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Decorating Mistakes and a Few Insider Avoidance Tips: Part I

Posted on March 25 2017

In our previous blog we outlined design trends for 2017 as articulated by curators of Toronto’s recent Design Show. We now turn our Made Modern lens on avoiding design mistakes as filtered through the Washington Post’s Brenda Richardson. Design authors/consultants Michel Smith (also Obama’s White House designer) and Mary Cook contributed their input to her summary.

Here is our take on their ten design mistakes; and, of course, we have added a few suggestions on how Made Modern can help you dodge these no-nos.

Mistake 1: Ignoring scale and proportion

Scale is the “size of things” while proportion refers to the relationship of the size of design elements both to one another and to the space in which you place them.  Too much emphasis on small things in a voluminous space is a frequent mistake that can create a sense of clutter while not taming a room’s dimensions.  Conversely, oversized furnishings can make a small space downright claustrophobic. Risk increases when furnishings are bought in isolation.   Of course, at Made Modern our expansive collection of top design furnishings ranges from small gems to real space makers.

Pictured: Tall Folded Vase in Ash by Menu; Robot Too Sideboard in Pink by &New

Mistake 2: Neglecting the function of the room

Good design is not just about “art,” that is, how things look. It is also how well furnishings and accessories make a space function. It might be as simple as assessing whether a great looking armchair provides the right comfort for watching television. “Drill down,” says Cook, “into how you want the space to function.”  She adds that it also makes sense to consider designing for multi-functional spaces that can also permit multi-tasking. The Han by Faro Barcelona, for example serves both as a wall light and a coat rack while the popular By Lassen modular system provides flexibility for multiple uses but with superb elegance and simplicity.

Pictured: Han LED Wall Light and Coat Rack in Black by Faro Barcelona; Frame 28 Box in White by By Lassen

Mistake 3: Overdoing a theme room

Let’s admit it, we all read design magazines filled with rooms with the look. But, says Smith it is better to “design to what is personal to you not to a style.” At Made Modern our commitment is solidly to Modernism, but that includes a remarkable breadth of design elements that supports minimalism, a love of colour and a touch of humour. 


Pictured: Piet Kokeshi Doll by; Watch Me Clock in Blue by Normann Copenhagen

Mistake 4: Using inadequate lighting

Lighting is often overlooked and then developed through isolated purchases.  Sit back and think through all the elements that go into good lighting plans; these include colour, quantity and location. But, yes, this functional approach should also include what looks good as objects in your space. The best is to use layers of lighting – overhead, floor, table - that give flexibility in order to reflect time of day, season, weather and function. And we have great designs that cover off all three types including excellent fixtures providing delightful ambient lighting.  


Pictured: Mine Table Light in White by Faro Barcelona; Tribeca Franklin Chandelier in Brass by Menu; Triangulated Wall Light in Light Grey Concrete by GANTlights

Mistake 5: Buying Poor quality Furniture

Smith says it simply: “It is like dressing for success.”  It is better to have a limited collection of excellent clothing than closets full of cheap knock-offs. Thus, she recommends you buy things of quality that will last, “but don’t spend everything on one thing,” and then go cheap on the rest. Quality is a given at Made Modern no matter what your price point. If careful budgeting is important to you, consider this to be the year to purchase a really fine major piece of furniture around which to build your perfect house or room over time.   For instance, our Alfred Sofa by Bellila is a top quality addition that can even double as a work station.


Pictured: Alfred Sofa in Beige; Elmer Light in Yellow; Hat Coffee Table in Turquoise; OUD L Floor Light in black; all by Bellila

In our next posting we will present Ms. Richardson’s remaining five design mistakes to avoid, so watch this space! 


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