July 14, 2024

Architectural Design Kingdom

Home is where the heart is

14 Things Designers Would Never Have in Their Homes

5 min read

There’s nothing that elevates a home quite like the touch of an interior designer. Professionals know how to make spaces feel unique, complete, and sleek. While there’s no one thing that all interior designers have in their homes that screams “professionally designed,” it’s often what isn’t there that makes the space stand out. Here are 14 things that interior designers would never have in their own homes. 

Synthetic Carpeting 

Bethany Adams of Bethany Adams Interiors says designers never install synthetic carpeting in their homes. “I get it—carpeting is expensive! But when you compare the lifetime costs of maintaining and then replacing cheap man-made fiber carpeting with a high-quality wool carpet, you will find the costs are similar. Wool carpet is naturally flame-resistant, which makes it a safe choice for nurseries and kids’ rooms.”

If wool carpet isn’t quite in your budget, wait for a sale or opt for an area rug instead. 

Shower Tiles That Don’t Go Up to the Ceiling

This can make a space look a little unfinished. Isabella Patrick, principal designer of Isabella Patrick Interiors, Inc., says, “We see this so often and are unsure if this is a budget or design choice on the part of whoever built the space. When designing a shower and bathroom, we don’t always cover every drywall surface in tile, but certainly, the shower wall areas are clad up to the ceiling—and sometimes even the ceiling, too.”

Bath Towel Bars

Liz Goldberg, founder and creative director of design studio Carolynleona, never includes bath towel bars in her clients’ bathrooms or her own home. She explains, “We have found no one ever has the time to fold their towel over the bar neatly; life is too busy! Instead, we use towel hooks and row them up for an organized and clean space, so you can throw and go.”

She adds that “a towel bar over a toilet is a big no-no.” Instead, she recommends adding artwork instead and relocating your towel to a hook so you can reach for it when you step out of the shower.

Floating Shelves

According to interior designer Bradley Odom, floating shelves are a no-go in the homes of interior designers. “All good design needs to be anchored and grounded within a space. The trend of randomly floating shelves in a room feels very disparate from the other pieces in the room. Instead, opt for a thoughtfully designed étagère or built-in bookcases.”

Accent Walls 

Whether they’re created with paint or wallpaper, accent walls have been popular for years, but some designers aren’t exactly fans of this look. “I feel like accent walls have seen a slight resurgence as of late, especially within nooks or architectural details. Even when done this way, they really chop up the cohesion of a space and steal attention from other thoughtful details rather than feeling like a united room,” Odom explains. 

Plain Ceilings

Don’t forget about the fifth wall! Not doing a special treatment on the ceiling can really make a room look lackluster. Patrick says, “An interesting ceiling treatment—as simple a very pale shade of color—shows a thoughtful design process and makes the space feel more intentional. This also has the effect of opening up the room. Even a darker color on the ceiling draws your eye up, and when the eye is moving it gives the feeling of spaciousness. ”

The sky (or the ceiling!) is the limit so think beyond paint if you’re feeling experimental. Patrick recommends wallpaper or even gold leaf to really jazz things up.

Builder-Grade Vanities

Hollie Velten, the designer behind the studio SPACES by Hollie Velten, says she’d never have one of these in a bathroom, explaining, “I always resist these character-less options out there at the big-box stores and plumbing showrooms. I always push for a custom piece with personality in a place with such personal ‘me time,’ everyday-use.”

She recommends splashing your vanity with a bright color or even adding a pretty, custom skirt around the existing unit.

Barn Doors

With the exception of Chip and Joanna Gaines, barn doors aren’t beloved by most interior designers. “Clunky and cumbersome, barn doors should be regulated to their original use. I don’t like design that doesn’t fit within the original architecture of a space. So unless living within a working barn, I opt for traditionally hinged doors or elegant pocket doors,” Odom says.

A Kitchen Without a Backsplash

Designers know how to make any space feel complete—and a kitchen without a backsplash looks like it’s missing something. Tiles add color, style, and contrast to the kitchen. They also serve a practical purpose: Cooking with oils or sauces can stain walls that aren’t protected by a durable, easy-to-clean backsplash.

A Massive Kitchen Island

Referring to the type with a “hulking overhang countertop and too many seats,” Velten suggests these can feel “invasive” in a space. Velten prefers traditional work tables, cozy banquette nooks, and even custom pieces, over large structures. She adds, “A space that holds so much love and conversation should have a little bit more heart in it than an overbuild.”

Builder-Grade Hardware

Whether it’s those silver cabinet knobs or pulls, there’s nothing less creative looking than builder-grade hardware. Fortunately, it’s an easy fix. Nice hardware can be purchased fairly inexpensively and requires just a screwdriver to install. 

Adams particularly dislikes builder-grade brass-plated door hardware. “This was so ubiquitous in the ’80s that it really took me a long time to jump back on board the brass trend train. But there is no comparing a high-quality solid brass doorknob, whether its lacquered or natural, to the hardware store fixtures of yore.”

Exposed Wires

A flat-screen television can look sleek, but hanging wires ruin the look. Wires should be installed behind the wall. Designers who rent will often purchase a cover for their wires, which helps to conceal the unsightly wires without putting holes in the wall.

Plastic Wall Hooks

Patrick admits she has a few of these installed inside closets that most people will never see, but she believes these should not be out for display. “Do not use these for your kitchen dishtowel or entryway tote bags!”

Plastic Shower Curtains

This one might be controversial as plastic shower curtains are super easy to clean and maintain, but Patrick shares her workaround for this. “I do use a plastic liner on the shower-facing side of a shower curtain, but there are nicer options (like the opaque white ones). But a plastic curtain alone, no matter the design, is never chic.”


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