8 Decorating Rules Meant to Be Broken—and 1 to Live By

So many of us hesitate over decorating decisions, fearing that we might break an unwritten design rule. And it's true that, though largely unwritten, there are a host of best practices espoused by experts (and by people who are definitely not experts). The truth is that every so-called "rule" in home style can be broken, with stunning results, as proved by each one of the following examples.

Expanded View >
  1. Every Room Should Have a Pop of Color

    07da1483401af3375429cb793035965a

    A monochromatic palette might bore you. And it stands to reason that a burst of color would really spice things up. Instead of doing something dramatic, though, think about adding visual interest, not through color, but through the liberal use of different textures and materials. See how this hammered tabletop and the furniture's natural woven fabrics manage to bring depth to an otherwise neutral living room?

    Fredman Design Group (Barbara Theile and Jean Kaiser), design; Eric Hausman Photography, photographer

  2. Dining Chairs Should Match

    Ece55e34b678ae3e2a13188d284b0f96

    The dining room table is where everyone comes together. You can emphasize that idea by mixing up the furniture here. When united by a common paint color, even a wide variety of chair styles can look interesting and yet decidedly unified.

    mjlid.com

  3. Keep Small Spaces Simple

    00950379bf9e67ac89376c9ae6957632

    Even small furniture can suffocate a small room, if you fill the space with too many different pieces. Rather than go overboard, opt instead for only one or two larger pieces. Doing so can actually help you achieve a greater feeling of spaciousness. When it comes to color, a little goes a long way. Experiment with dark or bold shades to make a strong statement that stops short of being overwhelming.

    jerryjacobsdesign.com

  4. Ceilings Should Be White

    18cb8b469dab4a41886ed6d3301bf84c

    Love a particular color? Drench yourself in it. Bright paint overhead casts a vibrant glow, welcoming kindred accent pieces, including window furniture, pieces of furniture, and even place settings.

    gailowensphotography.com, photo / Reveal Studio, design

  5. One Pattern Per Room

    Fa9ef6f291b8c53ca32f16031a88cded

    Be bold in your mixing of patterns. Pairs stripes with paisleys, florals with geometric patterns. You might even consider adding pattern to the ceiling. Take pains, however, to keep things balanced by repeating a common color across the different patterns you choose.

    laurau.com

  6. Every _____ room needs a _____.

    Ed2cd72f86ae4eca54ab4116eb341c6f

    Sure, most living rooms have a couch, but yours doesn't have to. Maybe you'd be just as happy with a set of comfy chairs. Before purchasing furniture for a given room, be honest with yourself about how you're really going to use the space on a day-to-day basis.

    dminteriors.net

  7. Window Treatments Are for Windows

    4675c7c5878a715c2c71c351a4a6793f

    Window treatments provide privacy and keep light at bay, but they can serve other purposes as well, adding dimension and interest to would-be blank walls, or by functioning as a room divider in an open-plan space.

    consultinghouseinc.com

  8. Wallpaper Is for Walls

    76008becfb03053834d14e59b64a3e2a

    With all of the fabulous wallpapers available these days, why limit yourself to the walls? Branch out by using sections of wallpaper inside shelving, on the recessed panels of doors and cabinets, or even on the ceiling.

    SB Architects and Erin Martin Design, design; Mariko Reed, photo

  9. Test Drive Big Decisions

    C99492ed560e1b6b17dce8460e73c9dd

    Whichever rules you break, here's one to live by. Repainting the living room? First, test small areas and live with the colors for at least two days before committing. Note how the tone of the color changes in morning sunshine and evening shadows. You can also do this for other decorative introductions, such as window treatments and rugs. That way, you can be sure not to regret your next redesign.

    shutterstock.com

  10. For More ...

  • Favorites Flipboard Facebook Twitter Pinterest Email AddThis
SEE MORE IN
Interior Design

WHAT DO YOU NEED HELP WITH?

Don't Miss

x