5 Home Design Don’ts

5 Home Design Don’ts

Mike and Nicole have been renovating houses together for eight years. Between Social Media Houses with input from your votes and Beyond the House renovations on other homes, they have torn apart and redesigned over 50 houses (and that’s not including spaces they’ve completed outside of their THTSMB partnership!)

Along the way, Mike and Nicole have learned what to do – and what NOT to do – when designing new spaces. These don’ts apply to any type of home design, whether you are flipping a house from top to bottom, renovating a historic home, or simply remodeling a few rooms.

Mike and Nicole’s 5 Home Design Don’ts

THTSMB color

  1. Don’t be afraid of color. We know that neutrals ranging from gray to off-white to tan are popular choices. And with good reason – neutrals are timeless, can make a room appear larger, and go with just about any type of decor. This does not mean you have to stay away from color! Adding a pop of color on an accent wall or a fun wallpaper can brighten up any space and take away from the monotony of neutrals. Take a look at our blue jellyfish wallpaper in the Ellsworth House to see what we mean!

THTSMB lighting fixtures

  1. Don’t forget to look up. Bold lighting accents can become a focal point of any room.  In fact, we believe that light fixtures can set the decorative tone. The high ceiling in the master bedroom of the Clamdigger allowed us to put in a lantern chandelier, adding rustic charm to a beach getaway. In the Madhouse, we opted for a more modern fixture above the dining room table for a fun statement piece.


  1. Don’t underestimate the power of tile. When it comes to tile, the choices are endless. The versatility of tile allows you to use it as flooring or a decorative backsplash. Because tile is so easy to maintain and keep clean, we love incorporating it into newly designed spaces. Add a tile backsplash in your bathroom or kitchen for a pop of color or visual separation from the countertop or wall. With countless options in color, material, texture, and shape, tile becomes a focal statement with the ability to bring any room to life.


  1. Don’t think inside the box. When we were redesigning the Madhouse, we knew we had to incorporate a master bathroom. But the only space to include a full bathroom contained a fireplace. We had two choices – cover the fireplace to keep the bathroom traditional, or make it a highlight of the master bath. The result? A gorgeous, spa-like bathroom, complete with space to lounge by the fire. Similarly, when we began working on the Ellsworth, we knew we had to create outdoor space. The backyard was limited, so we turned the second bay of the garage into a cabana. We loved how it turned out!

THTSMB sliding doors

  1. Don’t throw everything in the dumpster. Sometimes, when you walk into a run-down home, the first reaction is to toss everything out. But we’ve learned that even in the worst houses, there are timeless pieces that can be salvaged and reused. We kept doors from the Ellsworth and the Madhouse, creating sliding barn doors inside – saving us money while making stylish and functional room dividers.

Now that you know our Don’ts, we’ll share our number one DO with you:

Have fun with home design! Designing a new space takes a lot of playing around to find what you like best. Ask for samples, mix-and-match colors and textures, and try out new styles.

Do you have design questions you want to be answered by Mike and Nicole? Let us know in the comments!


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