Over the years we’ve probably all learned some home decorating “rules”. Some of these are great guidelines that help you to create a creative living space, and others are just unnecessary limits on the showcasing of your personality. Here are some of the top decorating myths, debunked!

Breaking decorating rules


Myth #1

White walls make a space look larger.

Truth: Maybe. But they also make a space look boring! Other colors can be used to expand a space aside from white. Pale to medium cool colors such as blues and greens seem to recede from the eye, and are used very effectively in small rooms. Also consider that just because a room is small, doesn’t mean you always want to make it look large. How about going with the nature of the room, and create a warm, comforting space that wraps you in rich color? Try a deep red, sapphire blue or a grand gold. Another benefit to using rich, deep colors? In the evening hours, the walls seem to fade away, and actually make the room look larger and cozy at the same time.

Dark family room


Myth #2

Furniture looks best lining the walls.

Truth: Almost never. Home decorators need to spend some time experimenting with their furniture placement. After all, simply rearranging the furniture is the fastest way to a new and fresh look in a room. Try pulling the furniture away from the walls in conversational groupings. A loveseat set on the diagonal adds movement to a room, and frees up space behind the piece. Swap pieces with other rooms to find a new look, and don’t be afraid to use unusual combinations of furniture if they work for your home.

Family room decorating


Myth #3

Everything in my rooms should match.

Truth: Matching furniture sets, fabrics and even color schemes are thankfully no longer the “in” thing. Feel free to combine different styles and feelings in a room, as long as you keep a common thread running through the room. Repeat a color or pattern throughout the room for continuity, and keep the pieces at the same level of formality to guide you to success.

decorating rules to break


Myth #4

Don’t display personal or family photos in public spaces.

Truth: No house is a home without the people in it, and what better place to show off your loved ones than right where every visitor can share in your joy! Homes decorated without personal touches such as photos lack warmth and feel sterile…and that’s NOT the look or feel you want for your family and friends, and especially not for yourself!



Myth #5

To have an attractively decorated home, you must follow rules!

Truth: The only decorating rules are the ones you place upon yourself. Decorating your home should be about exploring your creativity and expressing yourself…not following some static decorating rules made up by some anonymous “expert”. Enjoy trying new things…the only danger in experimenting with home decorating is in how fast you might get hooked! Think of it this way, whatever you move, change or paint…it can be changed back. So don’t be afraid to decorate your home, even if you don’t know all the rules. (Cause they are just there to break, anyway!)

Remember, decorating guidelines are great tools, but they shouldn’t limit you. Dare to try things outside the boundaries, and see if they work for you. Experiment with different ideas, and the next time you hear one of these decorating myths, you’ll know the truth!

Image Credits: BHG, Pottery Barn, BHG, House Beautiful

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  1. Melissa January 21, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    Under Myth #4. Where can I find that sofa?

    1. Kathy Woodard February 8, 2014 at 4:32 pm

      I think it might be Pottery Barn.

    2. Dayna March 26, 2015 at 9:07 am

      I believe it’s from IKEA. The Ektorp sofa. You can find it here http://www.ikea.com › Home › Living room › Fabric sofas › Sofas

  2. MoniqueDC February 19, 2014 at 10:53 am

    thanks for these! The white wall myth is one of my least favorites. We are so afraid of color. Reminds me of the old IKEA ad about “be brave not beige” Cheers, M

  3. Patricia Noel July 25, 2014 at 6:11 am

    I need the slip covers. I boughtthe sofa and cchair @restoratiin hardware 12 years sgo.they no longer make the slip covers. I think the ones pictured may fit.let me know. Thanks.

    1. Kathy Woodard July 29, 2014 at 12:29 pm

      Im sorry Patricia, we have no idea on the slipcovers! Any readers out there that can help her find similar ones?

  4. Patricia Noel July 25, 2014 at 6:12 am

    Need theslip covers.

    1. stacy March 29, 2016 at 11:06 am

      For years, I have used a blanket and a sheet. The blanket helps the sheet stay in place on the couch/chair. I am able to use the pillow cases to the sheet sets for the throw pillows. It is so comfy!!!

  5. cheryl August 4, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    What color is the wall is Myth #1?

    1. Kathy Woodard August 29, 2014 at 10:55 am

      Its a BHG photo, I wish I knew!

  6. Kimberly January 4, 2015 at 6:17 am

    Great tips and reminders.

  7. Rave + View April 14, 2015 at 10:11 am

    I really agree with this post. Especially that I am going for the modern bohemian look for my house now, I also think that it’s time to break these myths re: house decorating styles.

  8. Jamie April 18, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    The very top picture — does anyone know where that wicker furniture is from?

  9. LZ Cathcart@ The Summery Umbrella June 26, 2015 at 9:18 am

    I absolutely LOVE your answer for myth #5! It drives me nuts when people follow the myth and not their own unique tastes. I’m of the mindset… if I like… then that’s all that matters ;)

  10. Debbi July 18, 2015 at 7:41 am

    I love the rebel in you. Rules…we don’t need no stinking rules. The author is so on point with this article.

  11. MRs B March 25, 2016 at 6:25 pm

    Slipcovers can be found in target


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