Interior designers have taste and style to spare, but here's another trait they typically have in spades: tact. And for good reason—they know that not everyone is dying to hear their uncensored, unsolicited "helpful" opinions about their homes. Friends and family members might not want to know that those quartz countertops they just installed are so last year. Even clients who've hired these pros for their expertise don't necessarily want the whole truth about just how bad their pad looks premakeover, right?
But make no mistake, interior designers have a running monologue in their heads packed with judgments and pet peeves—and truth be told, these are often the very best jewels of advice they could share with anyone who's willing to listen.
You want the truth? You can handle the truth! So if you are curious and want to take a peek inside the dark corners of an interior designer's mind, read on—then check if your home is guilty as charged.
1. 'Why is the bed over there?'
Cabbages & Roses Ltd
While homeowners often obsess over their kitchens and living rooms, their bedrooms can leave a whole lot to be desired, according toLorelie Brown, a Showhomes franchisee in Charleston, SC.
"The bedroom is supposed to be a restful retreat, but the way many people arrange the furniture can be awkward," Brown says.
Amy Bell of Red Chair Home Interiors in Cary, NC, agrees. "I'm a stickler for bed placement," she says. The head of the bed is the focal point and should be visible from the doorway. "It's so disorienting to walk into a bedroom and then have to turn back around to see the bed because it's on the same wall as the door."
2. 'The artwork's too damn high'
Photo by Level Look
Artwork that's placed too high is another secret annoyance for Bell as well.
"As a general rule, I like to hang pictures so that the midpoint of the piece is 60 inches from the floor," she explains.
Exceptions to this include placing art over a low piece of furniture or in the dining room. "In this case, you'll want to hang it where it can be viewed from a seated position," she adds. You never want visitors to crane their necks in order to get a look at your paintings.
3. 'You're storing your stuff all wrong'
Photo by Lazzari USA
Every home has storage woes—and interior designers are quite obsessed with solving it.
"Clients usually ask for more storage, not realizing that the way they're using their current closets and bins is inefficient," says Anna Shiwlall, a designer at 27 Diamonds, in Los Angeles. Simply decluttering and adding smart units in cool colors can immediately brighten your look.
"A lack of good cabinetry really stands out and can distract from the other great features in a house, but it's often one of the last things considered," adds Pamela Amerson, a designer at Closet Factory, in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.
4. 'Dear God, not another brown couch'
"So many sellers have dark brown furniture or mahogany bedroom sets," laments Brown. "But there's nothing necessarily about this look that would entice a potential buyer—it's just not inherently inviting."
Dark pieces make a dim room feel even drearier, a small room tinier, and a dated home even more so. Think blond wood when considering flooring and new furniture.
"Lighter pieces also help increase the visual sense of space, which is critical for buyers trying to connect with a home," she adds.
5. 'Too much color!'
A fuchsia bathroom and lime-green kitchen might seem funky, but sometimes too much color can be, well, too much.
"A home is more interesting if color is used as an accent, whether with pillows or tabletop accessories," notes Jeanne Hessen, a senior designer at Closet Factory.
A profusion of color can be chaotic, so use it sparingly. And if you're gearing up for a sale, most interiors designers and stagers urge their clients to go neutral. Quiet tones are more universally appealing and will allow potential buyers to imagine their own furniture in the space without having to (mentally) repaint it.
6. 'That wall has gotta go'
Photo by Erin Hoopes
Interior designers live and breathe light and layout. And to achieve an optimal look, sometimes a wall or two needs to come down.
Lorraine Holmberg, a decorating pro with HR Design Group in New York City, is always praying a homeowner will agree to a little demolition.
"In my mind, I start to work out which walls I'd remove to open up the kitchen and living areas," she says. "And I almost always plan to take out the back of the exterior wall in order to add glass doors."
7. 'This open floor plan doesn't feel like home'
Photo by pulltab Browse modern living room ideas
Lorena Canals, founder of the brand of furniture of the same name, loves open floor plans, but hates how people have no idea how to carve up this cavernous space into areas that feel cozy and intimate.
"Furniture is usually placed too far apart," says Canals.
The solution, she says, is to use rugs to tie a space together. "Rugs give you the opportunity to create multiple intimate spaces when they're placed correctly," she notes. As a general rule, people choose rugs that are too small. Instead, they should be large enough that your furniture should sit at least half on, half off the rug.