You’ve probably absorbed plenty of decorating maxims without even being aware you’re the possessor of an internal rulebook but they’re not the law, honest, and some of them are just plain wrong. Check out why you should be a rule breaker.
Avoid dark colours in small spaces
Image source: Farrow & Ball
It is true that using pale shades can visually expand a room, while dark colours will make the walls appear closer to you. The rule seems to make perfect sense, so why go against it? Well, it depends on the atmosphere you want to create. For a room that needs to have a cocooning feel, a dark wall colour is actually a logical choice. Maybe it’s a TV room, for example, or perhaps it’s a living space you use for evening entertaining lit by candles, table and floorstanding lamps – either way, cosy is good. It can also be the best choice for a room that faces north. In these spaces, pale colours can look unpleasantly cold under the grey light, so give up the battle and go dark and gorgeous instead.
Don’t mix florals and stripes
Image source: Prestigious Textiles
There really is no reason to fall for this one. Putting together different patterns is such an easy way of creating variety and interest in any room that it’s a shame to cheat yourself of the option. How to make them work together? The simplest method is to opt for fabrics from one fabric house’s collection, when the designers will have done all the work and you can simply pick the stripe for one area of the room and a floral elsewhere. When you want to add a second design to one you already have in a room, look for common colours to pull the look together. Piece of cake!
Blue and green should never be seen
Image source: M&S
We say: why wouldn’t you put these colours together in a room? Paired, they look stunning but because they’re not high contrast the effect is soothing rather than shouty. Once again, the key is in how you execute the scheme. Pick one of them to use over a larger area (like the wall in this room) then use lesser quantities of the second (here, on the sofa and one of the armchairs). Where you do need to create equality, though, is in their degree of boldness. Think equal depth or equal softness of colour and you won’t go far wrong.
Never, ever hang wallpaper in a bathroom
Image source: Wallpaperdirect
This isn’t wrong, but it’s not always right. OK, if you (or more likely your offspring) are going to splash the walls, or if your room’s not well ventilated and lengthy showers are the order of the day, then wallpaper’s not going to look good for long. If, on the other hand, your room is for leisurely bathing and steam isn’t a problem, then why not create a truly glamorous or characterful look with wallpaper? You’ll know which applies and whether you can break the rule.
Bedroom schemes must be understated
Image source: California Shutters
This dictum isn’t surprising. After all, a bedroom is a space for relaxing and therefore avoiding the dramatic seems to be the sound course of action. It’s an awful shame, though. Your bedroom is the only room in your house where you can indulge your own tastes to the max without having to worry about anyone else – or the practicalities of everyday wear and tear from family and visitors. A bedroom scheme should be just what you (singular or plural) love, and if you love it, the scheme will make you feel happy and relaxed even if it’s the polar opposite of understated.
Big objects and small rooms don’t mix
Image source: Next
Here’s another decree that just doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. In fact, using one overscaled accessory can make a compact room feel bigger. Try it with a statement mirror – as seen here – a large piece of art for the wall, a generously sized vase… there are plenty of choices when it comes to accessories and they’ll all pull off this very neat trick. Be warned, though, that the opposite holds true: clutter your small room up with lots of knick-knacks, and you will make it feel tiny, so be bold.