7 Cliché Design and Décor Rules You Can Break at Home

7 Cliché Design and Décor Rules You Can Break at Home

Rules are made to be broken, right? Well, some are. We’ve written before about basic interior design and décor best practices for beginners, and generally speaking, it’s a good idea to follow all the advice therein. But there are certainly some long-touted design and décor rules you can break, at least if you put some thought and know-how into it.

The ultimate goal of furnishing, decorating, and arranging your home is for you to be comfortable in it and to love it. Of course, it’s nice if everyone else who lives there, and even your guests, feel the same way. So, breaking the right rules in the right ways matters.

Below are some design and décor rules you can break, mostly because they’re somewhat old-fashioned these days, or because you can easily break them and achieve successful results.

Interior Design and Décor Rules You Can Break at Home

  1. Don’t mix styles. If you want your room to have some mid-century modern and some industrial elements, by all means, go for it. Contrast can be even more exciting than complementary. And overloading with items from just one era or style can make a room look more like a museum than part of a home.
  1. Don’t use dark colors in small rooms. The thinking is that this creates an even more closed-in feeling. But dark colors like deep blues and greens on walls can actually add depth to a room, making it feel larger—especially when the space gets plenty of natural light.
  1. Don’t mix different woods or wood finishes. Wood furnishings and decorative pieces are fantastic! And while we’re particularly fond of Northern Yellow Birch here at Heywood-Wakefield, we appreciate all types of wood! Here are some pointers for successfully mixing and matching different woods and finishes.
  1. Don’t mix different types of metals. Like with wood, this is outdated advice that just creates unnecessary limitations. As long as you stick to only two or three different metals (like iron, chrome, brass, or steel), don’t overdo it, and put a little distance between them, mixing metals usually works just fine.
  1. Don’t combine different patterns. Here’s yet another cliché caution against mixing different looks. Now, it should be said that mixing different patterns can easily go horribly, horribly wrong. But it can also create a great look and energy in a room. To pull it off, take a look at these tips for combining different patterns.
  1. Only buy furniture in sets. Sets can be nice. But they can also be boring and leave a room looking like a display in a furniture store. Don’t be afraid to buy a bed you love just because it’s not the same as your nightstands. It’s perfectly acceptable to mix different pieces that work well together.
  1. Sofas and chairs should be neutral. In a busier environment, this often holds true. But sofas and chairs can also be some of the most beautiful, lively pieces in a room. Take a look at our catalog of couches, love seats, and club chairs, and then peruse our extensive selection of furniture fabrics. We have plenty of neutral options, but we also have more colorful and mid-century modern patterned options as well.

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Leonard Riforgiato is a successful furniture manufacturing entrepreneur, a Miami resident, and co-owner of legacy furniture company Heywood-Wakefield.

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