In this post: When you are new to decorating it helps to have some decorating rules to follow so that the process is easier and more successful!

Typical designers would like for you to think that decorating your home is impossible if you don’t have a design education, or even worse, those elusive style genes only they supposedly have. But I’m here to tell you that that is utter nonsense – and that there are no such genes! You simply need just a few decorating rules or guidelines to make decorating your home easier.

decorating rules

Decorating Rules I Follow 99% of the Time

Normally, I’m not much of a design rules follower. But these eight rules have merit and I follow them about 99% of the time when decorating. 


1. Plan your large elements first. Couches, chairs, beds, all need to be chosen before anything else. Accessories get chosen later.
2. Use repetition. Use more than one thing in an accent color or pattern. For example not one, but two or three plaid pillows. Two of the same side chair. A collection of similar candlesticks. Repetition works well in decor because it makes your choices seem more deliberate and well-planned.
3. Use odd numbers in groupings. Three, five or sometimes even seven of something adds interest and oddly enough (pun intended) balance.
4. Use a variety of textures. Burlap, shag, velvet, silk, cotton. This tip alone adds so much interest to a space. Think layering of texture.


1. Choose paint colour at the store. I know I have said this already. But the lighting there is so different than in your space. Always bring paint chips home. After you’ve narrowed your choices down to a couple, it is helpful to use sample paint pots and actually test the colors on your walls.
2. Have all your furniture line the walls. Boring! Try to angle at least one piece to add some interest. An occasional chair maybe? Or a table? Just one thing not parallel to a wall will add more interest to a room than you would imagine.
3. “Invest” in trends. Trends come and go. Don’t base your design on a trend. Buy and use classic pieces and then add a few trendy pieces that don’t cost a lot, like pillows or throws. That way you can change them out when a trend changes or when you tire of it.
4. Display every personal treasure you own. Unless you own very, very few. If necessary rotate them to keep it fresh. The key to a well-styled home is editing. I love many more pieces than I could possibly ever display well in my home. That means when I find a piece of art or accent piece I absolutely adore and can’t pass up, I either choose to get rid of (give away or donate) something else to make room for it or I put it into a rotation and pull it out when I’m craving a change.

So, 8 rules total. That’s not too bad, right?

These rules are sort of like having the lines in a coloring book. Once you get the hang of them you can “color outside the lines” all you like!

shannon sign off