Mistakes Made on the Job & How to Avoid Them


Let’s be real here – we all know EVERYONE makes mistakes. We are all human and aren’t perfect so life is chalk full of them. But without those pesky little things we wouldn’t learn, grow, or be the knowledgeable people we are today. In the moment it might be feel like the biggest deal in the world when you’ve made a wrong move (personally when it happens to me I feel like I want to crawl into a cave and hide forever). But when you’ve found a solution and made it to the other side the thought of said mistake might not sting quite as much, and instead be a valuable learning lesson. And let me tell ya, do I have a lot of valuable learning lessons in my back pocket! As a professional who has been in the interior design industry for years, I am constantly learning new things on the job but also providing advice learned through experience that clients would be lost without. Which is what inspired me to write this blog post. I got to thinking that there are probably a lot of people out there taking on home remodeling projects on their own and may not know what to avoid or things to remember in order to have a smooth ride. So here you go – here are helpful tips and some memorable “learning lessons” that I think will help you in your home remodeling journey:

1.     Measure, measure, MEASURE. Don’t EVER forget to measure. Do I need to be more clear? MEASURE! That will be your lifeline in any home project. Don’t eye ball it, measure. Don’t guesstimate, MEASURE. If you are purchasing furniture, measure out the dimensions of the items being purchased in the space to make sure everything fits. If you don’t have fancy shmancy space planning software than a cheap and easy way to do this is to take blue painters’ tape or masking tape and literally tape down the furniture layout in the space. That way you can see how large or small the furniture looks in your space and can figure out walkway clearances too. Whether you are purchasing furniture, remodeling a kitchen, or replacing tile in your bathroom you always, always, always want to measure.

2.     Remember to consider the doors, stairs, or ceiling height items need to pass through in order to make it to the space you’re designing. I think a lot of interior designers can relate to this story but when I was first starting out in my business I specified the perfect sofa for a client. What I did not think through is that the couch was too wide/tall to fit up the curved staircase in the client’s home. So in order to fit the sofa we had to literally CUT it to fit and then reupholster it on site. I of course covered those costs and in the end the client was happy but man do I look back at that and cringe! Moral of the story is whether it’s new cabinets, a sofa, beam, hand rail, artwork, etc. you need to make sure you’ve thought through how it will arrive in your space and if it fits along the way.

3.     When selecting paint colors, make sure to paint sample swatches IN the space you’re painting and look at it during different points of the day. Paint colors can vary IMMENSELY between the small swatch you see at the store versus your entire wall. Lighting is the main factor in how your eye perceives color so you are definitely going to want to view a larger paint swatch in the same light where the paint color will live. For instance, a past client of ours adored a creamy yellow paint color used in her old home and wanted to use that same color in her new home. She opted for it to go in the upstairs hallways and bedrooms which were flooded with natural light during the day. Because of how much light her new home got versus her old home, the yellow was VERY YELLOW. Like, a few shades down from a block of cheddar cheese yellow. And while I do love a soothing, creamy yellow in CERTAIN spaces, I would not recommend doing it throughout your entire second story that has HIGH vaulted ceilings and a lot of natural light. Colors love to play tricks on you so don’t fall for it ;)

4.     Factor in appliance specifications when measuring cabinets. This isn’t something I have messed up on before but I just know it can be a common thing to overlook if you are doing a kitchen remodel yourself. As I stated above, measuring is SUPER important. Incorrect cabinet measurements is one of the costliest mistakes you can make on a home renovation. As the Property Brothers say, “measure ten times, cut once.” Make sure you select appliances BEFORE submitting a cabinet order as these dimensions can greatly change cabinet dimensions.

5.     Knowing where your HVAC ducts are. It is something I used to commonly overlook when space planning a client’s home. Now when I’m measuring a space I make sure to mark where the ducts are on my drawings so I know to not place a rug, piece of furniture, or built-in over it. Obviously, it’s important to have adequate air flow in a space and it will start to feel stuffy if you cover it up.

Hopefully you found some of these learning lessons helpful and will know how to avoid them when you find yourself in your own home remodeling project! We’d love to hear from you so please comment on this post to let us know what you think or if you have any learning lessons of your own!