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10 Key Interior Design Rules That We Always Follow

By: Olivia Bae

August 28, 2017

Image via Elle Decoration


While design is ever-changing and trends come and go, there are key guidelines in the industry that hold true. So before you break away from the “rules” right away, learn what they are with an open mind. From measuring your home’s dimensions and figuring out a floor plan to avoiding clutter and disarray, here are 10 interior design rules we always follow.


Rule #1. Measure Your Domain

Before you buy that grand Chesterfield sofa and hefty coffee table, take measurements of your space. Without knowing the exact dimensions, you can end up acquiring furniture that’s either too large or small in proportion. You also don’t want to stuff your room so much that you aren’t able to roam freely. “Circulation measurements are huge for me. You need to be given enough space to actually move around,” says designer Stephanie Owens. Avoid turning your lovely den into a cramped college dorm room by measuring!

Rule #2. Start Simple

Home design marks the beginning of your relationship with your haven, so don’t rush into things. Take time to get to know your home. Examine the materials that make up the walls, ceiling, and floors. Learn about its history before decorating like there’s no tomorrow. When you do embark on your styling journey, start with a simple floor plan and central pieces. You can always add more glam after you’ve mastered the basic outline.

Rule #3. Form & Function 

Achieve both style and functionality in your home by using alluring multi-purpose pieces. “I think a space that ignores function, the people, and how they live will never truly be loved,” says designer Sharon Hargrove. Creating livable spaces is what makes a home feel personal.

Rule #4. Invest In Quality Furniture

While we do love our affordable decor shops, we also know that chasing after snazzy steals isn’t the most budget-friendly strategy in the long run. A cheap, third-rate bed frame will collapse in no time. So invest in one that’ll hold its ground for years to come.

Rule #5. Mix & Match Textures

Leather, crushed velvet, or rattan — the list goes on! Spruce up your space by mixing and matching textures. Pairing different materials together and finding the perfect match is all part of the fun. A home adorned in a variety of textures has depth.

Rule #6. Decorate Walls

Unless your walls are purposely bare, we recommend embellishing them to reflect your personality. Even adding just one statement artwork, mirror, or small tapestry can enliven your space and make it extraordinary. Don’t be afraid to be bold — your domain is solely yours to rule.

Rule #7. Symmetry
This modern yet rustic dining room has a large, textured area rug, chic pendant lighting, and a grand wooden dining table. The sheer curtains and white walls make this space bright and alluring.

Image via Amber Interiors

A carefully designed space with pristine symmetry is a classic. “I think that symmetry brings a sense of calmness and order to a room. After you have balance, you can then play around with angles and positioning,” says designer Lori Evans. Establishing symmetry first will give you a chance to see what new, creative changes you can implement next in your home.

Rule #8. Explore Mixing Styles
On the left, a colorful pouf on legs, bold abstract artwork, and contemporary coffee table stand out. The living room on the right exudes poise with its jewel tone walls, gold pendant lighting, purple area rug, and jade marble stool.

Images via Stone Textile

Just as you mix textures and unexpected colors, consider integrating different design styles into your space! Try reupholstering a vintage, traditional sofa with a modern colored fabric or add rustic accents to a contemporary living room. You’ll be delighted when your home transforms into an eclectic abode full of whimsy.

Rule #9. Layer Lighting

Elevate the ambiance of your home with layered lighting. A massive chandelier might give you all of the light that you need, but having just that will make your living space look flat. In addition to the main light fixture, add chic sconces or set an overarching floor lamp on top of your area rug.

Rule #10. Avoid Clutter

Last but definitely not least, keep your house clean and tidy. Install attractive storage options like cool floating shelves, bookcases, and decorative baskets. A polished and organized home is where great design truly shines.

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