We gotta be honest. Most people make design mistakes when it comes to decorating their houses. If you haven’t, then you can call yourself lucky. The thing is that sometimes you don’t realize on the spot that choosing a certain rug or sink you like may turn into a bad decision later. Well, the good news is that we all can learn from our mistakes.

When I renovated my downstairs bathroom after serious water damage, I made the usual choices — the perfect sink to fit the space and the tile I liked the most. But those choices weren’t made without doing some research first and seeking professional help. Basically, I had a pretty unconventional guiding principle behind my decision: I wanted my bathroom to be easy to clean.

Long story short, I wanted to avoid those design mistakes that are making a room harder to clean.

Every choice I made was based on future cleanability principles: small wall tiles were replaced by four-by-eight inches to get rid of grout lines and also extended to the whole bathroom to maintain the walls splashes-free; the previous cabinet — which created a small gap that gathered hair and dust — was replaced by a floating cavity; even the conventional toilet area was ditched for a fully-skirted type, which was more difficult to install but much quicker and easier to scrub.

Every design decision will have an influence on how you clean those areas later — even a new coffee table or faucet can turn into a pain point. Here’s a list of 11 design mistakes that may make cleaning your house more difficult!

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Tiny Tiles and White Grout

Does anyone like cleaning grout? Don’t think so. Choosing white grout is definitely a bad idea and sometimes a design mistake! It shows dirt more than a colored one, particularly on the floors. That’s why it’s best to avoid white and go for a light grey grout, for instance.

Before actually settling on a specific grout color, ask your designer or contractor for grout swatches. This way, you’ll be able to compare them to the other colors in your bathroom.

You can also choose a larger tile to avoid having too many grout lines to clean.

Glass Shower Doors

Has anyone seen a house that is lived-in where the glass shower door is kept clean on a daily basis? I doubt that. There are always annoying water spots, and you simply give up cleaning them at a certain point. But that doesn’t make your bathroom look cleaner. Some home organizers agree that choosing glass doors for a children’s bathroom is definitely a design mistake because you’ll have a hard time trying to keep the glass sparkling clean.

But if you’re all for a glass door, make sure you clean it after every shower. If you can’t make a habit of squeegeeing (here’s the perfect tool for this job), apply a professional protective coating that stops hard water spots from forming. Some companies guarantee that their treatments will last for several years.

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A Farmhouse Sink

As Jenny Albertini, a certified organizing consultant, noted, “most farmhouse sinks usually sit on the kitchen countertop, and this can cause a lot of ugly soap scum build-up around the edges”. Albertini further adds that the raised lip makes it impossible for a regular dish drainer to work with the sink.

“We couldn’t think of that as a design mistake until it was too late,” explains Albertini. “While we fell in love with our overmount farmhouse sink, we had to purchase an adjustable over-the-sink dish drainer. Basically, we’re extra careful with water collecting around the faucet.” So take these details into consideration if you want to have a farmhouse sink in your kitchen!

Dark Kitchen Countertops

Black countertops may be chic and cool right now, but they are so hard to maintain. Some experts may even call it a design mistake to choose black countertops for your kitchen. Some folks may think otherwise, assuming that black would cover crumbs, but unfortunately, it’s quite the opposite.

Any water or liquid drops actually makes the counters look unclean. And here’s another thing that may surprise you: a dark kitchen countertop makes all the fingerprints left behind quite noticeable. Since the kitchen countertop is always catching a large variety of things — such as books, keys, cell phones, laptops, papers, and so on — you’ll see lots of fingerprints all over the area.

Stainless Steel Appliances

Stainless steel is timeless and classic. It always looks fantastic when clean, but it gets dirty quickly and is usually hard to keep stain-free. Stainless steel appliances also tend to show smudges and fingerprints more noticeably. As a result, you may have to wipe them down more frequently to keep them looking clean.

Whilst stainless steel appliances are durable and pretty versatile, having them in your kitchen may be a design mistake for those who want to have a sparkling clean house and don’t have too much time for cleaning.

Glass-Front Cabinets

The idea of having glass cabinets can be tempting, but keep in mind that you can always see everything that’s inside. You may have planned to stay organized all the time, but that plan of yours may not become a reality. Unless the cabinet is only used for displaying stuff you rarely use, you may want to avoid this design mistake and go for a closed panel cabinet.

On top of that, glass-front cabinets tend to be more fragile than classic cabinet doors. Glass is prone to breaking and cracking, which means you’ll have to handle those glass doors with more care.

Frame and Panel Cabinets

Choosing frame and panel cabinets turned out to be a design mistake for some people. It seems that a lot of them wish they had chosen flat panels instead of raised panel cabinets since they are easier to clean. Those Shaker-style kitchen cabinets can easily get grease in the crannies and nooks. When it comes to cleaning them, you may realize that no matter how much you wipe down the surface, it won’t look perfectly clean.

An Oversized Island

McCall Dulkys, the CEO of Interiors by McCall, says: “I have lots of clients who want these extra-large kitchen islands, but they don’t realize they’re almost impossible to clean”. Despite the fact that an oversized kitchen island provides you with the space that our modern lifestyles need, homeowners often overcompensate for their enthusiasm and make this design mistake they may regret later.

Real Marble Counters

Marble is undoubtedly a timeless choice. And it sure looks pretty amazing. You must have seen some photos on Pinterest and in design magazines. Here’s the thing, though. Don’t be fooled by them: marble will show spots and stains, especially if you cook frequently.

A friend of mine actually chose Carrara marble in her small apartment kitchen, and now she is routinely scrubbing it, hoping to get rid of some turmeric and tomato sauce stains. Some people may call it a design mistake, others may say it’s worth struggling with dirt stains as they always wanted to have marble in their kitchens.

living room
Photo by Artazum from Shutterstock

The Rest of the House

Glass Surfaces

As already mentioned, glass needs some special attention. If you live in an area where there’s a high level of dust and humidity,  then you already know how hard is to keep those dust particles at bay. In those cases, you can’t prevent dust from sticking to glass surfaces. The result? It will look shabby and dirty. On top of that, glass is like a fingerprint magnet! So think twice if you want to have many glass surfaces in your house.

Elaborate Baseboard or Trim

You may think that changing your baseboards won’t be such a big deal when it comes to future cleaning. However, most people tend to overlook this design detail and its ability to collect dust. The more elaborated the baseboard is, the more dust and dirt it will collect. Most of the time, a fancy, elaborated baseboard isn’t worth the trouble. The same thing applies to window trims. Avoid this design mistake by choosing more streamlined sideboards and trims.

To further avoid other design mistakes, here are 8 Timeless Design Trends You’ll Never Regret to inspire you!

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