6 Things an Interior Designer Would Never Have In Her Own Home

Bad design and bad feng shui? Not a good look on anyone. So in our ongoing quest to better our homes, we checked in with award-winning designer Marie Flanigan for the cardinal design “don’ts” to avoid at all costs—in other words, the things you’d never, ever find in her house.

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living room too small rug

1. Puny Rugs 

“When it comes to area rugs, there’s one rule that demands respect: never under buy. In general, we suggest a rug that nearly coats the room’s entire floor. 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. Art That Matches Decor

“There are definitely moments that call for a monochromatic look, but they’re few and far between. Designers rarely concern themselves with selecting art that matches their surrounding decor, opting instead for pieces that lend an interesting sense of contrast to a room’s established palette.”

succulent and tchotchkes

3. Meaningless Objects 

“The process of designing a home involves exploration and time spent learning who people are and how they live. It’s a process that should result in a distinctive, personal point of view that shares heirlooms, traditions, and special memories through texture, color, and light. Avoid filling your home with beautiful things that hold no meaning to you, opting instead to pick up meaningful pieces over time.”

4. Drapery Panels Mounted Too Low

“When it comes to drapery hardware, always think taller (especially in a home with lower ceilings). The goal is for your ceilings to feel as open and airy as possible. Install drapery hardware three to six inches beyond the window frame for the illusion of wider windows, and four to six inches above the frame for the illusion of added height!”

generic living room design

5. Monostyle Furniture 

“Walking into a home that’s committed to only one style displays an immediate lack of character. Combine new pieces with antiques (and everywhere in between) for a look that feels thoughtfully layered over time.”

6. Trend-heavy Decor

“From the season’s 'it' colors and patterns to bold new finishes, designers are #blessed because we get a VIP look at the industry’s hottest new 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. Plus, you’re bound to save money in the long run if you aren’t forced to swap out decor at the change of every season!”

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Home Editor

From 2014-2019 Grace Beuley Hunt held the role of Home Editor covering interior design, styling, trends and more.