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9 So-Called Home Décor Rules That You Should Break

01/25/2017 01:55pm ET | Updated January 25, 2017
Courtesy of Kapito Muller

“‘Hang your art’—this is the silliest rule! We often prefer art leaning on a wall or layered on a console. It’s a little bohemian, and very chic.” —Alyssa Kapito and Vivian Muller, Kapito Muller

For interior-design novices, it can become easy to cling to perceived décor true-isms. All woods must be the same finish! The living room furniture must match! But according to interiors designers, there are many so-called rules that you should actually break. Below, seven such experts sound off. So get ready to mix your brass and chrome kitchen finishes, and embrace oversize lamps. The name of the game is to trust — and hone — your own eye. Focus on that, and you’ll be layering ikats on suzanis on leopard prints in no time.

1. “You don’t have to match your metals. Most of my clients think that if they have a chrome faucet they have to have chrome or silver cabinet hardware in their kitchen. But why be scared of mixing metals? I love pairing brass cabinet pulls with chrome sink fixtures and stainless steel appliances. Having chrome or stainless steel in a kitchen doesn’t mean that every metal in the room has to be chrome or stainless steel.” —Orlando Soria, West Coast creative director of Homepolish

2. “Another big one is that dressers are only for bedrooms. I love using dressers all over the house. They add great storage and a sense of comfort and practicality to any space.” —Orlando Soria, West Coast creative director of Homepolish

3. “ ‘Hang your art’—this is the silliest rule! We often prefer art leaning on a wall or layered on a console. It’s a little bohemian, and very chic.” —Alyssa Kapito and Vivian Muller, Kapito Muller Interiors

4. “The biggest rule to break is that you need everything to match, but juxtaposition is what makes interiors interesting! Mixing feminine with masculine, high and low, round and square — it makes the space special.” —Alexandra Kaehler, Alexandra Kaehler Design

5. “I don’t think proportion and scale necessarily have to dictate design. I believe that oversized furniture in a small space can potentially have an amazing effect. Even if a space calls for an apartment-sized sofa and living-room set-up, it can be really striking to have two large-scale arm chairs instead. Also, consider oversized lighting. A large fixture over a dining room table can truly look sculptural.” —Danielle Arps, Dani Arps

6. “We’re constantly told that art should be hung at, or right around, eye level. But sometimes breaking that rule with scale, size, and placement creates that little bit of irreverence that so often makes a room look special. Consider placing something small scale over a large bed, or even placing something over a doorway.” —Emily Henderson, Style by Emily Henderson

7. “People often think they can’t use bold paint colors for trim and moldings, but I love to see a room with a pop of color there. A way to do this without looking too wild is to pick one of the more vibrant colors being used throughout the room and use it as a complimentary tone for the trim. This way, it still ties into the rest of the room without looking random.” —Amanda Gorski, Gimme Shelter Designs

8. “I often break the rule that you’re supposed to group all the furniture around the fireplace. I think you can kind of ignore the fireplace and treat it mostly as decorative, since we hardly need them anymore for heat — or for spit-roasting a leg of lamb. You get a much better furniture plan if you push items back into the corners, rather than clustering everything in the center of the room. The fire still flickers and adds romance, but almost like snow falling outside, it’s just something pretty to look at. —Miles Redd, interior designer

9. “I don’t think you have to paint ceilings white — it’s such a boring look. And remember, the ceiling is after all simply the fourth dimension. Instead, try painting it pale blue, indigo, or with stripes.” —Miles Redd, interior designer

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