Top 10 Bad Home Design Mistakes, 2014 Edition

Over the years I’ve written a whole slew of Top 10 articles, several hitting on good home design, such as these:

But I’ve never posted on what not to do. Bad home design mistakes are everywhere! Believe me, I see it on a daily basis when I’m out showing my clients homes in Louisville. So let’s have some fun and talk about the worst of the worst. From the more common design mistakes to the ones that really make you cringe.

Case in point:

Sure, it’s more subjective but really?

Instead, we’re talking about examples of bad home design mistakes that really shouldn’t be part of anyone’s home.

Top 10 Bad Home Design Mistakes

Ok, let’s count them down from #10 to the very worst, #1 home design mistake. Let’s go!

#10 Two-story Great Rooms

Photo of a two story great room. Bad Home Design Mistakes
The 2-story great room is so 1999…

Listen, I know many will argue with me about this but from a home design perspective, you’re wasting a great deal of space. Not to mention additional heating/cooling costs, all for what? So that you can feel like you live in a mansion?

This is a trend that’s on the way out, thank heavens.

#9 Popcorn or Textured Ceilings

Photo of a textured ceiling. Bad Home Design Mistakes
The Mud Swirl technique pictured above might sound like a good idea, but as with the 1980’s anti-drug campaign, Just Say No.

Rosebud Stomp, Hawk and Trowel or *shudder* Popcorn textured ceilings are something that should never have happened. I mean, who came up with this? I think we can all agree it was a bad idea. Smooth, white, classic… that’s what ceilings should be.

#8 Theme Rooms

Photo of a camo theme room. Bad Home Design Mistakes
If you don’t want your son to wake up one morning with PTSD then don’t copy the room in this photo.

Most often, these rooms are done by self-styled “designers” who also happen to be one of the home’s owners. True designers don’t go there. And you shouldn’t either! Friends, help each other.

#7 Unnecessary “Luxury” Upgrades

Photo of a room without a closet. Bad Home Design Mistakes
This whole house intercom system was leading-edge back in the day. Now? It’s an unused eyesore.

Just because the technology exists, doesn’t make it a great idea. Do you really need a whole house vacuum system? What about the intercoms slash radios slash Internet-device slash whatever else you can throw in there? More often than not, these expensive luxury upgrades aren’t worth the money you pay for them.

#6 Faux Wall Treatments

Photo of a faux wall paint treatment. Bad Home Design Mistakes
My guess is that they had hoped for a better outcome.

Listen, we all love the look of real, natural stone. It’s gorgeous! Who wouldn’t want it inside your home? The answer is, “None of us.”

But the correct way to get the look of real stone is with… real stone. Or at least the new artificial stone that actually looks real. Definitely not paint, not now, not ever.

#5 Giant Exterior Columns

Photo of house with oversized columns. Bad Home Design Mistakes
Just who are you trying to impress?

Let’s face facts, you don’t live in the White House, the Lincoln Memorial or the Parthenon. Nobody needs to see giant columns attached to the front of your two-story colonials. You’re not fooling anyone. Let’s just tone it down a bit and we’ll all get along better.

#4 Carpet in Bathrooms

Photo of a bathroom with carpet. Bad Home Design Mistakes
I can’t begin to fathom what these homeowners were thinking. This is one of the most common bad home design mistakes I see.

The only good thing about this bad home design mistake is that it’s easily fixed. *shudder* Let’s move on.

#3 Wrong-Sized Rooms for Their Purpose

Photo of two bedrooms, one tiny and one giant. Bad Home Design Mistakes
Here’s an example of where Form should definitely follow Function.

Human beings are diverse. We all don’t like the same things. Even still… there are extremes at either end of the spectrum where space is either desperately needed or overtly wasted. Good home design doesn’t make this mistake.

#2 Statement Pieces that Make the Wrong Statement

Photo of a very ugly fireplace. Bad Home Design Mistakes
Sure, I’ve seen uglier fireplaces but you can bet your bottom dollar that this fireplace’s owner just loves it.

Whereas removing carpet from a bathroom is a simple affair, the cost of removing some statement pieces from an otherwise nice home may be cost-prohibitive. I’ve seen homes where just a few “over the top” home design features were enough to send the buyers running.

#1 Almost Zero Storage

Photo of a room without a closet. Bad Home Design Mistakes
By rule, an official bedroom must have a closet but if yours doesn’t, must resort to silliness like this?

Now, more than ever, we need places to put our stuff. If your home doesn’t have adequate storage, you know what I’m talking about. It’s maddening!

Older homes by nature have smaller closets and many times fewer closets. Modern homes have no excuse. Homes without storage are losers, plain and simple.


So there you have it. Friend, don’t let your friends make these bad home design mistakes. The world is scary enough as it is.