Rules can be helpful – especially when you’re doing something new. But rules are also made to be broken – especially when it comes to a creative process like decorating your home. If you’re afraid of making a design faux pas, here are six rules you can toss out of your (treatment-free) window:
You shouldn’t mix old with new
Your room isn’t meant to be a time capsule. In fact, decorating in a single style or period can make a room feel boring and uninspired. Instead, pick your favorite pieces from across decades. If you love them, chances are they’ll work well together. One way to create a cohesive look is to use the room’s architecture for inspiration. If you live in a traditional Colonial, for example, combine contemporary pieces with an Oriental rug. You want your room to look as though it’s been assembled over time, not in a single shopping spree.
A living room needs a sofa
It used to be that designing a living room started with the sofa. This rule no longer need apply. Consider creating a cozy conversation space with four oversized easy chairs. A pair of loveseats or settees can make a space feel more formal. Or choose a chaise and an easy chair combination, for a place to relax and unwind. While you can never go wrong using a sofa in a living room, it’s not the only option.
Windows need window treatments
If you have a beautiful view and gorgeous windows, there’s no rule that says you have to cover them up with window treatments. Let the outdoors in by leaving windows treatment-free. This is a great choice when privacy and insulation aren’t a concern.
Nightstands should match
His and hers doesn’t have to mean identical. Why not create a more interesting setting by letting each person choose the nightstand option that suits them best? If you like to read in bed while enjoying a cup of tea, choose a sleek glass-top end table. If your partner prefers to store magazines and the remote, a more classic design with drawers would be best. Then bridge the difference by choosing a similar finish.
Every room needs a pop of color
An accent wall or bright throw pillows certainly make a room feel alive, but monochromatic rooms can be just as interesting. Design a room in subtle shades of gray or ivory or tan. Neutrals look very rich when they’re layered in different textures.
Choose one wood finish and stick with it
While it’s never a bad choice to bring home a matching dining room set, you make a room much more interesting when you mix pieces. While many people are afraid to use more than one wood finish in a room, it’s actually a great way to create a layered look. Dark furniture looks great when placed on light oak floors, for example. Or choose furnishings with mixed finishes. Limit the finishes to two or three, and use them throughout the space for a harmonious look.