5 Decorating Rules It's Ok to Break
Rule to Break: Everything Must Match
Who says molding always has to be white and that all texitiles and patterns need to coordinate exactly? Not designer Sasha Emerson: "I like to paint wainscoting or large trim with dark colors," she says. "I love using blues and greens." And, she says, have fun with textiles and furnishings. "They don't have to match the wall color. I like things a bit off color-wise—I break this rule in all of my projects."
Rule to Break: Ceilings Should be White
Don't ignore what's above your head, says New York City textile designer Thomas Paul. "I like painting the ceiling the same color as the walls," he says, and he did exactly this in his own living room, swathing all surfaces in a red lacquer. "The ceiling looked odd in white, so we decided to just go all the way and paint the ceiling in red too. Red ceilings are not for the faint-of-heart, but I love it," says Paul. Try this design trick in a small bedroom or a powder room, because it makes the space feel cozy, he suggests.
Another idea: Keep your walls white, and allow the ceiling—or as some consider it, the fifth wall—to get all the color, like in this vaulted kitchen.
Rule to Break: All Finishes Must be the Same
"All of your hardware does not have to match," say bloggers Sherry and John Petersik of Young House Love. "The layered, collected-over-time effect that different hardware can have on a room is amazing." In this bathroom, for example, a polished chrome faucet lives with a bronzed mirror frame and a chipped-paint wall sconce.
Rule to Break: Always Rely on Neutrals
Although neutral colors are a go-to for most designers, they don't work for every space in your home, says blogger Susie Harris. Her favorite place to prove this is in her kids' rooms, where paint becomes an inexpensive tool to accommodate their ever-evolving tastes. "I have gone from hot pink to camo green and every shade in between," she says. "One year I painted my daughter's walls bright white and her ceiling hot pink. She loved it!"
Rule to Break: Don't Use Dark Colors in a Small Space
Although some design books will eschew dark colors in small spaces, Christina Fluegge, designer at Greige Design thinks the opposite is true. "I love the cozy feeling of a dark, smaller room," she says. "Dark colors make the space feel more intimate, and when the light changes in the evening, it's much more dramatic." Give heavier shades a shot in the bedroom, a young child's room (better for naptime), and dining areas. Stay away from spaces where you typically need light, like a home office.