8 Interior Design Rules to Break in Order to Express Your Style

It's good to have some basic interior design rules at the ready, but hard and fast pronouncements can really hamper your creativity. After all, your home should be a reflection of who you are as a person, which makes it feel uniquely yours.


That being said, here are eight interior design rules you should break starting today so you can express your personal style and create spaces you love.

1. Wood finishes should match

Trying to match wood finishes is a real challenge and many times, the attempt can look like a miss.

Instead of trying to match everything perfectly, pick a main wood tone, and then don't be afraid to bring in coordinating wood tones in lighter or darker tones.

2. Only use light colors in small areas

Contrary to popular belief, dark colors don't necessarily make a room look smaller. In fact, dark colors recede, making those surfaces appear further away, and they tend to blur the edges of a space, erasing lines of demarcation and making it appear larger.

Small spaces and dark colors also give you the opportunity to introduce some drama into your design.

3. Metal finishes should match

You can go this route to avoid having to think about your hardware too much, but you might be missing an opportunity to add some interest to your space.

While I do agree that door hardware should all match, and ditto for cabinet hardware, they don't necessarily have to match each other.

You can also take the opportunity to bring in coordinating metals for faucets, light fixtures, and accessories.

Depending on the size of the space, mixing two or three metals will give your space dimension and the feeling of having evolved organically.

4. You need a pop of color in every room

Pops of color are your choice. If you like them, then by all means go for it. But when you're trying to create a calm and cohesive space, I'm thinking neutrals here.

A loud pop of color can break up the peaceful vibe.

On the other hand, if you like bold colors, it's okay to saturate. In fact, color drenching is a strategy you can use to surround yourself in color in an exciting yet cohesive way.

Either way, pops are not a necessity, just a matter of personal preference.

5. All the furniture in a room must match

Big box furniture retailers would love for you to believe this.

And it's true that walking into a furnished showroom vignette and picking all the matching pieces is an easy thought-free process, but it is a missed opportunity to place your personal stamp on your room.

6. Dining chairs should all match

There's nothing wrong with having matching dining chairs, but if you want to add some personality and visual interest, think about mixing it up a bit.

You can go with something as simple as upholstered chairs at each end, making those spaces a bit special and adding some visual weight and softness.

Or you can really mix things up by using different styles of seating or completely different chairs that coordinate with your color palette.

7. Small rooms require small everything

Just because you have a small space doesn't mean you have to go small on style.

Using larger pieces, whether it's furniture or artwork, can make a space feel larger and less cluttered.

Just mind proportions and make sure there's some circulation space and your room will look just right.

8. You must adhere to one style forever

People change. Lifestyles change. Every season of life brings new opportunities and challenges.

There's nothing wrong with a style that evolves over many years, but there's also nothing wrong with craving something completely new.

Let your current needs and lifestyle lead you to a space that's uniquely yours.


Interior design rules

The new rules of interior design say that anything goes as you truly like it. Feeling free to express yourself through paint, architectural detail, home decor, and furnishings is the key to creating spaces that feel cozy and inviting.


What are some interior design rules you like to break? Let us know in the comments section down below.

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  • Pat Pat on May 20, 2024
    'Decorating rules'? The only decorating rules my mind has are, if you like it, go for it. You're the one who lives there, and unless you are trying to impress others, whatever you like in your own home is right. You like purple walls with yellow polka dots? Do it. Give 'em something to talk about behind your back besides that wayward dust bunny in the corner. Trust me, you'll be a lot happier than trying to keep up with whoever writes these supposedly expert decorating articles.
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