Decorating Myths Debunked

Decorating Myths Debunked

Tepilo explores the different ways to break the decorating rules.

Do you want dark colours in a small room? Perhaps you want to mix patterns? Well, what’s stopping you?


The Myth

A small room must be painted white to make it look bigger and brighter.

This is a hard and fast rule that makes sense as white or another pale shade, will inevitably brighten a room. But whether the room will look larger has less to do with the wall colour and more to do with the size and amount of furniture in the room and where you put it. You might want to make your small room feel warm, cosy and intimate after all welcoming and comfortable is never a bad thing!

How to make it work 

Using colours on the wall, in the bedding or in accessories will warm up your atmosphere in a small space. You should embrace small spaces and not be afraid of using dark colours or bright colours.

If you do decide on a rich colour, another trick to make a room appear larger is to add a golden framed mirror and pick accessories and furniture with gold work to contrast with your chosen dark colour. Doing this will allow the metallic accents to shine in the mirror, reflecting light around the room.

Alternatively, you could add pops of brightness to contrast with the darker shades – this will bring a primary- coloured fizz to the room that will add depth.

Dark wood and lighter coloured cushions and rugs places around your darker walls will also create that cosy niche you’re looking for.


The Myth

You must have a three-piece suite

A matching sofa and two arm chairs can seem a bit dated these days, but they are still the number one choice for most people when it comes to furnishing living rooms.

For many it’s simply a practical choice, but do you really need a sofa and two chairs? Would two smaller sofas be more useful?  Or do you need a sofa at all? Or would a variety of different chairs work better?

How to make it work

Doubling up on sofas, where you position one opposite the other, creates good symmetry. And because you will have fewer pieces of furniture in the room, it will make the space seem less cluttered – although you will still have the exact same number of seats. Even if you do go for the sofa and double armchair option, they don’t have to match. You could buy them in contrasting colours and styles to make a statement and add character. To take this even further you could add cushions in the colour of the opposite piece of furniture to link the two.

Or you could try a more casual approach by adding large beanbags instead of armchairs, or a huge floor cushion that can be tidied away when the guests have gone. Quirky groupings of mismatched furniture can really work if chosen carefully.


The Myth

Artwork needs to at eye level

It is supposed to be the best way to view artwork but with everyone not being the same height, this myth doesn’t work from the get go. Where you should hang artwork, all depends on what room you plan to hang it in. In a hallway, for example, where most people would be standing up, the centre of the artwork should hand between 152cm and 167cm from the floor.

If you’re hanging artwork in rooms where most people would be sitting, such as a dining or living room, you should hang it lower so that you don’t have to look up to view it.

But who is to say that you can’t have your art dotted where you like and where it works for you?

How to make it work

Think creatively on where you hang your artwork, a row of unframed canvases against a wall, leaning against the wall can look great! Or try perching one on top of a stack of vintage books. You can also create a gallery wall – this way you don’t need matching frames – in fact, having matching frames would look too uniform. Mix up the sizes of your frames and prints to add a personal touch to your home.


The Myth

Only use one pattern or print

While it is probably the easiest option to stick to one pattern in your interior design alongside plain walls, but it doesn’t leave much room for injecting your personality into the space.

Mixing prints or patterns will add texture and infuse life into your scheme. Stripes, checks and florals can all live together happily, but it does take a bit of thought to get it right.

How to make it work

The key to making this work is choosing the correct colour palette, just stick with one colour scheme and you can mix fabrics and patterns no problem!

Start with a favourite colour and theme such as blue and floral and looks for a pattern that incorporates the two. Then make the dominant colour in the pattern the dominant colour in the room by painting the walls in a similar shade.

Use your primary pattern on an item that will be noticed as soon as you walk through the door – for example, the largest sofa.


Now you’re ready to mix and match and break all the decorating rules!