1. Measure Twice, Cut Once
One of the very first and best lessons I ever learned was that measurements can be wrong, and in turn costly. So always measure two or three times until you are absolutely certain you are correct. We also recommended you have a second party measure as well, compare numbers ;)
2. Less is Always More
Being a collector is a great thing, but we suggest collecting items that can fit inside a drawer. In design less is always more, if you have to double think something you can easily do without it.
3. Be Practical
One great skill of any successful designer is their ability to design in a practical manner. A home with 4 young children, 3 dogs and a cat is not the home for high gloss floors. If homeowners can't live in their space then the space is not practical. As designers we spend a lot of our time getting to know our clients on an intimate level, this allows us to design practical spaces and quite often provides us new friends.
4. Be Classic & Timeless
Trends are for today but classic styles and timeless charm are forever. Before putting anything in a space we always think about the item in 10-15 years. Will the client still love this or will it date? If the answer is the latter then it needs to go. Remember to remain timeless and classic has provided us both with very successful careers.
5. Do Not Settle & Buy What You Love
As a young professional I learned not to settle. I had a tight budget and could not afford the luxurious things I wanted for my home, yet I just refused to settle on what I could afford. To this day I still do not have a coffee table, still waiting on one more pay check (haha).
The point being, I would rather not have something or put up with something that already exists than replace it with a mediocre piece I can afford in the meantime. There is always a way to re-budget to make things work. Your home is important so sacrifice for the things you love.