5 Decorating Rules It’s Okay to Break

I always say that you should learn the decorating ‘rules’ if only to know how to break them.  There are things we hear again and again and ideas that have been drilled in from “experts” to our parents but if we applied every single one in our homes, we’d end up with something rather bland.  So pick and choose your battles and make your home as unique as you are!

Today I’m going to reveal 5 rules of decorating that are absolutely fine to break to give your home a look that’s far less stuffy and far more fun.

Rule #1 – Only light colours make a room look larger

There’s a false reasoning that most people have with using dark colours in small spaces.  “It will make it look smaller!” is the rallying cry against using deep paint colours.  However the truth is that dark paint colours actually make walls recede, not come closer – the corners of the room disappear and can actually make a room look larger, not smaller!  If you have a room that doesn’t get much natural day light, resist the urge to go with white – the lack of light will make the room and paint colour look dingy and dull.  Instead, embrace the dark side and consider painting the walls in rich shades like deep teal, navy blue or go the whole hog in deepest slate.

black bathroom

dark grey dining room

Oh Happy Day black bedroom

Rule #2 – Metallics Can’t Be Mixed

Most people have a preference for either silver/chrome or gold/brass and many feel these shouldn’t be mixed in the same room.  But there’s a growing trend to mixing your metallics, giving you a contemporary look with a glamorous edge.  The kitchen is one of the easiest ways to do this with brass cupboard hardware and a sleek stainless steel cooker and perhaps some copper bottomed pots to display.  Or consider metal tolix chairs with brass lighting for an industrial look in an office space.

mixed metallics kitchen

mixed metallics living room

mixed metallics office space

Rule #3 – Decorate with Neutrals for Maximum Resale Value

While most builders are happy to cover a home head to toe in that dreaded but inoffensive ‘magnolia’, it’s perfectly okay to use colour in your home.  Unless you are intending to sell your home in the next 6-12 months, then you should be decorating it for you – not for some future tenant.  Painting a room isn’t actually that difficult and even removing wallpaper is fairly easy these days with ‘paste-the-wall’ technology that makes it simple to remove when the time comes to sell.  But for now, why not surround yourself in colours and patterns that make you happy right now?

pink living room

black and grey living room

blue dining room

Rule #4 – You Need A Big Budget to Get Big Style

Being creative with your decorating and thinking outside the box is all that’s necessary to create stylish interiors – you don’t need to have huge bank account, you just need to give yourself time and bring your imagination to the party.  Consider repainting furniture which has seen better days or using wallpaper to add pattern to pieces picked up inexpensively on eBay or thrift shops. Spray paint and Paint should be your new best friend when it comes to changing up small accessories.  Reupholster your sagging sofa – it’s often times cheaper or nearly the same as the price of a new one with the added benefit of getting a completely bespoke piece.


Wallpapered bookshelves

diy brush stroke lamp

Rule #5 – Your Furniture Should All Match

Long ago, a fully matching set of furniture was seen to be a luxury but more and more, people are starting to realise that your home can look so much more interesting and ‘collected’ when you bring pieces of different styles to create a unique look all your own.  The trick to mixing and matching furniture lies in finding commonalities among your pieces in their shape or style or tying things together with a similar palette.  The most important thing, however, is that you love the pieces themselves – if you do, you can always make it work and you will always be surrounded by the items you truly love.

mix and match furniture

eclectic living room

mismatched furniture

I hope that with these tips you will realise that breaking rules can actually lead to an incredibly interesting and vibrant home!  Which decorating rules have you broken?  Any that you think should be added to the list?

Kimberly X

Image Credits: Lonny, The Design Files, Oh Happy Day, Seventeen Doors, Cote De Texas, Interior Collective, Hunted Interior, Geoffrey and Grace, Swoon Worthy, Honeybear Lane, Turquoise, Made By Girl, Glitter Guide, Style by Emily Henderson, BHG

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