Rules are made to be broken


Ever since we are born rules are imposed upon us; don’t touch that, don’t talk in class, don’t run in the corridor, don’t cross the road without looking both ways (ok I’ll grant you that the last one makes sense). Wouldn’t it be nice just once or twice to look at these rules and say “thanks but no thanks, I’m going to do it my way!”.


As a designer, people often ask me what the ‘rules’ of interior design are. Even worse they quote rules to anyone who will listen like they were one of the ten commandments; the breaking of which would presumably see you cast down into the fiery pits of interior design hell where Paisley patterned wallpaper and lava lamps still reign supreme.


Yes of course there are certain elements and principles which most designers would apply to all of their designs, however there are also rules that you do not need to apply and some that you should actively avoid. Life is so much better and more fulfilling when you break away from the pack and go your own way. So here are my ‘rules’ that are there to be broken:


Kim Hersov's London Bedroom. Photographed by Simon Upton for Elle Decor

Keep walls neutral


Think about it, how many coloured walls do you have in your home? If the answer is none then it is time to get your paintbrush and your roller out and get inspired. Paint is the most inexpensive way to be bold and add some pizzazz to any room. Nobody feels at home in a boring, beige office lobby or dentists waiting room so why on earth would you apply that same styling to your home. So, add some colour to those walls and feel your spirits lift every time you walk into your home.



Heather Nette King's Armadale living room

Dark walls make a room look smaller


This one kills me as I love a dramatic room. I think this rule comes from remembering the bedroom of that one friend at school whose parents mistakenly let them decorate their own bedroom just at the time they became a Goth. As a result, everything in their room was black, it smelt of body odour and incense sticks and the whole room had a kind of dungeony feel. Or maybe that was just my friends!


The world has moved on from those dark times, for example I just recently painted our tiny little powder room/laundry a deep charcoal grey and the first comment I get from anyone who sees it is how much bigger the room now feels. It also looks a lot classier if I do say so myself! I will write an update once we finish the mini-refurb.



Dining room via Leeder Interiors

Matchy matchy


No, no, no, no, no. Please, I am pleading with you, don’t buy all your furniture in one colour or pattern. Adding some different tones and textures to your room will make it feel homelier and a place you want to spend time in. It makes perfect sense for Ibis to have all of their hotel rooms in neutral colours. It makes no sense at all for you to do the same.


You want your place to reflect you and your household so add some personality. I am a big believer that the best décor takes time and should display things that bring you joy.


Have I convinced you to be a rebel with me and thrown that rule book out of the window? Why not experiment with colours and textures and test a few new ideas out yourselves and let me know how you go. What you end up with might not be my style and it might not be your next-door neighbours, but it will be yours and that’s what counts.


If you want to know more about design elements and how to apply them to your house or anything else, please comment below


Tanya x

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