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What are the “rules” anyway?

People ask me all the time, “What is the rule on __________?” and “Is it OK to___________?”  I typically respond that in Interior Design, there are no real rules…only guidelines to help your room look its best.


There are 3 Dos and Don’ts that I would suggest almost every time.


Go Bigger

The temptation, no matter how big your space, is to skimp on the scale of your furniture, art, rugs, etc.  While you don’t want to go overboard to the point where you can’t walk around your new sectional, putting lots of small pieces in a large room will only make the room look skimpy.  The eye should blend from one thing to another without having to jump around.

Go Brighter

Really take inventory of your lighting situation.  There are three basic lighting scenarios to consider in each room:  General (can lighting, ceiling fixtures, etc.), Ambient (lamps, uplights, recessed lighting, etc.) and Task (under-cabinet lighting, directional tracks, etc.)  Each one of these types should be in each room, and one might serve dual purpose with the use of dimmers or multi-watt bulbs.  Incorrect use of lighting can take even the best designed room and make it ho-hum.

Go Better

I understand budgets.  Really, I do.  There are a few things that are worth the extra bucks.  One is upholstered furniture.  I touched on this just a bit in a previous post, but you can get a lifetime of use out of a well-made sofa with high-quality materials.  Another area is in bedding.  I was a skeptic on this for years and have come into the light!  Splurge on high-end sheeting.  Invest in a great pillow.  At some point, try to introduce a down comforter with a duvet or nice pillow-topper.  The bedroom is your retreat and place to rejuvenate and without a good night’s sleep, you are operating on less than 100%.


Buy the Set

You’ve seen it in the Sunday ads.  Matching leather sofa, love seat, and lounge chair with two end tables and coffee table for the low, low price of $2,500.  The thought of this arrangement makes me shudder.  Too much a good thing (in this case, leather furniture) is just too much.  The same applies to a 3-peice matching bedroom set.  I admit…I have this exact thing in my home and it’s the first thing to change on my list of home improvements.  Again, these sets aren’t wrong per say, but by putting together an eclectic room with different materials and even styles, you will have a much more interesting and dynamic space.

Keep Everything

Just because something is still in good-as-new condition doesn’t mean that the wallpaper you put up in 1982 should stay.  Unless it’s a family heirloom, antiques that actually make sense in the room, or you’re going for a retro vibe, updating is GOOD!  Change the drapes, for heaven’s sake!  It’s time, honey!

Over-Think It

Probably the biggest hinderance to updating a space, making changes to a floor plan, or even picking out a new dining room set is trying too hard.  This is where a professional designer can make a huge difference for you.  There are lots of options out there and it can be overwhelming to make a high dollar purchase.  Whether you’re selecting tile for a backsplash or just adding pillows, keep it down to a few basic determinants:  What’s you’re initial impression?  (Most of the time, your first impression is your best one.)  Does it fit with the objective of the space?  If I get it and end up hating it, is this something that’s too expensive to change down the road?

If you find yourself needing some help in working through some of these DO’s and DON’Ts, consider hiring a professional.  For a reasonable fee, even an hour of consultation time can help clarify where you want to go with your space, or help you realize that this is bigger than what you can do on your own.  Contact me for rates and to schedule your appointment!

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