Understanding interior design principals is a great first step in decorating your home. But when can you break the rules?

One of the best reasons to hire interior decorators is that they understand “the rules.”

Case in point: very few people walk around in dress shoes and white socks, because they know that if they do, there are people out there ready to write blog posts pointing out that they saw some guy walking around in dress shoes and white socks, and didn’t that look ridiculous?

Home decor can be a lot like that, in that we know there are some basic concepts that are generally accepted to be “good design.” We want to post pictures on Instagram of the amazingly decorated home we’ve created. We want visitors to feel comfortable, relaxed, and maybe a little jealous of our impeccable decorative eye. So on the one hand, we want to make sure we’re making design choices that “make sense” from a design perspective. But on the other hand, it’s our home, and our first concern is that we like it, that it’s comfortable for us, that it fits our needs. And while some people prefer to reflect interior design “best practices,” some prefer an unconventional approach.

So we ask ourselves the question: what interior design rules are important to follow? What rules should we bend? And what rules should we feel free to ignore?

Arearugs.com put together an interesting study on what people think about the rules of interior design: is it an art, a science or a whirlwind of random opinions? This statement really jumped out:

Perhaps most intriguingly, the degree to which respondents considered themselves to have an above- or below-average knowledge of interior design didn’t make them significantly more likely to choose the option which, according to most blogs and magazines, was correct.

In other words, it’s not about knowing or not knowing the rules. People like what they like! That doesn’t always coincide with the accepted best practices of interior design, and it’s not always driven by current trends in color or style.

Nonetheless, in many cases, “rules” are there for good reason. So knowing the basic interior design guidelines is a great way to start if you’re planning your own redecoration project. Here are a few links to get you started:

And of course, there are plenty of ideas on which rules are OK to break. You can embrace Bohemian chic and just ignore all of them. Or you can pick the recommendations worth embracing, and disregard the ones that don’t make sense for your style or space.

MyDomaine makes it really easy for us, including a list of rules along with how to break each one. So you can have the best of both worlds!

What interior design rules do you break? Which ones are carved in stone? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Join the discussion One Comment

  • Couldn’t agree more. I think you have to fully understand the rules of interior design before you should decide whether or not to break them. There’s a reason those rules exist, but they are just guidelines after all.

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