From The Masters: Interior Design Mistakes To Learn From

By our guest blogger:  Aia Atienza (

The art and science of interior design requires a great deal of creativity, patience, flexibility, and attention to detail. Whoever said being an interior designer was simple clearly still has a lot to learn. Undeniably, even professionals who’ve been at it for years can overlook a few things from time to time. So don’t stress yourself out when you end up making a mistake.

To try to help fresh graduates, and maybe even wannabe interior designers, steer away from common design mistakes, I have asked a few licensed interior designers (that I look up to) about their slip ups and the lessons they learned from the mentioned experience.


Top 1 Interior Design board exam passer of 1994

Licensed since: 1994

Dean and professor at the Philippine School of Interior Design

One of the partners of J.P. Lake and associates



“I’ve committed a lot of mistakes in practice. The first one that I’ve ever committed was I relied on the measurement of the supplier instead of verifying the measurements of the project by myself. It was a room, it was an office that I was supposed to floor with carpet tiles tapos of course I referred it to the supplier and then the supplier said na based on the measurement of the room, this number of carpet tiles ang kailangan. But I didn’t verify. So ang nangyari when the tiles came, kulang siya. So there was like a big spot on the floor that lacked carpet tiles and then of course to add insult to injury, ininstall yung carpet tiles one day before the blessing of the office. So ibig sabihin it was very, very tight na parang feeling ko hindi ako aabot to supply the missing carpet tiles. So solution, instead of like a solid pattern, I created nalang a combination of different carpet tiles based on what was available during that time in store. But siyempre diba I still had to panic. Yun yon eh yung nakakapanic parin siya, but buti nalang din, parang I dunno, siguro the creative instincts set in diba so parang inisip ko sige gagawa nalang ako ng pattern. So instead of like solid gray I made it gray with the accent color of the company’s color which is maroon. So parang gumawa nalang ako ng random pattern on the floor kasi yung maroon available na siya on stock. So that was again, oh I dunno, parang I feel that it was a mistake that I committed diba on my own kasi nga hindi ako nag verify, but at the same time I was able to provide also a solution na nagustohan naman nung client. Initially, of course, hindi naman yun yung inapprove niya but under the circumstances parang when it was already done parang blessing in disguise diba that the client liked it.”


I also made a mistake in relying on the color swatch of what was available in the hardware store. Even if kunyari I already applied the color on the wall and it was the same color, hindi ko tinake into consideration that lighting would of course affect the overall color of the wall. So it was a costly mistake because we had to repaint because yung may lighting na, hindi nagustohan nung client yung color. So parang moral of the story, every time that you deal with color you also have to of course take into account the lighting, whether white light or yellow light. Kasi it’s bound to affect the overall finished color look.”



I have to be more obsessive compulsive. Not just you know parang just rely on what they say but I have to like double check. And ever since naman that incident, I always make it a point to double check.”



Licensed since: 2003

Principal Designer of CRL Interior Designs

General Manager of Mity Mike Inc.

Board member of the Chamber of Furniture Industries of the Philippines (CFIP) – VP for design

Professor at the Philippine School of Interior Design



“This is a common mistake of designers and I personally committed this mistake before. Yun nga diba we customize furniture and of course yung client wants customized furniture and we made this bed tapos I realized medyo late na na teka muna parang hindi papasok yan sa elevator. Good thing that we produced the furniture that’s why when I realized that it won’t fit, I had to make that knock-down diba, eh gawa na so diba we had to alter it and at least hindi pa nadeliver sa site diba. What will you do if nandun na sa site yung furniture and it won’t fit the door? And if ikaw yung designer and nagpagawa ka sa manufacturer, you will be charged extra. Ikaw siyempre nagbigay ng design eh. They will charge you. Malay ba nila, you just asked them to make that.”



Number one you have to check the elevator, if it’s a condo ha. You have to check the elevator, the entrance, the hallway and make sure that whatever you customized, whatever design furniture you have, will fit the elevator of the condo. Well you can use the stairs but what if it’s like 30th floor or 50th floor diba, the suppliers will not bring everything up. So if you have to make the furniture knock-down then you have to.”



Licensed since: 2005

Country manager – Eggersmann and La Cornue

Professor at the Philippine School of Interior Design



“Recently, I customized a queen size bed box with pull-out for storage. 2 pull-outs on each sides. I asked the maker to do me a unit for a standard queen size. Then we went on site just to verify and measure. I asked the guy to measure the bed. I didn’t pay attention, so he ended up measuring the mattress together with the beddings and the comforter, ayun yung cutomized bed box was 5″ longer and 5″ wider. Toink!”



Attention to detail is important.


So there you go. These are just some of the lessons these professionals have learned over the course of their careers. I hope that their insights and experiences would be of help to you. Don’t let your mistakes serve as a deterrent to your ambitions.



Published by CMV Interior Designs

Manila-based Interior Design company

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