5 common home decor mistakes affecting your wellbeing, according to interior designers

From color to lighting, you may not be aware that these decor mistakes can negatively affect wellbeing

bedroom with lamp. green kitchen, bright living space
(Image credit: Original BTC, A Villalobos Design Studio, Farrow & Ball)

Home decor is not just about creating visual appeal – considering how the design of our homes contributes to our overall wellbeing has never been as important as it is today.

When home decor is carefully considered, through the likes of color schemes and lighting ideas, it can do wonders to create a positive mood – from an uplifting living room to a calming bedroom that aids in relaxation. 

And while there are plenty of decor ideas that are well known to cultivate a wellness-boosting environment: think natural materials and calming colors, it's not always so obvious to know which decor ideas may be having the opposite effect, and therefore negatively impacting the wellbeing of your household. 

5 decor mistakes affecting your wellbeing

We spoke to designers to get their take on some of the most common interior design mistakes that can impact wellbeing, which we've rounded up below to help you on your way.

1. Following too many trends

Living room with wooden floor and panelled walls, three large sash windows with wooden shutters, sculptural vases and items on display.


Admittedly, it can be tempting to get carried away with the latest interior design trends. While the latest trends can be great sources of inspiration to help you create a stylish space, observing too many trends can have an adverse effect. Not only is it impractical to be constantly changing decor to keep up with trends, but it can prevent your home from feeling truly relaxed. If it doesn't feel personal, it likely won't be the most comfortable space to be in. 

'The number one mistake that I see people make with their interior design motifs is focusing too much on having a home that looks like a Pinterest-perfect vision or something out of a TikTok trend video and forgetting that they actually need to be able to live there,' says interior designer Kathy Kuo. 'First and foremost, your home needs to be comfortable and practical. There are so many ways to make a space beautiful, but it first needs to serve your day-to-day needs. If you're feeling like you live in a museum, it's definitely going to have a negative impact on your wellbeing because you aren't able to fully relax and feel at home.'

kathy kuo home
Kathy Kuo

Kathy Kuo is a celebrated interior designer and international guru within the home and lifestyle space. She has 20+ years of experience in the design industry. 

Instead of following trends so closely, you should make the home decor process as personal as possible to meet your own needs. You want to design a home that feels like you.

 Interior designer Sarah Barnard, founder of wellness-led design studio Sarah Barnard Design explains: 'Prioritizing your personal needs when making design decisions for your home is essential. Opting for a "one size fits all" approach to interior design can have a negative impact on your wellbeing as it fails to consider who you are and what you need to live your best life. Instead, take some time to consider how you utilize space, how you move throughout your home, and be honest about your daily habits to determine a custom design that supports your individual needs.'

2. Poor lighting

Layered bedroom lighting tips in a dark scheme with white bedlinen.

(Image credit: Original BTC)

Lighting plays a crucial role in setting the atmosphere of a room. Overly bright lighting can prevent relaxation, while not having enough light sources can make a room appear unwelcoming. Cinzia Moretti, Creative Director at Moretti Interior Design observes this as a common decor mistake made: 

'One of the first home decor mistakes that I see is bad lighting. People underestimate the importance of lighting in human psychology. Limited light sources can make a room feel unwelcoming and can alter our mood greatly. Having the correct lighting can improve our mood and stabilize our circadian rhythms, helping us decrease depression. Be it natural or artificial, every home needs a good source of lighting.'

But what exactly is the right lighting that helps promote wellbeing? There are lots of aspects to consider, and it largely depends on your space, likely varying from room to room. But two of the most important lighting elements to get right are its intensity and warmth level.

'Harsh lighting is a definitive way to kill a mood,' explains interior designer Nicole Lanteri. 'Lighting should be fun and functional, and the approach not be restricted by outdated or limited thinking, like an aversion to sconces or cords showing. Proper lightbulbs and a mix of lighting options (and definitely not just overhead lights!) result in a comforting home that can adjust to your needs.'

Nicole Lanteri
Nicole Lanteri

Nicole Lanteri founded her Washington, D.C.-based interior design firm in 2009. Nicole Lanteri Design engages in projects in the surrounding D.C., Virginia, and Maryland areas, as well as further afield, including New York City, the Hudson Valley, and Southern California.

Los Angeles-based interior designer David Samuel Ko, founder of Maison Ko, adds that it's important to also consider the color of your lighting: 'Most houses are switching over to LED lighting, picking a light color that is too white and sterile. This can make your space feel very uninviting and harsh and could even give you headaches if it's too bright. It's an easy fix though, just switch your LED lighting coloring to more of a warm white as opposed to something on the cooler side.'

As a quick fix to this common decor mistake, shop these Amazon warm white LED bulbs to create a much softer feel throughout your home. 

3. Imbalanced color schemes

yellow kitchen

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

Color is another key decor choice that can play a significant role in affecting how a space feels. The use of color throughout the home is psychologically proven to promote different moods, whether positive or negative, so it's important to be aware of these ahead of embracing them in your paint ideas

'Imbalanced color choices will make a space feel off-kilter,' explains Nicole Lanteri. 'Quite literally, a very gray room can make you feel cold, or one with yellows everywhere can make you feel hot. Properly balanced colors result in a compelling and pleasing space that helps you feel more emotionally regulated.'

But aside from the specific colors you choose, you should also consider how many colors are in your schemes. Too many colors can negatively impact wellbeing, according to Cinzia Moretti who explains this theory below. 

'Another common mistake is thinking that using color means adding more than three hues in a room. The combination of three or more colors can lead instead to confusion as our brain is not able to get rest when looking around. Color has a big effect on our wellbeing and mood, but it needs to be used correctly and you need to aim to achieve visual balance.'

'My suggestion, when introducing color in an interior is to apply the 60-30-10 rule, which can be a great help. Pick the main color that you would like to see in the room, a hue that means something to you. That will take 60% of the large surfaces and can help to establish the overall mood of your design. Then pick a secondary color, that can support your first one. This will take 30% of your room. Lastly, the 10% will be an accent color, which helps to highlight specific elements of your design. The same rule can be applied when decorating with patterns.'

4. A cluttered environment

colorful living room with yellow accent chair

(Image credit: Studio Duggan / / Photography Sarah Griggs)

Avoiding clutter may seem like an obvious step in creating a wellness-boosting space. While most of us appreciate spaces that are kept tidy and free from excessive amounts of items, paying close attention to limiting the number of objects on show goes beyond aesthetic reasons – it can also affect how calming a space feels.

If you're naturally drawn to minimalist interiors then this likely isn't a decor mistake you're making. However, for those who love the more playful and layered maximalist decor, your space can quickly become filled with decorative objects, trinkets, and keepsakes that end up crowding the space. You can still embrace a vibrant aesthetic through color, print, and furniture styles, but consider maintaining some negative space and clutter-free surfaces to boost wellbeing and promote a feeling of calm.

5. Too much sunlight

sun room living room with chairs and a log burner fire and a red painted ceiling light window

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

Is there such a thing as having too much natural light in your home? While it may sound ironic, natural light can negatively affect some spaces, with excessive amounts of brightness impacting your comfort. This is especially true if you work at a screen in a brightly lit room, often making it difficult to focus. 

'Neglecting sun control through the use of blinds or curtains can result in excessive glare and heat, impacting your visual comfort and ability to regulate indoor temperatures effectively, not to mention fade your valuable furniture and rugs,' explains interior designer Kati Curtis.

Kati Curtis
Kati Curtis

Kati Curtis is the founder of Kati Curtis Design, an design firm based in New York City specializing in classic design with a global influence. Kati founded the studio in 2005 after 12 years of working with international architecture and engineering firms. 

This also applies to bedrooms. While it depends on your own preferences, having too much bright light can affect your sleep, as David Samuel Ko explains: 'Drapery is also something to keep in mind and consider your own personal preferences before purchasing. If you need complete blackout for sleeping, then make sure you keep in mind areas where light can peek through. If that tiny bit of light peeks through, you may regret your choice. So if you need complete blackout, try stapling the sides of your drapes and adding a cornice box so no light comes in whatsoever.'

Ultimately, the decor choices you make in your home should be personal to you and should be in sync with what makes you feel good. But generally, these five points are common mistakes made that are known to negatively impact wellbeing, so it's worth keeping these in mind for your future home decor projects. 

Paint & Color Editor

Emily is H&G's Paint & Color Editor, covering all things color across interior design and home decor. She joined the team in the summer of 2023, having studied Fashion Communication at university before working in various creative roles ahead of making the leap into interiors. She lives in Glasgow where she loves admiring the city's architecture, frequenting her favorite coffee spots, and sourcing vintage furniture for her tenement apartment. Emily's interior style is inspired by the simplicity of midcentury design, mixed with more playful modern pieces that inject small (but bold) doses of color.