5 Bold Design Moves That Shouldn't Work, But Do (And Why)

5 Bold Design Moves That Shouldn't Work, But Do (And Why)

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Adrienne Breaux
Apr 25, 2015
(Image credit: My Domaine)

While there are certainly any number of design "rules" one can live by to ensure their home feels balanced, coordinated and lovely, there are plenty of times when you can do something a little different and have it work, even if seems like it shouldn't. We've got five bold design moves to try.

Mixing bold patterns on big surfaces

Bold, busy patterns, with strong outlines and graphic designs are the kind of thing to inject into our spaces to make them sophisticated and interesting. You'd think that sticking to just one bold pattern per room is enough, and that can be true.

But you can totally create wildly dramatic rooms when you mix bold patterns, especially when you mix bold patterns on big surfaces in a room, like on furniture, curtains, rugs and more. This example spotted via Domaine Home. Why does this room work? The three biggest patterns in this shot have similar scales, share the common color of white as the pattern and share colors that complement.

(Image credit: EST Magazine )

Not centering art

We're taught to line things up, measure them perfectly, find the center of whatever area we're hoping to fill with art. But there's more than one way to hang art. By intentionally choosing to forget about the mathematically perfect center location for a print or canvas and instead eyeballing a place where it might look nice (even if it's a little off-center), you're infusing instant interest into a space, avoiding the conventional.

This room's off-center art spotted in EST Magazine works because though the art isn't centered over the bed (like you might expect), it's creating a sweet bedside vignette with the corner of the bed and the nightstand.

(Image credit: Inside Out)

Replacing a furniture piece for something that works for you

So here's the deal: This is your home. And you should use it any darn way you want or need. That very well might mean replacing a typical furniture type expected to be in a certain room with something that you'll get more use out of, instead. So if you'd rather have a pile of floor pillows you can spread out for movie nights instead of a matching chair, go for it. If you find that a sofa bed plus a drafting table will make you use your guest room more creatively, go for that, too.

Why does this move almost always works, no matter if you go for a really unique arrangement of odd items? Because if it helps your home function better, it'll make the space feel better, too. The image above spotted on Inside Out.

Mixing different furniture styles

A massive mixing of furniture styles shouldn't seem to work — after all, they were designed in different eras with different concepts, materials, shapes and vibes — but go into any eclectic home not afraid to mix and match, and you'll find often that the rooms not only work, they vibrate with a great energy. Matching styles and eras is the easy way to have a home that naturally coordinates with itself. But it can also produce kind of sterile, not-very-interesting rooms, too. Mixing different furniture styles works by simply being exciting (but you can help them not look too confusing by following mix and match tips).

(Image credit: Inside Out)

Painting an odd shape of color on a wall

It shouldn't work, painting a splash of color on the wall or creating a colorful painted-on shape. It should look like someone forgot to finish painting or decided to test a really large swatch of color. But it does work, illustrated in this room we spotted on Inside Out, because when you try this neat wall painting trick (in whatever loose or strict design you choose), the whole wall becomes a piece of art, and can make a vignette or seating arrangement sing when coordinated.

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