are guidelines for helping you make the best choices around design or staging, some things work well if done well. For instance, while I do not mind, some designers absolutely hate TVs over a fireplaces. Moreover, while I prefer wood floors in all common spaces, I do recognize that people who have young children prone to falling need to have more carpeting in their homes. In addition, if you are moving in less than a year, don’t bother to put wallpaper in your tray ceiling. Taking stock of your current lifestyle, as well as future plans, will help you make the best call for your design situation.