7 Room Layout Rules Totally Worth Breaking in 2020

published Jan 2, 2020
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Credit: Cathy Pyle

The phrase “New decade, new design rules” should totally be a thing, right? Why not embrace the start of a new year and veer a bit off the beaten path when it comes to the design scheme of your home and furniture placement in your rooms? Here are seven layout rules that you can feel empowered to break starting today without feeling the least bit guilty, at least from a decorating perspective. Because if something works for your lifestyle, makes you happy, and looks as good as these inspirational images below, then who cares what anyone else thinks? Here are are favorite room rules to break.

Create a Dining Area Near Your TV

If you were banned from eating meals in front of the television as a child, this setup may seem a little shocking to you. But in a small space, having a separate dining room generally isn’t the norm. In that case, know that it’s more than okay to carve out an eating area of your own, complete with a gorgeous chandelier over the table, even if said setup encroaches on what you’d consider your living room proper—and the TV is in full view. Simply use separate rugs to help define one space from the other, as seen in this London flat. And consider a compact round dining table, too, which disrupts the flow of the rest of the space less than a table with sharp angles and corners will.

Place Your Bed in Front of a Window

This is an idea that I’ve always personally wanted to try: Putting a bed in front of a big window or set of windows. Well, 2020 just might be my year. Because while laying out a bedroom this way isn’t exactly common or really in accordance with the principles of feng shui, it can look extremely beautiful when done well, as seen in the California bedroom pictured above. Sure, the bay window makes this solution much more visually striking. But if this type of set up is the only thing that will work in your room, or you’re bored with your current layout and want to shake things up, you should totally break this unwritten rule. The only thing to keep in mind is that lower bed frames and smaller headboards will work better for this configuration, since you still want to get as much natural light as possible in your room during the day.

Credit: Ryan Hicks

Use a Desk or Vanity Next to Your Bed

Struggling to find space in your bedroom for both a work (or beauty!) station and a nightstand? Try placing a small desk or tiny vanity on one side of your bed, which will give you the best of both worlds. I personally did this in one of my past apartments, pictured above, and it was a total game changer! The surface is still an entirely functional spot to place an alarm clock or a glass of water at night, but it will also allow you to work from home or get ready for your day in a more space-efficient manner. Don’t worry about storing a big bulky chair next to your bed either. You can find a small stool or pouf to tuck under the desk’s drawers, and all the better if your seating is fully collapsible.

Layer Your Tables

Who says benches or storage bins are the only thing you can slide under a console table? Interior designer and HausMatter blogger Katherine Thewlis demonstrates that a smaller table, like this card catalog style cabinet, can look gorgeous when positioned under a larger, open table. This kind of setup is a great way to combine different furniture styles, colors, and textures while maximizing your square footage and storage space. You can also layer a coffee table and an ottoman this way, too. The lesson here: Don’t be afraid to put smaller pieces under larger ones, whether they serve similar decorative purposes or not.

Roll Out an Accent Rug at a Funky Angle

Often when we layer rugs, we place one smaller design atop a larger one, dutifully centering the smaller piece. Well, it’s time we start experimenting with different angles and orientations! Because in this small NYC apartment, the artfully positioned accent rug is what totally stands out, drawing the eye along a diagonal to add visual intrigue to the room’s design. The more we’re open to mixing up our rug arrangements, the more possibilities we’ll have for truly unique looking rooms in the long run. And if you’re shopping for a rug, consider something that’s irregularly shaped or look for a round rug, which is less expected than a rectangular one and can introduce some curves to a space that’s otherwise full of clean lines.

Credit: Lauren Bown

Use a Shelf as a Nightstand

Just as we’re fans of placing a desk next to a bed, a tall shelf can work wonders, too. Blogger Lauren Bown’s setup here provides much more storage than a typical nightstand would and looks super chic when styled out with a sweet house plant and a funky lamp. If you’re a major bookworm, this would be a great solution for storing and keeping track of your favorite reads as well.

Place a Piece in an Unconventional Spot

While we most commonly find nightstand and sconce pairings directly beside the bed, we can definitely get behind Gold A La Mode blogger Cara Irwin‘s unique setup, which involves placing a small table across the room, opposite her bed. The surface is styled elegantly and makes a statement in a small corner. On the whole, moving a “nightstand” to an unconventional spot proves that if you’re short on square footage, a little creativity can go a long way.

Are there any other layout rules you can’t wait to break this year? Let us know in the comments.