Because finishing floors, staining furniture, and painting walls are all extensive ways to update your home’s interior, you’ll want to get things right the first time. Below are three finish faux pas to avoid when designing your home.

White Rooms Are Old News

couch and wooden table rest in the corner of beige roomWhite is stylish, elegant, and timeless—except when it’s not. If you think painting your walls white will magically turn your room into a Better Homes and Gardens centerspread, think again. Consider the following before taking roller to wall:

  • Lighting is important. Without ample lighting, white paint looks dull. If you must use white, do so in a windowed room with bountiful natural light.
  • White isn’t your only option. Overuse has made white rooms a safe—if not generic—design choice. Branch out from white with other neutral paint finishes, like pale grays, beiges, and natural stone colors, which can achieve the same airy effect without looking so stark.

Espresso Furniture Isn’t Fooling Anyone

Most mass-market furniture stores in America hawk espresso bedroom and dining sets, so the generic finish has unwittingly invaded many American homes. The espresso finish is often applied to cheap wood, laminate, or veneer to make the material look darker and more expensive, but it doesn’t do a very good job of it. The color looks artificial, and a thick coating of espresso will conceal the natural pattern of the wood grain. Just say no to espresso, and bring your wood furniture up to date with these alternatives:

  • Choose another shade. Homeowners tend to choose an espresso finish when they want their furniture to look darker. If this is your intent, try painting your furniture a nice matte black or charcoal gray instead. Charcoal is a timeless shade that is appearing over and over in trendy new furniture.
  • Leave it natural. If your desk pieces or bedframes are made of real, solid wood, we encourage you to use natural wood finishes. Applying a deep, rich wood stain can breathe new life into your furniture without sacrificing the appeal of the natural grain.

Matching Is Overrated—Diversify Your Color Palette

a colorful living room of green, yellow, and redWhile popular in advertisements, matching your pillows, curtains, and furniture to, well, everything can make a room feel sparse or artificial. Who wants to live in a Target ad? Moreover, who wants to keep it that clean? If your walls and furniture are all neutrals, give your room a homey, lived-in feel by filling it with eclectic decorations, textures, and patterns. Here are a couple other ways you can add some personality to your home:

  • Paint an accent wall. A room can quickly become drab if you only work in neutrals, so punch up the wow factor with a splash of color. An accent wall behind the couch or the headboard will give your room some character. The bolder the color, the bigger the impact. Try a deep purple or a pattern if an accent wall sounds right for you.
  • Make it personal. As long as we’re talking finishes, let’s address finishing touches. It’s your room, so make it tell your story. Instead of filling your room with mass-produced merchandise from the nearest supermarket, seek out unique or handmade items. It may take a bit more looking, but you’ll be amazed what you can find at an antique store or the craft fair and just how great it looks on your mantel.


Your home deserves the same level of style and sophistication as you do. Keep away from these three designer don’ts, so your home can stay stylishly fresh.