These are the things that give interior designers ‘the ick’ in our homes

Are you guilty of committing any of these interior design crimes?!

living room colour schemes, yellow and blush living room, yellow sofa and carpet, blush pink walls, shutters, wall lights
(Image credit: Future PLC/Blackmore Photography Ltd)

We’ve all heard of the dating icks that put people off of romantic relationships, but what about the design icks that put interior experts off our homes?

If you’ve never heard of an ‘ick’ before, the concept is essentially about the things that give people a sudden wave of disgust or repulsion – for example, a romantic ‘ick’ might be when someone uses a baby voice to speak to a partner. But today we're talking about home icks – the things interior design professionals just can't stand to see in homes.

While everyone is of course entitled to decorate their homes just as they like, if you're on the hunt for interior design tips, these are the decor choices and home configuration options that definitely won’t get the seal of approval from the experts.

5 choices that give interior designers the ‘ick’

1. Matchy-matchy colour schemes

Yellow bedroom with dark wood floors and cream rug

(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Whitmore)

It’s easy to assume that tying your room together via the same colour scheme in your furniture, walls, and decor is a good idea - but according to interior designers, it’s a huge no-no.

‘When it comes to selecting a colour scheme, less experienced designers often lean on a single shade to create a unified display,’ says Sam Greig, senior designer at Swoon. ‘But often the result is more dull and repetitive than stylish and sophisticated.’

'Instead of matching the colour to extreme points, you should focus on creating a contrast that compliments the first choice colour,' suggests design expert  Francois Gouelo, co-founder of Enso Connect.

Sam agrees, explaining that to avoid this ‘ick’, choosing complimentary shades is a far better choice than a wash of the exact same colour throughout. ‘For example, if your main shade is forest green, add in a few chic cream tones and gold metals for a luxurious atmosphere. Or, if you prefer a more playful vibe, pair your forest green with sunny yellows and sunset oranges for a lively 70’s inspired interior (one of the best colour combinations around).’

2. Inspirational quotes

white room with wall quote and pictures

(Image credit: Future PLC/Tim Young)

Even amongst non-professionals, these sort of signs are seriously divise! But for most interior designers, homeware emblazoned with inspirational quotes are a huge ick. 

'Inspirational quotes on your walls like "Live, Laugh, Love" are actually very uninspiring, and feel quite impersonal,' warns interior designer Aman Garcha.

'They were very popular for a while, and almost everyone stamped their homes with a quote. But now they just feel outdated and quite cheesy.'

You might have wall art with said inspirational quotes on, or perhaps you’ve got stand-up signs with these sayings on displayed around your home. Whatever it may be, the professionals suggest that if you want a stylish, on-trend home, keep these quotes out of it.

3. Blindly following trends

Living room in brown and pink color scheme, with grandmillennial twist

(Image credit: Future PLC/Blackmore Photography Ltd)

Don’t get us wrong, we all love a brand new interior trend to get our teeth stuck into, be it the recent grandmillennial trend or the oversized headboard trend. However, one of the biggest ‘icks’ for the experts we spoke to, was following every new trend that pops up without considering whether it actually works for you.

'It is great to keep an eye on trending interior styles, especially if you manage to discover one that you truly love,' advises designer Sam. 'However, implementing every trend you see into your home without considering the overall style is a huge ick that we see all too often.'

Which sort of blind trend-following has backfired? 'We have recently seen limewashed walls have become extremely popular,' says Sam. 'However, this paint finish won’t suit all interior styles, and can easily look out of place, for example if paired with uber-modern or Art-Deco interior.'

4. Matching furniture sets

Teal bedroom with grey headboard and pink throw

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Similarly to match color schemes, interior designer Aman shares that she despises matching furniture in homes – be it a matching bookcase, side table and coffee table in a living room, or matching wardrobe, bedside table and chest of drawers in a bedroom.

'Matching furniture sets can make a space feel boring, and like not much thought has gone into it. It's the lazy route and screams “I couldn't be bothered!”,' she says. 'Instead, why not show off your personality by mixing and matching pieces that are actually more "you"?'

Sure, it’ll take more time, but it should also give you a unique-looking room that doesn’t run the risk of looking just like your neighbours.

5. Too-short curtains

check full length curtains

(Image credit: The Range)

A design 'ick' that can be easily fixed, interior designer Aman shares that she also loathes curtains that are too short, or short curtains generally. 'They instantly cut your room in half, making it feel shorter and unbalanced. It's a huge no-no from me,' she explains.

Amy Wilson, interior designer at 247 Curtains, agrees that curtains being too short is her biggest interiors ick, too. 'When it comes to the length of your curtains, they can be too long, but never allow them to be too short. 

'Curtains should always touch the floor and for an added touch of luxury, let them pool slightly onto the floor. If you're working on your curtain ideas, to create the perfect curtain pooling you should allow an extra couple of inches to your measured drop,' she says. 'If using a pole or track, you may be able to lower this too, if your curtains are falling a little too short.'

Have the designers missed any interior 'icks' that irk you?


 Amy Hunt is an experienced digital journalist and editor, now working in a freelance capacity specialising in homes and interiors, wellness, travel and careers. She was previously Lifestyle Editor at woman&home, overseeing the homes, books and features sections of the website. Having worked in the industry for over eight years, she has contributed to a range of publications including Ideal Home, Livingetc, T3,Goodto, Woman, Woman’s Own, and Red magazine