July 30, 2007

25 Design Mistakes

Currently, I am not working on Mondays, so took the opportunity to watch a little HGTV. It's a good thing I don't have cable at my house, or I would never get anything done. I was at the house where I stay sometimes, so could indulge.

I watched the Designers 25 Design Mistakes. I agreed with some of them - strongly - and disagreed with others. Their No. 24 was too many family pictures. I think that there are two schools of thought on this, as evidenced by the August Domino Magazine, and Style Court's recent post. I like some family photographs, but only if they're black & white in silver frames. Having said that, I do have a wonderful photo of my grandmother, which is sepia tone, and in a wood frame. But it's the only photo I have on the bookshelf. Others are tacked onto my bulletin board.
They also singled out too many colours or patterns, which I think is okay, but then they also go after "fear of colour", which contradicts the colour/pattern dictum. I think that an all white room, as well as one filled with a riot of colour can look wonderful... as long as they're both done with a fine hand.
Another thing they think is a mistake is keeping something that you hate. I am not sure about that one. What if your spouse gave you something truly vile, are you just going to chuck it out? I know you can have a conversation about what you like, but is it worth it in hurt feelings?
Their number one design mistake is fake flowers! Hmmm... I am sure with the design and editorial talent they had picking mistakes, they could have come up with a better one than that!

What is your pet design dislike? Why?


  1. That whole soulless pseudo contemporary let's make it look like an hotel look - basically anything by Terence Conran and his ilk.

  2. Fairfax, I love how you put this. That contradiction between "too much color" vs. "fear of color" makes me smile. I think you said it, it's just a matter of the hand that brings it all together --- and it's all very subjective. But somehow I think we know good design when we see it, whether minimal or crazy maximal :)

  3. Fairfax, I do have to agree with the fake flower and plant mistake. I especially loath fake plants above kitchen cabinets! I can't help it, but nothing could really grow up there and people rarely dust them. Ugh! I say, if you have a hard time growing something in your house, it just isn't meant to be! Decorate with something else.

    I will have to see if I can catch a rerun of the show! I would be interested in the whole 25!:)

  4. Souless rooms make me so sad; I hate it when I am in someone's home and I know it tells me more about the designer than the owner. I might still admire the design (and the professional) but I always feel like my hostess has sold her soul.

  5. Design dislike: furnishing rooms in "suites" ...

    And more at


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