Home Décor Myths You Should Stop Believing
By Thiyashi Koththigoda
We all dabble in interior design and home décor, especially if we’re decorating our own space. So, for practice as widespread as this, there’s bound to be some misconceptions. From the notorious fallacy of never mixing and matching prints to the common habit of pushing furniture against walls, here are some interior design myths you should stop believing.
Small rooms should always be painted white
Lots of people think that a small room should ideally be painted to look bigger, usually with white, neutrals or any other light colour. But the fact remains that creating space may not even be a priority for certain homeowners. Even if the illusion of space is something you want, it can be achieved through darker colours without washing out the entire room with white. Interior designers maintain that the size, scale and placement of your furniture matter more than the wall colour when it comes to creating a spacious look. That’s why it’s important to pay more attention to the amount of furniture you have along with how each piece scales up against the other. Other factors like clutter can also affect the illusion of space in a room too. Therefore, an all-white painted look may not exactly be the foolproof solution for an airy-looking room.
Darker colours make a room look smaller
This myth is on the opposite end of the spectrum to the first one. While it is true that darker colours on your walls can create an enveloping look, it doesn’t necessarily make for a cramped feel. Darker hues can actually create a cosier and more sophisticated atmosphere. Contrary to popular belief, dark colours can create depth by creating the illusion of pushed-back walls. The key to getting this effect is by painting all your walls in one dark shade, thus unifying them to create dimension A dark paint job is especially doable if your room is illuminated with good natural light. If you happen to find that darker hues are too intimidating for an all-over paint job, you can find a compromise with lighter colours. Neutral walls with dark accent walls can create much more visual interest. After all, our eyes identify and recognise space based on the contrast between light and dark colours.
Never mix patterns, prints and metals
It may be tempting to just stick to one pattern or pick out only a certain metal finish but this could be a recipe for a visually stale space. Often, mixing and matching are what adds texture and dynamism to your living space. It’s understandable why people might want to avoid mixing since it seems like there’s a large margin of error that may result in a mismatched look. The key here is to coordinate different elements while maintaining a unifying feature between them. The most advisable is consistency in the colour palette. So, for example, you can mix florals and plaids if the colours harmonise with each other. This misconception also extends to mixing metals, even more so in fashion. For metals, the same principle of mixing and matching applies. You can combine metals that are warm like gold and copper or ones from the cool toned family-like silver and nickel. If the two tones are part of a unified aesthetic you can even mix from both of the families.
Everything in a room must match
What many interior decorators avoid vehemently is the practice of matching all the elements in your room, from the décor to the wall colours. Matchiness can create boring and monotonous spaces and will not likely add any visual interest for the viewer. Having different colours, styles and accessories add character and creates a layered look for your space. Usually, the biggest offender of this ‘matchy-matchy’ look is the furniture. Many people end up buying matching furniture sets that can actually contribute to a dull look. The belief that you must have matching furniture has always been widely perpetuated by furniture salesmen. This ensures that their customers will make a multi-piece purchase on their furniture items. The truth is that all pieces of furniture need not match. The key is to create balance and maintain scale with the different pieces of furniture. The same goes for décor pieces. Unique and distinct décor can make your room look vibrant and eclectic. The trick is to coordinate and complement with a unifying element for a cohesive look rather than trying to match. For example, you can have furniture and décor of different styles but keep it within the same colour palette.
The ceiling should always be left white
Paying a bit more attention to your ceiling could add some visual interest to the space. Even though the default is to paint it white, try to think of the ceiling as another wall. You can leave it white if you need an airier feel or if it matches the colour palette of the entire room. However, if your space is looking too empty, a dark colour can bring down the ceiling for a cosier feel. You can even paint it to match the colour palette of the rest of the room. Often, if the other walls are wildly different colours, the white ceiling may look unpleasantly stark. You can even go the extra mile and add things like wood beams and planks or create a dry wall texture.
You should only have one focal point in a room
Having just one focal point is a fine idea but it may restrict you from creating a visually dynamic space. Having multiple focal points in a room can add more visual interest to any space and they won’t necessarily create an overwhelming look. It’s easier if you think of it as giving each wall in the room a focal point. One wall could have an eye-catching window seat while the opposite wall could have a statement piece of art, for example. Smaller and secondary décor can also create little clusters that are present to grab the eye. The trick is to create a drywallmovement around the room and direct the eye to each of the focal points. This is what interior decorators utilise to create a sense of depth and richness to a space.
Furniture should be pushed up against the wall.
This is something that many of us would naturally do as it makes sense to have the furniture grounded against something. But there are drawbacks to this default choice. Often, this leaves an awkward space in the middle of the room. Furniture like sofas is often a centrepiece or focal point. Pushing them off to the edges can upset the balance of the room and make for not so optimal placement of the other furniture and décor. The best alternative is to have the furniture in the middle or even in a diagonal position. You could even do smaller groupings around the room. This will open up the room and create a more balanced look. Letting furniture ‘float’ is often the best way to determine the placement of furniture.