Design Revolt: Unconventional Décor Ideas (Part Deux)

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fish bowl leap illustration

Home decor rules should serve us, not the other way around. Here are some more ways to personalize your space, and embrace unconventional interior design.


Civilized society demands a certain level of order: saving a splash of milk for your dearest, filling the coffee pot after you empty it, doing your taxes, saying please and thank you…

I’m sorry, I fell asleep for a second there.

Some rules were made to be broken. Not all of us yearn for a sterile, white-picket-fenced suburban life with color-coordinated throw pillows to match. For the bold and audacious amongst us, it’s all a little too predictable, too Stepford.

Breaking all the rules (and why it’s fun)

This post is for those who crave a little more rebellion and excitement in their lives. It’s for the folks who find predictable design choices as boring as an auditor at tax time. It’s for the renegades who get a kick out of ruffling a few feathers. Whether it’s choosing mismatched chairs and clashing design colors, or hanging a bike from the ceiling, you can have whatever your zany little heart desires.

If you’re sick of playing it safe, here are a few ideas to help you turn convention, and your décor, on its head:

Lose the matchy-matchy dining set

Using mismatched dining room chairs says, “I’m done with bland uniformity and sameness.” It’s a look that’s eclectic, edgy, and uniquely yours. To achieve this dissimilar look, you could spend an afternoon rummaging around your friendly neighborhood thrift store in search of distinct pieces. You’re not tied to buying a matching set, so you’re free to grab up oddball finds.

quirky dining room set

If you don’t find the colors you’re looking for, give restoration a chance. With a few coats of paint, you can transform those florescent-green chairs from ‘80s to awesome. Or you could leave them as is, for a colorful, in-your-face look. (A lighter fluorescent green looks stunning against a royal-blue backdrop, by the way.)

Visit another dimension

Recently, I discovered the beauty of 3D wall panels. Apparently, I was living under a rock until now. (I was blind, but now I see.) Decorative 3D wall panels and tiles—all kinds of awesome—come in different colors, textures, shapes, and patterns, and look absolutely breathtaking on a feature wall.

living room textural accent wall

These gorgeous little panels and tiles typically come in a box of 12 or so pieces, and about three boxes should do it for an average eight-by-eight wall. If you’re confident in your do-it-yourselfer status, you could affix them yourself. Or you could leave it to the pros.

Choose unexpected art

Circa 1940, Abstract Expressionism, an audacious American movement, put New York at the crux of the art world. Instead of playing it safe with scenes of nature and muted landscapes, try something unexpected altogether.

dining room donut art print


Whether it’s a Picasso or Mondrian print, or an abstract interpretation of donuts, an eccentric painting is sure to make heads turn and tongues wag.

Take-home lesson

When it comes to décor, you’re free to make and break all the rules. When you move away from safe choices, you open up a world of inspiration. What look will you create?

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