Common Interior Decorating Rules to Stop Following Now

man painting a wall

Never paint a small space white. Install décor of different heights. Never combine multiple bold patterns in just one room. When it comes to designing your home, there are many different warnings and rules you hear and read about that can end up having you second-guessing your interior design decisions and personal aesthetic. But should you follow these so-called rules? To start, let’s focus on three rules that you don’t have to follow.

All Your Wood Stains Have to Be Matchy-Matchy

This rule has to go. Done incorrectly, matchy-matchy wood stains can even make your space look cheap and boring. However, cleverly mixing different wood stains can make your space look layered and finished, and not forced. As long as you don’t live in a log cabin that doesn’t have any upholstered fabric, you don’t really need to think so much about how different wood stains will look together. Once you have introduced some color into the space through artwork and upholstery, the different wood finishes will act as a great backdrop to everything else. Besides, the beautiful grain of your Hans Olsen table will have a better chance of standing out amidst different wood stains.

Always Observe the “60-30-10” Rule for Using Color

beautifully designed home interior

This color rule covers your primary focal color, secondary color, and accent color. Basically, you should use 60% of your focal color on huge furniture pieces, walls, rugs, etc.; 30% of smaller pieces of furniture, pillows, window treatments, etc.; and 10% of your accent color for artwork, lamps, and other accent pieces. The design principle behind this outdated rule is to make people more confident when purchasing or painting huge items. However, while this rule can help nudge some people into using more color, it’s also very limiting. If you love to see many different colors in just one space, just go for it. Or if you are a fan of muted neutrals, play with different monochromatic palettes until you find the right one. Once you have a better understanding of how different colors can work well together, you can easily figure out which colors will look great together and which won’t.

Stick to Only One Metal Finish

Like matching wood stains, matching metal finishes can make a space appear outdated and cheap, while using different finishes in a room will make it feel more current and fresh. But not many homeowners feel comfortable mixing silver and gold. To help you out, the first thing you need to do is to find the right metal finishes that are distinctly different from each other. For example, brushed nickel and shiny silver chrome look almost the same that using them together might look accidental, instead of deliberately styled. Next, pick a metal finish to be the primary finish and use other finishes as accents.

It’s difficult to pinpoint how these commonly accepted interior design rules came about. Still, whether you’re aware or not, they have become almost second nature for a lot of people. Yes, design rules are not really a bad thing and in fact can help guide you, but the outdated design rules mentioned above just have to go.

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