A reader recently wrote in and asked an important question when it comes to designing a space. Leah W. wondered whether some design rules were made to be broken and were there a few examples or illustrations for successfully breaking those rules?
I asked Courtney to tackle this topic, and he is back this month with his fabulous insight! Courtney asked a group of designers to look at issues that they encounter on a regular basis with their clients, and asked what are those design rules or commandments that are made to be broken?
Design Commandments Made to be Broken, by Courtney Lake
“When I was researching this article, I was reminded of the countless essays I wrote in high school where I used the definition of a word or phrase to introduce an idea. Strangely, using this clichéd approach makes sense when you are writing an article on breaking design rules. There are some deeply held beliefs that have engrained themselves within our design psyches. For better or worse, they prescribe how we have decorated our homes for decades. So when you “break” them, what exactly are you doing? Well according to Webster Dictionary you are breaking:
One of a set of explicit or understood regulations or principles governing conduct within a particular activity or sphere…..
Design rules give guidelines for how furniture, lighting and accessories should relate and interact within your home. But what if you “rocked the boat” as every good designer does, picking those which make sense for your space and tossing out the rest? Before you break these design rules, it’s best to understand why they are important.
A solid understanding of the principles of design is crucial if you want to break them successfully, so I asked four design experts their opinions on what design commandments should be tossed aside. They each gave insight on some old and new rules that we all should gleefully break to get the homes we want.
Design Commandment #1: Thou Shalt Not Place Large Furniture in a Small Room
Common sense tells us that if a space is small, we should scale the furniture to fit the room. Wrong! Design legend John Dickinson built a career out of placing out of scale furniture in rooms. A large bed can easily be placed into a small bedroom or a large couch in a small den. The tricks to bending this design commandment are placement and color. As long as the furniture doesn’t block the natural sightlines of the room and is within the same color palette, the furniture will read as a unified whole, tricking you into thinking the room is larger.