Over the years there were certain rules of thumb that one thought one had to abide by in terms of creating one’s perfect home. But fashion and decor, like the times, too must change to stay current. In many cases what’s old is most definitely new again, unless you’re talking about the rules of decorating. There are two trains of thought here – rules are meant to be broken, or there really are no rules when it comes to decorating anymore…
1. Small rooms must be white, or a pale neutral color
It was once thought that white or pale spaces would brighten up and make a small room seem larger than it is. And while this is in part true, the size and scale of a room have less to do with wall color and more to do with furniture scale and placement. And sometimes one wants to keep a small room feeling small, creating a space that feels warm, inviting, cozy and intimate. There is nothing wrong with a small room that is welcoming and comfortable. The addition of color to walls, in bedding, or in accessories will greatly warm up your small space.
2. Small rooms must have “small” furniture
This is perhaps the silliest of all the myths. Small furniture in your small space will make your home feel more like a dollhouse than a home. A small bedroom may not necessarily have the space for a king-sized bed, but if you can place a queen sized bed in it, do so. Instead of filling the room with several pieces of small furniture, one or two larger pieces will make the room appear bigger. Where space is limited think in terms of style and function. An armoire will make a statement and will serve as better storage than a dresser. An old steam trunk at the foot of a bed adds both storage and an elegant, classic look.
3. You must follow all the “rules”
And we say that rules are meant to be broken! When decorating your home, you need to best represent your personal taste and style – That really should be the number one rule! What is it that you like? What are your favorite colors? Styles? Hobbies? What is your favorite type of artwork? Are you a modern gal or do you prefer the classics? Are you inspired by Asian influences? Are you a DIYer? Your home should be a reflection of your own tastes and passions, not those of someone else!
4. Dark rooms have a tendency to make your space look smaller
Dark rooms can add warmth, texture and dimension to your room. They can add a sense of sophistication, glamour and drama. Dark walls can be a wonderful canvas to work with. A piece of art, when hung on a dark wall, can make a much more powerful statement. It’s less the color of your walls that make your space seem smaller, than the placement and scale of the furniture within the dark walls. Keep furniture proportional to the room – if incorporating larger scaled furniture, use fewer pieces. Keep the room open to create and keep a perpetual flow. Rooms tend to seem smaller when they are cramped and crowded.
5. Dark ceilings have a tendency to make your room look shorter/smaller
As with the above statement, this is not accurate. Colorful ceilings add texture, dimension and drama. They can add a sense of sophistication or whimsy. In a smaller space you may want your walls or furniture in lighter shades than your ceiling, if you opt for a dark shade. But otherwise a painted ceiling should not make your room feel smaller. If you are worried about your space feeling small or not bright enough, you can always add decorative mirrors to reflect and create additional sources of light.
6. Don’t mix patterns and prints!
And we say, why not? There’s no better way to add color, texture and to infuse your own personality than by adding various patterns together. Yes, stripes, checks, florals, plaids can all live together harmoniously! In order to do this successfully, however, you will need to stick to your chosen color pallet. Whether you’re working with blues and greys, pinks and greens or black and white, you absolutely can mix fabrics and patterns.
7. Stick to one focal point
Why? We are not one dimensional and neither are the rooms in which we live. Each living space has four walls, why must only one wall be your focal point? Is your bay window any more or less important than your fireplace? What about your great grandmother’s Picasso that you’ve just inherited? The windows, the fireplace and the grand work of art are all worthy of their own attention. By giving each wall a focal point you’re not only adding texture, and dimension to your room, you’re infusing your own sense of style and personality.
8. Stick to one style
This is like telling someone to stick to one sport or one hobby… or one passion. We are multifaceted and therefore why shouldn’t our homes be the same. What if you’re a world traveler? What if you’ve collected artifacts from Greece, China, Japan and France? To say to you to stick to one style would be to tell you to choose your favorite collected piece, which you may very well have, but there’s no reason that your Japanese sculpture cannot co-exist beautifully next to your antique, classical French table. Or perhaps one lives in a modern style home yet has an extensive antiques collection. Blending, merging or infusing various styles gives your home a layered feel and is perhaps the best way to incorporate your sense of style and self.
9. The most important piece of furniture is your couch
Unless it’s not! Maybe the most important piece of furniture in your home is your dining room table, a bookshelf, an old curio… or maybe it is your couch. But really this depends on your home and your lifestyle. A home boasting a young and highly active family will pay less attention to a couch than it might another piece of furniture. In this case, the couch might be more for function than fashion. The most important piece of furniture is the one you designate as being such. Some may argue and say that the dining room table or the bed is the most important piece of furniture. Now, because the couch is usually a focal point in your room, you will want to get something that is esthetically pleasing, but if it’s going to be in a room often utilized by young children, you won’t want this to be your big purchase. Save it for when the children have grown!
10. Don’t paint vintage furniture?
Why not? Recycling, or upcycling is becoming more and more popular. It’s environmentally friendly and what better way to breathe new life into something old. Repainting vintage furniture is the perfect way to add a modern touch to a piece of yesterday.
11. Dining room tables and chairs must match
In so much that fabrics and furniture must match… nonsense! You can absolutely incorporate different styles and textures to your dining room chairs. Do, however, stick to a common color – keep woods light or dark. Or if you do blend the two, and have blended styles consider adding seat cushions that are a unified color or fabric. The goal is to create texture without causing dizziness! By that same token, there’s nothing wrong with using different, coordinating fabrics on the cushions of matching chairs.
12. Children’s art belongs on the fridge!
If you have children in your home I say bring out their art work. Create a studio or gallery wall showcasing your petite artiste! There’s no better way to add color, wonder and whimsy to your walls then with a framed piece of art by your child or children. Sometimes the most simple of paintings can add so much to your room.
13. White spaces are uninviting
White space is what you make of it. White spaces can seem drab, empty and devoid of personality, yet they can be wonderfully tranquil. As we’ve noted above, texture and personality are key to creating a lush space. There are many shades of white, so when opting for a white room be sure to use several shades to add depth and warmth to your space. Ivory colored walls, linen couches topped with off white throws and pillows can evoke a sense of calm and tranquility. White doesn’t have to feel sterile and cold.
14. Limit your use of area rugs
Don’t! Area rugs are a wonderful means of adding color and texture to your floors. Layering them can add a sense of warmth to your room. They can soften hardwood floors and add depth and texture to wall to wall carpeting. Area rugs can tie pieces of furniture and living areas together wonderfully. As with any other fabric, as long as you stay within your color theme, you can layer patterns and textures to form a unified and cohesive, yet complex look.
15. Every room needs a pop of color
You may want to add some color to every room, but it certainly doesn’t mean that this must be done. By using one color in varying shades and tones, take grey for example, enough variety, texture and contrast is creating so that the need to add color is no longer. If you were to stick with just one tone, then you would be best adding some color to create a sense of depth and texture otherwise your space could feel too flat and one dimensional.
Go ahead, break the rules -we defy you to!