These interior design rules were made to be broken

5 years ago
2 minutes

You’ve just moved into your new off-the-plan apartment, and you’re excited to get started on styling. Before you consult the experts just remember – there are some wonderful tried and true interior design rules worth following, but in some cases, the rules are made to be broken. Here are some of the design concepts worth throwing to the wind.

Use a one-colour palette

While some spaces look great in multi-toned blue, we find that a living room with a maximum of three to four colours tends to look more striking. Not only does is it more visually appealing, but it also broadens the scope for you to be able to express your personality better.


A common theory is that opposite sides of the colour wheel are complementary. If you want to be really brave, start mixing up colours with patterns. Try mixing a cute vintage floral print couch with animal print cushions – it sounds crazy, but you might just love it.

Artwork should always be hung at eye level

While functional, hanging your paintings and portraits at eye level can get monotonous. How does this rule work if you’re grouping photos together or creating a gallery wall? And if your apartment has higher ceilings, following this rule can skew the proportions of your spaces.


We recommend the rule of thirds here – mentally separate the wall into thirds vertically, then position your artwork towards the top of the middle third. Alternatively, experiment with leaning a photo frame against the wall or a piece of furniture for a more relaxed aesthetic.

Match the finishes

Sure, the timber fixtures and fittings in your new home are gorgeous, and while it may be tempting to ensure furniture like your dining room table and side dressers all match, you can end up creating a one-dimensional feeling similar to that in a log cabin.


Mixing wood finishes with a dining room table with black chrome details or black shelves creates a layered look that will give your home depth. Even mix the materials in your furniture – try pairing a chrome-based table with gold-framed dining chairs. The point is to get comfortable mixing things up, and as long as you make it look intentional, you’ll be able to pull it off.

Stick to one style

Using one guiding style sounds like a logical way to design your home, but it can actually create a lifelessness in rooms.


Again, like with the other rules, don’t be afraid to mix it up. Love vintage Victorian styled bookcases and armoires but prefer bohemian styled couches? Go for it! Just make sure you aim for an 80/20 balance – 80 per cent of the room should match one style while reserving the last 20 per cent for the contrasting style. This way, the room will feel balanced and considered.

Read about how interior design can affect your mood here.