My philosophy around design is that you should focus on surrounding yourself with the things (and people) you love. Your home should be a place that makes you feel safe, comfortable and nurtured. When approaching a design project for my clients, I do not focus so much on any particular “rules.” Instead, I focus on what will make my client and her family feel their best in their space. With this in mind, here are five ways that breaking “design rules” can help make your home, well, yours…

  1. If you love it, it will work: Often, I have clients hesitantly show me a family heirloom or gift or collectable that they simply adore but think may not work with an updated décor. My first reaction is always “We’ll make it work.” If you absolutely love something, there is always a way to make it fit. A well designed home does not necessarily adhere to one design style, it can be a more eclectic mix of items. That one piece could also be the unique touch, the conversation piece that makes the design truly pop.
  1. Yes, you can mix metals: It’s okay to mix nickel with antique brass and bronze within the same space. It can add interest and personality to a space that may otherwise fall flat or look stale with all the same metals. Don’t be afraid to have bronze cabinet pulls with stainless steel appliances or to have a brass chandelier with brushed nickel accessories.
  1. It’s also okay to mix wood tones: I often have clients who only want espresso wood or who want all of their wood tones to be dark or light. However, just as with mixing metals, mixing woods can add so much interest and depth to a space. Don’t be afraid to have a light wood console table in the same space with espresso built-ins or to mix the wood tones on the same built-in, for that matter. It can create a rich, customized look.
  1. Your design must match the architecture of your home: One of the biggest design fears clients come to us with is contrasting the architectural style of their home. I will tell you with confidence that it is absolutely okay to break this rule. I’ve done countless traditional style homes with contemporary or modern interior design with great success. It can be such a rich juxtaposition to have a modern chandelier and artwork against a traditional crown molding detail.
  1. Small space means small scale or style: Just because a space is small doesn’t mean that all the furnishings in it should be small as well. Quite the contrary, if your space is tight, consider fewer, larger pieces. This can actually help the space look and function like a larger space. Also, just because it’s small doesn’t mean it wouldn’t benefit from a dark rich color. It is a myth that dark paint makes a space look small. In certain instances, it can actually give depth to a small space, making it feel more spacious.