Some Rules are Meant to be Broken.

Thank you House Beautiful for your Designer Tip of 10 Decorating Rules to Break. I’ve certainly have had my own share of rule breaking when it comes to interior and exterior design. And I’m glad to see I’m not the only one on the wild side! Ready to break some more?

Old Rule #1: Use Only One Type of wood in a room. I’m not a matchy matchy kind of gal. Mixing woods can make a room so much more interesting and dynamic!

Eclectic and deeply lacquered library designed by Miles Redd.

Eclectic and deeply lacquered library designed by Miles Redd.

Old Rule #2: The Most Important Piece of Furniture is the Sofa. So wrong! I’m going to go out on a limb and say that for me, it’s the way the room comes together and serves it’s purpose, beautifully. Some living rooms can go without a sofa – my sister-in-law prescribes to that rule with the use of four comfy lounge chair encircling a center table. The room called for this type of treatment. Head to the family room for some lounging time.

Designer Dan Marty feel the same way - love this cozy room with no sofa!

Designer Dan Marty feel the same way - love this cozy room with no sofa!

Old Rule #3: Play it Safe in Small Spaces. Sometimes big is better. Believe it or not. I think an oversize pattern in a cozy dining room or powder room can really make the space sing. On occasion a small and uninteresting room can be made more exciting with the addition of a large-scale treatment.

Designer Victoria Neale agrees that a bold print can make a smaller, less-used room and exciting space to spend time.

Designer Victoria Neale agrees that a bold print can make a smaller, less-used room and exciting space to spend time.

Old Rule #4: Every Room Needs a Rug. Not every bare floor or newly finished wide wood plank floor needs to wear a hat. Uncover these rooms if you like and leave the rug to the bedroom where bare feet really appreciate the softer feeling. Removing a rug from a kitchen or dining room and can open up the space and keep it cleaner in the long run.

"Bare wood and stone floors can be just as beautiful," says designer Eric Cohler.

"Bare wood and stone floors can be just as beautiful," says designer Eric Cohler.

Old Rule #5: Furniture Styles Should Match. Who told you that? Not Mr. Wolfe! Like Vicente, I lean towards layering of textures, colors, styles rather than stick with a single one digit. Add some decorative lighting and accessories to dress up the various styles and voila… instant interest!

With layering, decor choices will have a much longer life," says designer Vicente Wolf.

"With layering, decor choices will have a much longer life," says designer Vicente Wolf.

Old Rule #6: Always Put a Coffee Table in Front of the Sofa. I think we can all agree that sometimes, a single table just does not cut it. We might be crowded in this house and need a bit more maneuverability. Pull up an ottman topped with a lacquer tray, spread out a few nesting tables with various heights, or even scatter some small stools.

Vicente Wolf knows where a coffee table goes in this home.

Vicente Wolf knows where a coffee table goes in this home.

Old Rule #7: Vintage Pieces are Best Left “As Is”. Whoever invented paint is a genius. Thank you Thank you Thank you. With anything old and maybe a bit beaten down, a good shellac in any color will work wonders for updating your room and adding life to you loveliest pieces.

This bed went from blah and brown to bravo and black.

This bed went from blah and brown to bravo and black.

Old Rule #8: For a Small Bedroom, Use Small Furniture. This is no doll house. Small scale anything can make a smaller room seem like a Barbie retreat. Adding height and width to a cozy quarter will feed your room like a plant – grow grow grow! Now it’s not so small is it?

I've always loved this image of designer Melissa Warner's own West Hollywood bedroom

I've always loved this image of designer Melissa Warner's own West Hollywood bedroom

Old Rule #9: Dining Chairs Should be a Part of a Matching Set. Whether it be a round or rectangle, a dining table could more than one style of chair. Make sure they have the same proportions and maybe the same style, wood, leather or metal to keep things cohesive. But just as you imagine tall backed chairs flanking the ends of medieval dining tables, here to can we mix-it-up a bit with introducing a bench, accent chair or upholstered arm-chair to the dining equation.

This Saarinen base rectangle table has room to grow with the varied seating by designer Vicente Wolf.

This Saarinen base rectangle table has room to grow with the varied seating by designer Vicente Wolf.

Old Rule #10: Children’s Art is for the Fridge. You might have a resident artist in the house. So flaunt his/her skills! The mere abstract nature of a child’s painting or drawing can be that one accent you’ve needed in the dining room or even above the master bed. The colors and brushstrokes of a child can make the most boring of rooms the new favorite spot in the house.

"Display drawings ina colorful frame or white frame with mat. They are full of spirit and meaningful", says Eric Cohler.

"Display drawings in a colorful frame or white frame with mat. They are full of spirit and meaningful", says Eric Cohler.

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"A person should design the way he makes a living, around how he wishes to make a life" — Charlie Byrd

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