Go ahead, break the rules of decorating

How many times have you heard so-called design experts say, "Don’t plan your décor around anything
but the rug," or "Don’t use light colors if you have young children or pets?" or any
other such "don’ts?"
"Sometimes these rules are helpful," said designer Sally Morse, Director of Creative Services
at window fashions leader Hunter Douglas.
"But often you’d do better heeding Pablo Picasso’s advice: ‘Learn the rules like a pro so you can
break them like an artist.’  All it takes is a little courage, and remembering that most anything can be
Following are some rules you can break with confidence:
Decorate from the ground up
It’s easy to see why so many think rugs are the best place to start when figuring out a room’s décor.
They warm up a space, anchor a room, express your design personality and tie together the entire
decorating scheme. But there are other equally appropriate places to begin.
If you have a large-scale painting that really "sings" to you, emotionally as well as
aesthetically, start there.
Work your color scheme around it, and choose furnishings that play it up, either reflecting it or
You can also design a room around a collection, such as Delft pottery or contemporary art glass. Arrange
the plates, vases, candlesticks and all on open shelves, and then capture their varying colors with the
upholstery and perhaps a patterned rug. The key is to choose what is most important to you and go from
there. Remember, there are many designers who say,
"If you love it, you can make it work."
White’s not right for kids or pets
Morse disagrees with this, saying, "There couldn’t be a better color for a family’s furniture than
white, if it’s done correctly. Have slipcovers made of durable, machine-washable denim or canvas – make
sure it’s bleach-safe – and designed with zippers so they fit  as snugly as upholstery but can be easily
removed for cleaning."
Not only do they stay clean, but white provides the perfect background for colorful artwork, fine pieces
or the kids’, and works well with nearly any style furniture and architecture.
Artwork at eye level only
One of the biggest mistakes anyone can make is to hang paintings and photography too high or too low.
The rule of thumb is to place it at eye level or the mean height for all the adults in the house. But at
times, this rule can be broken to beautiful effect.
Small pieces can be massed together on a wall in such a fashion that the entire assemblage transcends
into one extravagant pattern and the beauty is more in the overall spectacle than individual pieces.
Another time eye level needn’t be taken into consideration is when a huge piece is placed on a small
Better than wallpaper – it can easily be changed – and much more interesting, it needs only to be
centered taking any furniture below into consideration.
"There are so many other great rules to be broken," Morse said, "and fall is a wonderful
time to do it when change is in the air and fixing up our homes is on our minds. So listen to the
experts. Then make their advice work for you in your own unique way. You might be happily