6 Designers Reveal Their Biggest Decorating Pet Peeves

October 21, 2020
You know how you have that one thing that just drives you insane? Designers, it turns out, are no different and the things that vex them the most are as varied and diverse as their individual styles. From using the wrong-sized rug to clients going rogue, six industry stars open up about their major decorating gripes.

Rayman Boozer

  • “Beds with no headboards.”
  • “Living rooms with no rugs.”
  • “Drapery hung too low at the window frame.”
  • “Wattage stickers on light fixtures after they’ve been installed.”

Jean Liu

  • “Anemic rugs—buy them large enough to fit the size of the room and furniture. All too often we see furniture that’s crammed onto a postage size, artificially making the room feel smaller than it really is.”
  • “The wrong color temperature—make sure it’s in the 2700-3000k range. It’s a waste to spend money ensuring the room is beautifully appointed only to have the lighting be either so yellow it feels like we’re still living in the 1970s or as white and sterile as an operating room!”
  • “Too many legs make for nervous spaces. Create a balance between pieces of furniture that are solid and go to the ground versus those that are on legs. We are particularly wary of rooms that feel too leggy—legs on lounge chairs paired with a sofa with tapered legs used with a coffee table with four legs.”

Alex Papachristidis

  • “Over-scaled furniture.”
  • “Homes that look like showrooms or hotels without anything special or interesting.”
  • “Rooms that lack a personal and collected touch— they don’t look finished!”

Beth Diana Smith

  • “Art that is hung too high looks so terrible and always gets under my skin.”
  • “Furniture that’s too big looks forced and makes the room feel smaller and uncomfortable. Having the right proportion in a space is tantamount to achieving a beautiful aesthetic.”
  • “Missing finishing touches—or the jewelry, if you will—is such an annoyance. It prevents the room from looking polished, complete and magazine ready!”

Mikel Welch

  • “When my clients sneak and purchase a piece of furniture without consulting with me. Now, I’m forced to figure out how to fit a random horrendous item into the design.”
  • “Attending a get together with a friend as a ‘plus-one’ and the homeowner says, ‘Oh, you’re an interior designer. Let me show you around my house so you can give me some advice on a few things.’ Um no, that’s called a consultation!”
  • “People who reach out to ‘support’ my new Mikel Welch Furniture Collection, then ask ‘what price do you get it for?’ Well, that’s not support. That’s called selling it at cost, which does nothing for sales.”

Ashley Whittaker

  • “Beveled mirrors.”
  • “Shoe moulding.”
  • “Anyone who calls a sofa a couch!”

Illustrations by Natalie Horvath