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Decorating Ideas

4 Ways to Break Free of Interior Design Clichés

Irene Mann 18/09/2015

Just like there are rules for fashion, there are rules for interior design. Maxims like ‘match your cushions’, ‘set your furniture against a wall’, ‘keep living rooms neutral’ and ‘match your metals’ are all guidelines which have been faithfully followed by generations of design devotees. However, as the cliché goes rules are meant to be broken and that’s as true in the interior design world as it is everywhere else. Many of the most striking modern interiors break the cardinal decorating rooms to create something entirely new and unexpected. Here are four ways to embrace this rebellious design spirit and walk away from the classic interior decorating tropes.

1. Mismatch
There are plenty of matching maxims in the interior design rule book from throw pillows to beautifully crafted rugs to bedding, the list goes on and on. But more often than not, this obsession with matching results in rather dull, predictable interiors. Mismatching doesn’t mean your living room has to look like a dog’s breakfast, simply start with a neutral base like a grey sofa, white sheets, or natural timber finishes and then build from there choosing to add complementary or clashing colours where you wish.

2. Minimise
Many people work under the misapprehension that interior decorating means filling your home with lots of stuff and that there needs to be artwork on every wall, and trinkets on every shelf. Decorating like this tends to look either precious or cluttered and will date quickly. Get used to the idea of having only one or two focal pieces of artwork or furniture in a room and then designing the rest of the room to complement these.

3. Let the room speak for itself
Side tables, rugs and curtains can be a great way to draw a room together but they also often detract from the space’s architectural integrity. If you’ve got beautiful hardwood floors or elegant windows which offer a scenic view outdoors then let them become a design feature in your interior by keeping them free of coverings.

4. Make it colourful
Neutral colours have long held sway in the design world with many advising to paint your walls and buy large pieces of furniture in neutral colours to avoid regret and make it easy to change things up in future. But more often than not, these kinds of ‘play it safe’ neutral interiors are devoid of personality and not really reflective of the homeowner’s personality. Being brave with colour enables you to express yourself and create an interior you really love.


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