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7 Home Decorating Rules You Should Break

A living room with a golden couch, large plant, and wall decorations

Home interior blogs and magazines have been pushing certain decorating “rules” for so long that it’s easy to think that breaking them is forbidden. But design, like any art, is constantly evolving, and many of the guidelines that your parents or grandparents swore by are now saved for retro revivals. So before you default to the same old way of doing things, explore these ideas and see if any work for your space.

1. Putting your sofa against the wall.

In small spaces, this may be your only option, but if you have an open layout, float your sofa to create functional zones, allow more light in, or make the room feel bigger. Experiment with different arrangements, and you’ll see what a difference it makes!

A dining table with four chairs around it, one chair is white and the other three are black.

2. Having matching dining chairs.

If you love to go antiquing or thrifting, you’re bound to come across a lone dining chair with a unique charm and no mates. Don’t leave these orphans behind! Even if it takes you awhile to find the number you need, it will be worth it to have an eating space that has a sense of fun.

3. Avoiding dark colors in small rooms.

A little drama is a good thing, so go ahead and paint that half bath navy blue or forest green. All black may seem a little Wednesday Addams, but it can actually provide a feeling of luxe with the right lighting and accents.

A bathroom with a bold green pattern on the wall behind the bathtub
4. Adding a pop of color in every room.

Monochrome and minimalism are both in vogue right now, and some people find a muted color palette soothing, not boring. Your home is your refuge, so don’t feel pressured to add colors that feel jarring or distracting to you.

5. Not mixing bold patterns.

The opposite of embracing monochrome palettes? Feeling like you can’t mix up patterns in any way that feels fun to you. If you reject “less is more” for “more is more,” then let your home reflect that. Floral throw pillows on a striped sofa are a classic combination, and a mix of patterned prints can create a funky boho vibe.  Mix and match to create a décor that reflects your personality.

6. Using only real plants.

Faux plants exist for a reason. Some people travel frequently and don’t have time for upkeep, and others just don’t have a green thumb. That’s no reason to forego the homey touch that any plant provides. There are some incredibly realistic ones on the market, so feel free to leave the living greenery out in the yard.

7. Matching all wood tones.

A unified wood scheme provides a seamless look, but mixing finishes can create a layered look and add depth. The most foolproof way to do this is to mix woods in the same tone (warm, cool, or neutral) or to start with your most dominant wood feature (like flooring or your largest piece of furniture) and look for wood tones that complement that element.


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