4 Design “Rules” To Forget Once And For All In 2016

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different non conformist umbrella

In 2016, you can live by your own decor rules. Don’t let others tell you what you can and can’t do in your own home! Here are some “rules” to cut loose now.

If there is something I’ve learned writing about home decor for a few years now, it’s that there are no rules. Any element–be it color, texture, furniture, art, etc.–can be bent and shaped to suit your own tastes and needs, and the limitations (or possibilities) of your home.

So here are some clichéd “rules” that are definitely not rules and that you should forget about in 2016… and forever.

1. “Every room should stick to 3 colors”

Let’s debunk this one right now. Very limited color palettes (2-3 colors) may look elegant and harmonious, but it can get a little boring. It’s also limiting if you like to accessorize–depending on the season, it can be hard to find things that match your colors exactly.

So, yes, you can choose a limited color palette if you want. But you don’t have to. Many beautiful rooms get away with using a wider color palette.

Rustic Living Room by Park City Architects & Building Designers Jaffa Group Design Build

By using a neutral color on your walls, you can choose a variety of colorful shades for your seating, bedding, accessories and furniture. Use cushions, throws and wall art to tie all the colors together.

If you need palette inspiration, you can check out my Color Palette of the Week series. Each palette has 5 or 6 colors you can play with.

2. “You need to put something on every wall”

Here’s another rule that a lot of people get really anxious about. What am I going to put on this wall? And that wall? My walls are pretty empty right now, aside from a clock on the back of the kitchen wall, and I’m pretty okay with that. I also don’t have the budget to buy the kind of art I want for every wall, so I’m going to make sure that I choose each piece for its value, not simply to fill up an empty wall.

And, if you’re into minimalist, contemporary decor, an empty wall is a breath of fresh air, an open space that isn’t cluttered by frames or photos or posters.

Contemporary Bedroom by New York Architects & Building Designers Magdalena Keck Interior Design

An empty wall is a rest for the eyes and the mind. You definitely don’t have to put anything on it if you don’t want to.

3. “Every _____ needs to match”

Replace the blank with “fabric”, “wood” “metal” or any other element you can think of. This rule, I suppose, was made up because it’s easier to decorate with matching textures–but it’s also boring.

In the kitchen, not every metal needs to be stainless. Try a brass faucet or golden knobs for a little variety. In the living room or office, try different colors and styles of fabrics and add leather for your seating. In the bedroom, use two different pillow shams that don’t necessarily match the bedding.

Eclectic Home Office by Chicago Interior Designers & Decorators Summer Thornton Design, Inc

Try to keep one element that links everything together–a color, a pattern–but feel free to play with textures. If we were all the same, wouldn’t it be boring?

4. “Every room must have ______”

A rug. Drapes. Throw pillows. Art. Whatever you think every room needs, it probably doesn’t.

My living room does very well without a rug. My bedroom is great without a chair. My kitchen is amazing without backsplash tile.

Scandinavian Kitchen by London Kitchen & Bath Designers Roundhouse

This rule is just as silly as saying that every woman must own a little black dress (I don’t) and every man must have a suit (I know plenty who don’t). If you don’t feel like adding a rug or a coffee table to your living room, then don’t. You don’t need to do anything that’s “expected”. You’re the one who has to live there after all!

The one rule

For 2016, I dare you to live your home decor under one rule: do whatever you want. If you like it, it’s all that matters.

So let go of things that you believe should or shouldn’t happen in your home decor. It’s time to free yourself from the expectations you think exist, and start living in the home you really want.

So, what rule will you drop in 2016? If it’s a different one than the ones I mention above, let me know! I’m curious to see what other people believe about home decor.

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