Designer Faux Pas

By Joseph Pubillones

February 2, 2019 4 min read

We all look forward to innovative and inspiring ideas for our homes. Some of us scour interior design magazines. Others snap pictures of designs they like when they travel. Some visit furniture stores and look at professional vignettes for inspiration. These are all great guides. However, sometimes, designs go awry.

If you are doing it yourself, there is no one to blame but — you guessed it — yourself. But what happens when a designer's ideas are off-key?

We all want the latest and greatest, but on occasion, this may take us down the wrong path. Designers always love to try something new — the freshest ideas, aka "trends" in designer lingo. These trends result in products and furnishings designed with a theme or other reference in mind. They create an impact in the marketplace and, ultimately, in your home. A few decades ago, Tuscan-inspired interiors and French Provencal designs were the trends to follow. It kind of made sense. Who doesn't want their home to remind them of a wonderful excursion, whether a trip through Mexico or a seaside escape in the Mediterranean?

Thematic design and accessories are always important in most furniture shows and designer showhouses. One can easily remember iconic design trends such as the pineapple motifs or, in more recent years, the red coral on everything from fabric to bedsheets to lamps to eating utensils. Of course, every region has its preferred motif: antlers and ducks in the country, shells and nautical themes for beachside settings. But going overboard is easy ... so beware.

It's quite common for homeowners and designers to get carried away with an idea and end up in a minefield. Some advocate collecting certain items to tie a home's individual rooms together, but it really depends on the item. For example, a large collection of blue-and-white Chinese pottery may exude a sense of luxury as an room's accent or featured piece. But on the other hand, a grouping of all-bamboo furniture in one room may seem a bit contrite. Good design — regardless of whether the design is a version of modern minimalism or of grand over-the-top maximalism — is based on balance and sensibility. Things have to make sense or they simply approach the absurd.

Don't make the mistake of doing something that is not appropriate for your home. Refrain from high-gloss lacquered walls or metallic wallpaper in an old home, as every bump and imperfection will show and these types of finishes go against the grain of the home. Similarly, layers upon layers of fabrics and window treatments are best left for traditional architecture rather than contemporary frameworks. Everything in a home should feel natural with the style of architecture and the kind of home. "Appropriate" should be the mantra of every design decision of any home. Otherwise, you may end up making expensive a design faux pas — whether you're a designer or not!

Joseph Pubillones is the owner of Joseph Pubillones Interiors, an award-winning interior design firm based in Palm Beach, Florida. His website is To find out more about Joseph Pubillones and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

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