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It’s always useful to have rules that help guide us in the right direction, especially when it comes to the design of our homes, but sometimes it’s OK to bend or even break a few rules. By turning things on their head, you’ll give your home an unexpected edge. Here are a few ideas.

Rule 1: Keep things symmetrical. 

Symmetry is an important design rule, and can help to create balance and harmony in a room. However, if you go overboard it can make a room feel a little bit too prim and proper. By bringing in a small amount of asymmetry you will help to create a more dynamic and interesting look.

How to break it –

The trick to getting this look right is to use asymmetry cleverly by still creating balance. For example, instead of having two sofas facing each other, replace one of the sofas with two armchairs. And rather than a lamp either side of your sofa, replace one of the lamps with a tall vase or a plant. Choose different items, but ones that have equal visual weight on either side.

Rule 2: Cluttering

In a tight area, we often think we need to maximise the space by using only small furniture. However, if you overfill a small room with small furniture it can feel a little cluttered.

How to break it –

By playing with scale and including some oversized pieces in your small space, you’ll make the room feel more comfortable and inviting. The key is to combine your large items with smaller ones, for example you could pair an oversized armchair with a slim and sleek sofa. Oversized lighting is also worth considering, such as a large pendant over a dining room table. It can create a beautiful sculptural feature.

Rule 3: Paint your wood white

It’s been the norm for a long time now to paint woodwork white, and in fact bright timber can look fantastic next to flat matt walls. However, that doesn’t mean white is the only shade to paint your skirting’s, cornices and window frames.

How to break it –

Painting woodwork in a dark shade is a great way to add drama to a space, and can make less expensive elements like balustrades or doors look much grander than they actually are.

Rule 4: Ceilings should be neutral

When we’re deciding on paint colours for a room, we usually just focus on the walls. Ceilings are often left out of the equation, with many of us leaving them white and neutral to work as a plain backdrop to the rest of the room. However, ceilings can, in fact, be a whole other surface to have fun with.

How to break it –

You often see period buildings with ceilings painted in a multitude of shades, so there’s absolutely no reason why you should stick with white if you don’t want to. Try painting your ceiling to match the walls – a dark shade will create a cocoon-like effect and make the space feel intimate and cosy, while a lighter shade will give a soothing effect. Alternatively, make a statement and choose a colour that completely contrasts with your walls.

Rule 5: Only use tiles in the bathroom

Tiles are the obvious choice for bathroom walls as they’re waterproof and easy to keep clean. However, you don’t have to limit your finishes to tiles in the bathroom.

How to break it –

Play around with different materials and think about whether a surface has to be completely waterproof if it’s not next to a shower or bath. Wallpaper can be a lovely way to create a more elegant feel, while something like glass can make your bathroom feel super slick and contemporary.

Rule 6: Don’t mix patterns

Most homeowners generally try to coordinate the textiles in a room and limit the patterns they use. However, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t experiment with different patterns. If it’s done right, it can bring a room to life.

How to break it –

The key to getting the right mix is to limit your colour palette to three shades and play with scale and geometry. Not only is this a great way to create impact, but it will also give your room a sense of style and individuality.

Rule 7: Paint small rooms in a light colour

People often think that by painting a small room in a light colour they’ll make it feel bigger. This isn’t always true and, in fact, depending on the amount of natural light the room has a pale colour might make it feel too cold. A north-facing room painted white, for example, will feel quite sterile.

How to break it –

If your room is small, try to embrace its size and aim to make it feel cosy. By painting the walls in a darker shade you won’t make the room feel smaller, but instead you’ll create an intimate and relaxing space.

Rule 8: Don’t mix old and new

Sometimes people shy away from introducing too many styles into their homes. This is particularly true if you have a period house that you might think should be filled with antiques, or a new-build home that only looks good with contemporary pieces. In fact, by mixing contemporary and antique styles you’ll give your home a more curated look and avoid that show home feel.

How to break it –

The best way to combine looks from different eras is to make sure you don’t overdo it. Harmony is what you should be aiming for, so try to have one common denominator like colour or pattern to tie everything together.

Piperhill Construction provide our clients and their professional team with design solutions, consultancy, surveys and advice along with all associated services required in working within existing buildings with demanding projects.

Piperhill Construction pride ourselves in being qualified and experienced to undertake all aspects of work; from new build, basement construction, refurbishment, through to fully integrated services and first class designer finishes. Whether working within design and build or traditional contracts, our unfailing aim is to meet all of our clients and their consultants requirements and to produce the highest quality finished project.

Please contact us on 0208 166 5607 if you wish to discuss a project.