6 decorating commandments that were made to be broken

... Because rules are made to be broken

Rules are made to be broken, non? From mixing blue and green to playing against proportion, if you challenge the traditional diktats about colour, pattern, texture and you'll have a unique scheme that's individual, confident and anything but run of the mill. Here's how to break the key decorating commandments in style..

1. Blue and Green must not be seen

living room with printed walls and sofaset with cushions

(Image credit: David Brittain)

Phooey. They're apparently sworn enemies but have you tried them together? They can look stunning. They sit together perfectly well together in nature (think of a bright blue sky soaring above emerald green hills). The trick in your home is to break up blocks of colour with a panel of pattern incorporating both. This not only creates a focal point, but it unites the two shades beautifully.

2. Always work with your room's proportions

living room with blue sofaset and red floral printed walls

(Image credit: TBC)

Zoning your room doesn't have to be planned around the natural architectural lines of your room - the fireplace, cornicing, window frame and skirting. While a symmetrical room is classically easy on the eye, playing with your planes can also be surprisingly pleasing. Draw a line off centre, or wherever you fancy, and then position your key elements to work off that marker. Here, a bold wallpapepr defines a lounging area while the block of grey demarcates a work zone. The two areas are further identified by the change in direction of the carpet.

3. Never use black in a child's bedroom

living room with white walls and wooden shelves

(Image credit: Colin Poole)

Who says kids only like pastels? Pattern's where it's at for young eyes, and black and greys create a bold scheme as well as giving little ones a head start in the style stakes. Keep the room light by choosing woodwork, and add small touches of a bold colour for vibrancy.

4. Never clash bright colours

living room with floral printed wall and white staircase

(Image credit: Simon Bevan)

Confidence is key here. Go for a mad mix of florals and stripes in bold colours and you might just pull it off. Avoid primary colours which can take things too playschool, opting instead for more sophisticated tropical brights. If you've got it, flaunt it.

5. Bathrooms are best kept white

bathroom with wooden table and pink with blue tiled wall

(Image credit: Colin Poole)

Says who? Okay, white spells clean, crisp and hygienic but it can be so predictable. Bathrooms are often the most featureless rooms in the house, so they provide the perfect canvas for going a bit wild with colour and pattern. And they're the place where you often spend a bit of time, so why not indulge in your favourite colour?

6. Don't mix spots and stripes

bedroom with wooden flooring and yellow bed

(Image credit: Simon Bevan)

Again, this is a myth. Clashing pattern, colour and scale is a recipe for a big holy mess. But if you always repeat one element on everything – be it a colour (black is a great anchor) or scale, then you can, quite literally, go to town with everything else and the common ground will help them hang together nicely.

7. Never use red near a bed

bedroom with red and white bedding set and white walls

(Image credit: Simon Bevan)

Red gets a bad rep on the bedroom front, conjuring up images of tarts' boudoirs or murder scenes. Used discretely, however, it's energising and mood lifting. Avoid using all over, as that can be too oppressive. For a fresh take, used as an accent against white and suddenly the old girl looks modern!

Deputy Editor

Jennifer is the Deputy Editor (Digital) for Homes & Gardens online. Prior to her current position, she completed various short courses a KLC Design School, and wrote across sister brands Ideal Home, LivingEtc, 25 Beautiful Homes, Country Homes & Interiors, and Style at Home.