Reverse course, stat!
This seems fairly obvious. But did you measure the doorways? Stairs? Ceiling height? Want your barstools to fit under your counter? Don't want your boyfriend hitting his head on a low ceiling fixture? We don't blame you!
Make sure your seat heights don't differ too drastically, either. You'll also want to ensure they relate functionally to their surrounding table heights. You don't want someone kicking over their red wine onto your new carpet!
Scale and size can make or break your space in so many ways. Don't eyeball it!
FAILING TO CONSIDER FUNCTION
Evaluate how you use your existing space and what you could benefit from in a future space. If your kids (or spouses!) toss their shoes, coats and keys everywhere when they get home from school, make sure to plan for a bench, coat rack and shoe tray. If your spouse's messy office or closet drives you nuts, invest in closed storage solutions. You'll thank yourself later!
Love an ultra minimalist look but also love to host? You may have to compromise. Seating your guests on your sleek/cold/marble/unadorned fireplace hearth does not scream, "Welcome!".
And don't buy that Restoration Hardware linen sofa with the giant 8' cushion if you can't stand the sight of a wrinkled, sagging, "well-loved" sofa.
FOLLOWING THE RULES
Beds flanked by matching nightstands are not necessary. Dining tables with 4 chairs on each side and 2 head armchairs are not your only options. You do not need to have a whole matching set of living room furniture.
The sofa doesn't have to face the TV. Better yet, you don't HAVE to have a sofa. A chaise might fit better into your budget and space and be just as comfortable.
We've heard it all. "Don't use dark colors in small spaces." "Don't use pattern on large items." "Small space = small furniture." We say - break tradition!
IGNORING TRAFFIC FLOW
Leave logical pathways to adjacent rooms and seating areas. Make sure doors can open without interfering with furniture. Double check that you can open your dresser drawers completely without slamming into your footboard. Keep in mind that you'll need to be able to pull out your chair from the dining table without hitting the wall.
Moving throughout your apartment shouldn't feel like you're operating a minefield.
UNDERVALUING "SECONDARY" PIECES
Yes, sofas, carpeting, and tables may seem like the most important purchases. However, don't underestimate the power of the "background" items such as lighting and window treatments. Lighting and window treatments are both so important for the functionality and feel of a space. Not to mention, they'll really help to complete the look.
RELYING ON RETAIL LIGHTING
Please take fabrics home to look at in the morning, broad daylight, sunset and at night. Make sure you like it at all times of day in the actual space it will be showcased. Evaluate it on different walls and in different corners. Every nook is different!
Put paint samples up on the wall to view the same way. It could be a soft white under the retail lights of the store but an offensive, harsh yellow up on your wall. Most vendors will sell you sample-sized paints and give you swatches of fabrics to try out at home.
We get it. We've been there. We see Stuart Weitzman boots on sale and we do. not. hesitate. They WILL work in our wardrobe.
However, with interiors, its much more important to think of the entire space conceptually first before purchasing on a whim under pressure from a salesperson. We love a deal too, but make sure you have an idea of what the space will look like so you don't blow your budget on a sofa that doesn't match your color scheme or fit through the doorway!
NOTE: hodgepodge does not automatically equal the ever-so-popular "eclectic".
RUSHING TO COMPLETION
You don't have to fill every space on the wall, every corner of the house, or have every accessory on the table the day you move in. Don't settle for a wooden, store-bought bed when you've been dreaming of an antique four-poster gem. You don't want to regret blowing your budget on pieces you purchase online in a rush to finish the room.
The space will naturally become your own as you layer in your flea market finds and travel souvenirs over time.