Decorating Your New Home? Avoid These Common Interior Design Mistakes

Couple sitting on floor surrounded by boxes with coffee mugs holding and looking at a tablet device.

Have you just bought, or are you considering buying a new home? It’s an exciting time! A new house or apartment is a real blank canvas when it comes to letting your inner artist shine through. Before you get started though, take the time to read through our list of common mistakes people make when it comes to home interior design. By avoiding these pitfalls, we’ll help you make the most of your space, select the right pieces, and most importantly, stay on budget. Read on…  

Make a Plan

First things first: map out the pieces you want for each room, prioritising which ones you buy first. It’s easy to get carried away with the excitement of it all, but you may end up burning through your budget halfway through room one if you don’t have a plan in place! Think practically; you’re going to need a bed, something that’s well worth splashing a bit of cash on. Furniture comes next – couch, table and chairs – think of the various things you’ll be using daily. As much as you might have a vision for that spare room, it can wait a few months until you’ve got the basics sorted. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint!


Think Outside the Box

While you’ll probably want to buy some things new (that bed for example), there’s nothing wrong with pre-owned when it comes to other pieces. Some people equate new home with brand new furniture, but it’s far smarter to mix and match – you’ll save loads of cash, plus your home will have more of a cosy, lived-in feel. A good tip is to decide on the style of furniture you want, then scour second-hand websites for similar items. Charity shops are also great for unique pieces; look out for antique lamps, interesting pieces of art and even bedside lockers, wardrobes and cabinets. Leave them as they are to add an element of vintage character to your home, or jazz them up with a colourful lick of paint for a more modern aesthetic.  

Consider Colour


One of the most important things you’ll need to decide on is colour. As simple a choice as this might seem, lots of people panic and end up assigning a bold, unique shade to each room. In fact, you’re far better opting for neutral colours; cream, white or taupe, for example. Far from being boring, these give you a great base against which you can place pops of colour in the form of furniture, curtains or rugs. If you fancy a change a few years down the road, you can easily refresh the room by swapping out these pieces, meaning you won’t have to commit to a time-consuming repaint.  

Clever Furniture Layout

Before you decide on a suite of furniture, make sure it fits comfortably in your sitting room. You might have always wanted a giant L-shaped couch, but if the room is already compact, a chunky piece will only make it feel more cramped. Layout of furniture has a huge impact too; people often make the mistake of placing couches against the walls hoping it will add room, but actually this only serves to make the space feel cold and impersonal. You should always try to have a focal point, whether that’s a fireplace, coffee table or TV. Next, angle couches and chairs towards that point, so they naturally invite people sitting on them to face each other and chat. 

Lights, Camera, Action…

Lots of people opt for a simple ‘on / off’ approach when it comes to light, but playing with ambience and angles has a huge effect on your home’s perceived warmth, size and depth. Dimmer switches are great, as they allow you to lower the lights depending on the time of day or situation – a low glow for example, is far better if you’re entertaining guests than a blaring white light. It also pays to layer each room’s lighting, as it’ll add even more warmth and character. Have lamps and downlights in your communal area, and opt for an accent lamp to showcase a piece of art or cabinet you’re particularly fond of. 

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Allied Irish Banks, p.l.c. is an authorised agent and servicer of AIB Mortgage Bank in relation to the origination and servicing of mortgage loans and mortgages. Allied Irish Banks, p.l.c. and AIB Mortgage Bank are regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Copyright Allied Irish Banks, p.l.c. 1995.Talk to one of our Mortgage Advisors today and start your mortgage journey.