8 Design Don'ts Every 20-Something Should Avoid

When it comes to decorating our places, we can probably all agree that "winging it" is our general strategy. Sure, we like to keep certain things in mind, you know, like avoiding some decor trends like the plague. But, other errors aren’t so obvious.

For instance, sometimes bigger is better, even in a super small space. We tapped the pros over at Decorist and ATG Stores (along with pretty pics from their epic Seattle showhouse) to school us on mistakes we didn’t even know we were making. Avoid these common pratfalls, and your space will feel bigger, brighter, and better than you ever thought possible.

Photo: Courtesy of Jeff Beck/ATG Stores x Decorist Seattle Showhouse.
Don't Ignore Scale
Scale is really important when choosing the right pieces for your space, especially if you are ordering things online that you have never seen in person. Make sure to thoroughly read the dimensions listed in the description, and use a tape measure to get a feel for the size of the pieces. Don't forget to check armrest heights!

Also, side tables shouldn’t be too low or too high. A good rule of thumb is not more than three inches lower or higher than the piece the table is going to sit next to.
Photo: Courtesy of Jeff Beck/ATG Stores x Decorist Seattle Showhouse.
Don't Overfill Areas
The saying "too many cooks in the kitchen" is even truer when it comes to furniture. Over-furnishing your home can really be counterproductive, creating a congested space with little style direction. Take stock and edit your furniture, assessing what you really need to function in your space. Then, select pieces that do double duty.
Photo: Courtesy of Jeff Beck/ATG Stores x Decorist Seattle Showhouse.
Don't Buy Art You Aren't Excited About
Artwork can be the soul of your home if you let it, so why select anything that lacks personality or doesn't complement your aesthetic? And think outside the frame! Many people don’t have the budget to purchase original art, but you can find ways to personalize less expensive options or turn something unexpected (like vintage wallpaper or a cool textile) into a one-of-a-kind piece. Or, what about going totally crazy with a plant wall?
Photo: Courtesy of Jeff Beck/ATG Stores x Decorist Seattle Showhouse.
Don't Overlook Nooks
Assert a new use into those unique (sometimes awkward) little spaces in your apartment. For instance, make a cozy spot to walk in near the door. Even if it goes unused, stylistically it speaks to a purpose and is much more inviting to visitors.
Photo: Courtesy of Jeff Beck/ATG Stores x Decorist Seattle Showhouse.
Don't Be Afraid Of Big Light Fixtures
Tiny apartment, tiny light fixtures, right? Not so fast! Big fixtures are a great way to make a huge impact and the best part is they can pretty easily be changed out to give a whole new look. Select one that has some drama. Interesting shapes, unexpected texture, and of course size are all important factors to consider.
Photo: Courtesy of Jeff Beck/ATG Stores x Decorist Seattle Showhouse.
Don't Let Lack Of Storage Hold You Back
A small room doesn't have to limit your storage and displays. There are always creative ways to add in storage without overcrowding. Make sure you take advantage of vertical space. Mix pieces that have a lower profile with taller ones to draw the eye up and maximize that precious square footage.
Photo: Courtesy of Jeff Beck/ATG Stores x Decorist Seattle Showhouse.
Don't Go Overboard On Pattern
To keep your space feeling fresh and modern, focus on one wall to add color, pattern, and design. You'll achieve a unique accent by not going overboard and trying to wallpaper or paint the entire room.
Photo: Courtesy of Jeff Beck/ATG Stores x Decorist Seattle Showhouse.
Don't Decorate With Small Rugs
Don't get us wrong: We still have a certain fondness for a bold kitchen mat in its proper place, or a soft, shaggy rug beside a bed. But in most rooms, under-scaled rugs make your furniture feel like it isn't grounded. If you’re on a budget, use a larger, less expensive rug, like a neutral flat weave, as your base and add on a higher quality, patterned rug on top. This creates a super-luxe and layered feel for your home.
Photo: Courtesy of Jeff Beck/ATG Stores x Decorist Seattle Showhouse.
Stop Being Afraid Of Color
A really modern way to update any space is to add variations of color. If you don't want to add too much, start with a pillow or throw to accent and add depth and dimension. Blending tones with all types of grains of wood, marble, gray, and beige can totally refresh any room in your home.
Photo: Courtesy of Jeff Beck/ATG Stores x Decorist Seattle Showhouse.