Like fashion, interior design styles are both cyclical and constantly evolving. (Except it’s much less depressing seeing the model of your family’s old sofa in a vintage furniture shop than it is seeing a young person wearing a (19)90s “costume” for “retro” day at school.)
Anyway, there are a number of factors at play that determine the way we decorate our homes, including our budget, aesthetic preferences, and health concerns. Though some trends come and go, others have morphed into widely accepted conventions that many people don’t think to question—despite the fact that their original purposes may not longer be relevant.
Let’s take a look at a few examples of outdated interior design rules and myths that you can go ahead and ignore, according to Ruth Doherty at Homes & Gardens.
Small rooms must be painted white (or at least a light color)
The idea here is that you can trick yourself and guests into thinking that a tiny bedroom is actually a spacious suite if you paint the walls white (or another light shade). But interior designer Brianne Bishop has a different take.
“Dark paint does not make rooms smaller. I actually use this trick in the opposite way,” she tells Homes & Gardens. “By adding depth to a wall it creates an illusion of pushing the wall back and feeling larger.”
Every room should look like a department store display
Not only have furniture and home decor styles evolved over time, so has the way we shop for these items. Once upon a time, The Thing To Do was go to a dedicated furniture or department store and buy a matching set of furniture, and then decorate the rest of the room accordingly.
But this is your home we’re talking about, so furnish and decorate it in a way that makes you happy and comfortable. Even if things don’t traditionally match. “Mix it up a bit with complementary colors and bring in special pieces in a different style or vintage to bring interest to the room,” interior designer Mark Lavender tells Homes & Gardens. “A room does not have to be sterile.”
Never mix metals
There’s no reason why you need to pick one metal finish for all the furniture and fixtures in a room (or whole house) and stick with it. If all the standard fixtures in your rented apartment are some version of silver and you’re a fan of brass, get that brass midcentury-modern lamp you’ve had your eye on. Don’t allow the fact that silver hardware was the cheapest kind available when your building was constructed dictate the style of what is now (at least temporarily) your space.
Not only that, but mixing metal finishes can elevate what might otherwise be a boring, overly-finished look. “As long as you stay in the same family of cool versus warm, you can certainly mix metals and black goes with both warm and cool metals,” Bishop tells Homes & Gardens.