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6 Home Decorating Rules You Shouldn’t Be Following Anymore

Who said there was a rule book for decorating? If there was, these are the rules worth breaking.


Rule: Everything has to match

Matching sets and strict color schemes exist for a reason—they’re simple, and to a certain extent, they work. Unfortunately, following this decorating rule can result in a lackluster look and could make the room appear dated. So while the bedroom set from your favorite shop might seem terrific in the catalog, it might be worth shopping around for a more eclectic pieces. Want to stop by a few garage sales for ideas? These are the things you should never buy at one.


Rule: Purchase hardware in matching finishes

Matchy-matchy hardware falls into a similar category as matching color schemes and furniture sets. This one, however, totally depends on your personal style. Uniform hardware can create a unified minimalist look, but you shouldn’t be afraid of mixing things up. Contrasting finishes can look layered and adventurous.

dark coloriStock/newyorkhardcore

Rule: Never paint a small space a dark color

This decorating rule offers tried and true advice: White walls will help your small space look bigger. And it’s perfectly valid, too. But dark colors can also do wonders for a small space, adding drama and elegance. Blacks, charcoals, navy blues, and chocolaty browns are safe bets, suggests, while dark reds, greens, and mid-tone blues can make a room feel even smaller by calling too much attention to the color itself. This is how to create an expert color palette for your home.

against wallsiStock/vicnt

Rule: Arrange furniture against the walls

Pushing all your furniture up against the walls might help your space feel bigger, but you’re also likely missing out on some serious coziness if you follow this decorating rule. Create a warmer living area by bringing your sofa and chairs (or whatever pieces you’ve chosen) toward the center of the room. If there’s an area rug, each piece should touch it by at least a few inches. These are the decorating tricks interior designers will never tell you for free.


Rule: The ceiling must be white

White paint on the ceiling is classic, but it’s not your only option. You might also choose to paint the ceiling the same color as the walls, or a shade slightly darker or lighter.


Rule: Clutter is the enemy

Don’t let minimalist designers and the Marie Kondos of the world pressure you into creating a space free of personal ornaments and knick-knacks. Choose items that make you happy, and display them proudly. Think you’d like to give the clutter-free life a try? Here’s how to banish clutter completely.