6 Design Rules You Should Think About Breaking

in Decorating on by

Mismatched furniture pieces arranged around one another for an eclectic living room aesthetic.

If there’s one rule of thumb for design (and life, really), it’s that everything is always changing. What’s all the rage one year is laughable the next, and what was once considered hideous is now catching on like wildfire. Because of this constant evolution, it doesn’t always make sense to follow some of the more “basic” design rules that were laid out for us by our mothers and grandmothers as a way of saving us from an ugly living room or kitchen.

We’re here to tell you it’s more than okay to break some of these rules, and that sometimes breaking them actually leads to spaces that are more beautiful because of their individuality.

Here are six design rules you may want to think about breaking in your apartment:

Don’t Mix Prints

It’s long been passed down that mixing prints makes for busy, dizzying, and altogether unattractive decor schemes. While this certainly might have been true before, today mixing prints isn’t just accepted — it’s encouraged. Mixing prints can create a textured, layered look that’s as cozy as it is eclectic. Because there are no hard and fast rules for effective mixing, it may take a little bit of trial and error to get the right look. If you’re unsure of what looks good together, start with something simple like florals and plaids, or stick to patterns that adhere to the same color scheme.

Don’t Put Large Furniture in a Small Space

You’ve probably also been fed the lie that if you have a small space, you absolutely must have small pieces of furniture so as to not overwhelm it. But depending on your apartment’s living area, a big, chunky couch or an oversized coffee table might be exactly the thing that ties all the other pieces together. The same goes for bedrooms: there’s no need to downgrade to a full-sized bed just so you can have more walking space. Feel free to experiment with larger furniture as much as you want, keeping in mind that it may require you to come up with a few creative storage solutions as compensation.

All Your Furniture Needs to Match

Back in the day, your grandma probably had a nice dining room set complete with a hutch, table, and chairs that all bore the same beautiful stain and little side engravings. Today, the expectations are a little less rigid, and you can rest easy knowing it’s okay to mix and match your furniture. Long gone are the days where you needed a complete set of something just for the sake of making sure that everything matched.

Small Spaces Need Neutral Colors

Most interior design blogs will tell you that small spaces require colors like light blue and neutral tan to open up and feel larger than they actually are. The truth is these colors can feel limiting, and sometimes (quite frankly) boring. Just because you live in a small space doesn’t mean that you can’t try out bold colors like eggplant, maroon, or even a deep shade of black.

Your Dining Room Chairs Have to Match

A simple dining room table surrounded by 5 different chairs.

While dining room tables and chairs are traditionally sold as a set, there’s really no need to stick to this age-old design rule. As a matter of fact, mixing up the dining room chairs can actually create an interesting look that’s entirely your own. If something happens to one chair around the table, you won’t need to stress out about replacing it — just find one that looks like it belongs with the rest.

Art Should Be Hung at Eye Level

We’ve long been told that all of the artwork in our apartments needs to be hung at eye level so that it can easily be seen and make the rooms feel balanced. We think you should feel free to get creative with how you hang up your artwork, whether it’s all together as a gallery wall or scattered throughout the home.

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