Design Revolt: Unconventional Décor Ideas

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think outside the box typewriter

When it comes to home décor, don’t be afraid to embrace the unconventional. Here are some suggestions to personalizing your space right here.


In life, there are certain responsible, adulty things we should all be doing: giving firm handshakes; doing taxes on time; eating wholesome, leafy greens; using matching throw pillows…. Are you asleep yet? (Yawn.)

When predictable methods become as stale as day-old toast, maybe it’s time to venture down the path less traveled. To heck with rules, I say! When it comes to décor, all you need is a little imagination. After all, rules were made to be broken.

These unconventional décor ideas are sure to bring out your eccentric side:

The writing’s on the wall

bedroom book headboard

I think it was J.K. Rowling that said, “I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book.”

When we read, we slip into someone else’s soul. We hear their thoughts—their voice—and see the world through a different lens. From literary classics to modern best-sellers, being enveloped by a good book is a lovely way to feed your imagination and pass the time.

Decorating with books adds a beautiful, unconventional twist to your space. You could affix a dozen open books to a feature wall or your bed headboard. If you’re feeling less daring, stack a few books with covers of similar colors on your coffee table. To tie this look together, add a vintage clock, a vase, or a small candle holder on top.

Sailing eccentric seas

nautical home decor

Whether you’re a buccaneer-in-training or a salty sea dog, most of us have fond recollections of sand, sun, and surf. If you’re going for a full nautical look, a wooden boat is right at home within your space.

If you love the rustic warmth of wood, you could hang a wooden canoe from the ceiling. Or you could turn that old boat into a makeshift bookshelf. To customize your look, add some paint, or a stain or glaze of your choice. Bare and painted-white wood are both equally magnificent in any space.

Any time is teatime

colorful tea set

Put the kettle on! There’s something soothing about sipping a nice, warm cup of tea. It’s a moment of your own, when you can reflect on life and enjoy some much-needed comfort. Or you could share a pot, and a few stories, with friends.

Teacups—not just a vessel for your favorite Earl Grey—are a colorful, interesting, and inexpensive way to achieve a vintage look. With all sorts of colors, shapes, and patterns to choose from, teacups add loads of visual interest and elegance.

You could stack a few teacups on your coffee table and add a floating candle to the center of each cup. For an unexpected take on the classic vase, place some fresh-cut flowers, like pink roses or carnations, into a teapot instead. Or you could use a few teacups as planters or jewelry holders. The sky’s the limit.

Take-home lesson

Out with the old and in with the new, I say! When it comes to décor, if you can dream it, you can make it happen. When you challenge what’s expected, you create a look that’s uniquely yours.

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Tanya Roberts

Tanya Roberts is a writer and marketer who loves to spin stories about interior design and home decor. She is principle strategist at