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We’re Breaking Rules

July 13, 2012

I subscribe to House Beautiful Magazine purely for visual’s not entirely my style, and almost everything in it is out of my price range…but it’s fun to look at for inspiration. Last months subscription featured “101 Designer Secrets”… basically everything you should and shouldn’t do in your home. Warning, if you are sensitive, love to follow rules, and try to do everything the “right way” you might not want to read this. Your mind will go crazy with everything you need to redo in your home to fall in-line with the “rules”.

Does anyone else read this magazine? These “rules” were helpful, entertaining, interesting, and wrong! Here are a handful of my favorite ones..some I make.. and a lot I break.

# 4. “The Hangup- Where to hang my artwork? I’ve found that 63″ on center above the floor is a perfect viewing height for more pieces”

#5. “When you’re hanging a series of pictures together, keep the gap between them 2″ to 2 1/2″ to really utilize the wall space, and keep a minimum of 9″ between the art and top of sofas and chairs.” [This is a good tip for a gallery wall of photos or mirrors as in the photo below]

#9. “When framing artwork that requires a mat, specify [or DIY] a mat with 8-ply thickness the increased depth of the resulting bevel can make anything look important.”

#13. “A bed should be 23″ off the floor, no higher.”

#17. “Stop at 6 pillows on a bed. 2 extra long pillows, 2 European squares, and if you want, 2 more European squares but those Pekingese-size pillows all over the bed are vulgar. And you have so much to throw on the floor when you get into bed” [See where I talked about my DIY throw pillow projects here]

#19. “Never use a sconce in a bathroom – It will cast unflattering shadows across the face. [That’s why we flipped ours in the “wrong” direction and allows the light to bounce off the ceiling]

#20. Keep a minimum of of 15″ between coffee tables and sofas.” [hmmm.. ours is kept at an exact distance of, how far away is my plate on the table so i can still shovel food in my mouth while watching the Bachelor]

#23. When it comes to bookcases, stick to books. Nothing is more visually chaotic than 46 shelves of random stuff.” [I beg to differ on this one]

#29. Dining room chandeliers should hang 60″ – 66″ above the floor.” [Eh, who measures, if you don’t hit your head on it, then your good!]


#47. “Don’t ever put a round dining table in a long, skinny rectangular room, and vise versa – never a rectangular dining table in a square room. Just don’t.”

#49. “My favorite trick is to paint the interior of an ordinary black paper lampshade either shocking pink or red, so that it acts like a vermillion lining in an overcoat. It instantly makes the light rosy and glowing.” [<< I want to try this!]

#54. “Once you’ve used a fabric in a room, never use it anywhere else in the house. Do not match your fabrics! Do not let your fabrics make your room look too decorator-y.”



“Do I love it, does it enhance my life, and can I live without it?”<< I love that – Definitely something I’m going to try and say over and over!

#56. “It is my firm belief that upper cabinets are just not useful and actually impede the easy use of a kitchen. I therefore strongly advocate replacing them with simple open shelving.”

{image via}

#80: “Rugs: The bigger the better. Nothing shrinks a room faster than a tiny postage stamp at the seating area. Best rule of thumb: Keep 12″ of wood showing around the perimeter.” [TIP >> Sew 3 woven rugs to create a giant area rug!]


#84: “A dining room rug should extend a minimum of 3′ from the edge of a dining table – dining chairs should always be fully on the rug – nto two legs on and two off.”


#89: “Use wall paper in unexpected places: on the ceiling in a paneled room, in closets, hallways, and small foyers. A great pattern or texture in small spaces can be a prodigious twist!” [A few amazing wallpaper accents below]





#94: “When doing curtains or shades, take them all the way up to the ceiling – It will increase the height of the room.”



#101: Hang curtains. They make a room seem finished. Think of them as the lipstick of decorating. [Check out my DIY striped curtains here]

I could go on and on with more “rules”, but what about you. What are your favorite decorating rules to make or break?

Happy Friday, Friends – Have a great weekend.


3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 16, 2012 8:41 am

    I love the kitchen shelf idea but I have way more stuff in my cabinets than they are displaying on those shelves. I don’t love curtains no matter how they are hung. I am breaking the too small rug in the living room rule and have been thinking about biting the bullet and getting a bigger one. I found this post very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  2. July 25, 2012 8:06 am

    LOL’d at your coffee table spacing! I went more to fit the room, so now if I want to eat an actual plate of food (something I can’t balance on my lap), I’m stuck sitting on the floor! 🙂


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