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5 Home Decor Rules You Can Break with Impunity

Any designer worth their salt will tell you that arranging the perfect space is both an art and a science. But that doesn’t mean that designers don’t occasionally thumb their noses at the rules – those "musts" that often take all the credit for making a room great.

These designers might argue that it’s not the rules, but applying them correctly that makes a room a space you want to live in. And that includes knowing when to break them. Yes, that means that good design is a balance of knowing when to follow the rules and when not to.

Mixed Material Dining Room

Never Mix Metals or Woods

Breaking this rule can be hard for people to get their head around, but I promise, it’s okay. Shedding this dated mandate can turn a stiff, overly arranged aesthetic into an artfully arranged space. The trick is to make it look intentional. Gone is the advice your great aunt gave you about keeping your woods and metals consistent.

These days, design is all about mixing it up. For example, the base of the Decorage Contemporary Round Dining Table from Bernhardt features a hand-painted marble finish while the stunning wood top features a stainless steel inlaid border. The base and the tabletop don’t have to be the same. You are looking for a cohesive not cookie- cutter look.

Always Hang Artwork at Eye Level

Most people do tend to hang art too high, so it’s easy to see how this became a rule. And eye level is a pleasing height. You can easily see the art without craning your neck. It also keeps your art in close proximity to your furniture, rugs, lighting, etc, so everything in the room relates to each other.

However, if all your artwork is hanging at eye level, things can go really wrong, really fast. This rule is best suited for art that is about 30 inches tall and rooms with 8-9 foot ceilings. If you have bigger art or higher ceilings, this rule can make your art look like it is looming over your furniture. Instead, mentally divide your wall into thirds horizontally, and position the top of your art toward the top of the middle third of your wall.

Design Rules Break

Small Spaces Need Small Furniture

It’s true that jamming a small space with oversized furniture will not only fill up your space, it will also make it look much smaller than it is. That doesn’t mean you have to suffer through spindly chairs and scant seating to make the space look spacious.

Large-scale furniture works in a small space if it is part of a mix of smaller, space-saving pieces. Done right, your room will feel more spacious rather than smaller. Begin by prioritizing what is most important to you. A comfortable sofa that will accommodate guests? A king-size bed? Go big where it counts and use smaller pieces to get what you want most out of your space.

Choose a statement pieces like the Shadow Play Uptown King Faux Leather Upholstered Headboard by Lexington. Because it is only a headboard, it gives you the illusion of more space. Add bedside tables, wall mounted shelves, and hidden storage to keep it uncluttered.

Never Put the Back of the Sofa toward the Door

This rule is a rule for good reason: it keeps the space feeling welcoming and open. However, there are some sofa situations when you can creatively bend this rule. If you have a large or long room, you can use a sofa to define the space. In this instance, you can place the sofa with its back to the door and add a sofa table to make it seem more welcoming. You can add another sofa on the other side of the table, so that the sofas are back to back, and create intimate seating areas in a larger space. By breaking this rule, you break a large room into unique areas that can work together or individually.

Fake Plants Are Tacky

What do you think of first when someone says “fake plants?” Dust catchers? Eyesores? It doesn’t have to be that way. Artificial plants have come a long way. While visions of the fake ferns, ivy, and silk flowers of the ‘90s may come to mind, these days, you can find plenty of good-looking fake trees and plants. While the real deal may be preferable, if you have a brown thumb, you can find fake plants that are the opposite of tacky.

If you want to break the rules the right way in your home d?cor, contact one of our in- house design professionals. They’ll help you get the look you want with the style you crave.

If you are looking for more Florida-inspired decor, visit the Baer's Furniture store near you.

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