We’re not big on rules, we tend to think of them more as guidelines—good places to start, or things to fall back on when you’re at a loss. Every home, and every family, is unique, and décor is incredibly personal. What works for one space may not work in another. Every décor choice you make should be based on what works for you and your space. So instead of offering a bunch of rules, we’ll offer a list of design and décor don’ts. They’re not hard and fast, but these are choices that are often regretted.
- Trendy over timeless
Trends come and go, and there’s nothing wrong with a few trendy accent pieces. Buying into a major investment piece, or major architectural details because it’s trending right now? Best to skip that in favor of timeless styles and save the trends for smaller pieces.
- Choosing the paint color first
OK, sure, you can do it, and sometimes it even works. But it’s far better to get everything else done, then match your paint to your other elements. That way you know you’ve got the undertones and shades just right.
- Making your favorite color the primary color
It sounds counterintuitive, but use your favorite color as an accent shade rather than the primary color in your palette. It will stand out more, allowing your favorite to really pop instead of sort of fading into the background.
- Going matchy-matchy
There is simply no way to ensure that everything is the exact same shade, so forget it. Opt for complementary and coordinating instead of matching.
- Making snap color choices
You got to the store, fell in love with that gray paint and bought it right then and there. The trouble is, once you got home and painted, the wall looks green, not gray. Take your time on color choices, get samples and try them in the actual environment, under different lighting, before buying.
- Lining the walls with furniture
Pull your furniture away from the walls and into comfortable groupings. The center of the room should not be a big, empty space. Of course, there is a big exception to this one: sometimes, thanks to a room’s size or layout you have no choice. If that’s the case, take care to arrange furniture so there is a natural traffic flow through the room that doesn’t disturb the seating area if at all possible.
- Obstructing movement and access
On a similar note, try to avoid creating barriers—chairs shouldn’t block doorways, tables shouldn’t block passage to a traffic area, etc. Take extra care with heavily-trafficked zones.
- Holding on to things you don’t like
It’s hard to get rid of Aunt Clutter’s antique samovar, or that framed Paris print Uncle Knickknack gave you for your birthday. Just because it’s inherited or a gift does not give it right of passage in your home. If something is not your style, find it a new, and better suited, home. Even if that means the consignment shop.
- Gotta show ‘em all off
While a collection looks best with multiples of the same type of item, that does not mean you have to display every item in your collection. Be selective in what you display, and if you have more than looks good at any one time, choose the most important ones and put the rest away, or rotate all the options seasonally.
- Settling for “good enough”
Yes, sometimes it’s necessary to get something that meets a need, but if time and budget permit, don’t settle for something just because it’s cheaper or more convenient. Hold out for things you truly love.
Dare to be bold and different, break the rules and you’ll have a space that truly reflects your personal style, and that you love being in.