Interior Design: Vogue Living's 9 rules

Vogue.com has a Living Section, in addition to fashion, beauty, culture and runway.  I enjoy perusing this area and I also like the idea that “living” which encompasses a lot of interior design is considered a part of the vogue story so to speak.  As in, interior design fits in with fashion, beauty etc.  This is how I feel and its clear it's how the magazine feels and indeed has felt for a long time, as they have always included beautiful interiors as part of their oeuvre.

The other day I came across an article called “9 home decor choices you’ll probably regret.” Generally speaking, I don't really like these kind of articles.  I feel that with interiors like fashion, like art, there are not really mistakes.  And I don't really like “rules” either.  Wherever there are rules, there are ways to successfully break them.  I just don't like the word “never”.  Interior Rules are like Fashion Rules, for example don't wear black with brown.  Well have you ever seen someone in head to toe black wearing chestnut brown givenchy boots?  They look amazing.  The rule is there are no rules, thank you Iris Apfel!  There are guidelines, and that is what they are, ways to guide, but not rules to inhibit. 

So I read the article and have copied it here, and I thought we could point by point discuss these “rules.”  My thoughts are in bold:

9 Home Decor Choices you'll probably regret.

While we all want our living spaces to be things of beauty, home decorating, more than any other aspect of personal style, is an area where practicality is a considerable factor. After all, your choices need to work for, not against, you, as you live with them every day. The siren song of cutting costs and going long on new trends can be strong, yet it can also lead to some serious regret. But knowing what mistakes to look out for can make the purchasing process much easier. Here, nine tempting choices for the home that have a proven track record of buyer’s remorse.

1. Pure White Seating

We certainly understand the appeal of white upholstery—it’s clean, crisp, and provides a fresh blank canvas to decorate around. But even if one vows to keep the living room shoe-, food-, and drink-free (read: not really live in it), sofas are perhaps the most well-trafficked item in a home, and even minimal daily wear will imbue it with a dingy tint. If you insist upon going this route, a slipcover will be your best friend.

-So yes and no on this one.  I definitely have come across all white interiors which were described as family friendly, which inevitably made me laugh.  It's not very family friendly if your child can’t play in the living room, and you cant put your feet up!  I definitely agree in that regard.  However, durable fabrics in linen and cotton in white can be great.  And they are correct, a slipcover is wonderful.  Also, for that cottage-y vibe, putting a lovely quilt on a sofa is another great way to protect it.  The thing about white, is that it is indeed like a canvas.  You can change up the decor by changing the pillows.  

If you buy a green sofa, which by the way is fantastic, then your sofa is green and there is no way around that.  So a white slipcovered sofa is a nice way to go if you want to change things up with the season and don’t want to commit to a specific color scheme right off the bat.

This is a white sofa!!!! (in a living room design I did) But it's great.  It is slipcovered and it provides a blank canvas.  It is also super comfortable.  

2. Sharp-Edged Tables

If you have little ones running around (or might one day soon), that beautiful glass or brass-edged coffee table can prove quite the safety hazard. And those sharp corners can nab even the most graceful adult passersby. This doesn’t mean upholstered ottomans and round tables are the only way to go, but before you buy, test the table—if you graze the corner and immediately wonder if you might have a light flesh wound, move on.

-Totally agree with this!!!! And it is not just about children, who are either currently there or may be in the future.  I can not tell you how many times I have hit my shins on a sharp edged wooden bed frame I used to have.  Once I couldn't take it any more, I got a base with legs, and the mattress went on top for completely edge free living.  Yes yes and more yes! Hard edges suck!!!

3. Ambitious DIYs

Major DIYs (think refinishing cabinetry or reupholstering that wingback chair) may seem fun and feasible when you see them on HGTV or Pinterest, but unless you are a serious weekend warrior, it’s often best to leave these projects to the pros. Even small errors will often get more pronounced with wear and tear (and will most likely bug you each time you look at it). Save yourself the hassle, and get it done properly.

-Agree and disagree.  Choose the project wisely, go about it slowly, you might surprise yourself.  Just be smart and know that you may totally mess it up.  If that's okay, then have fun!

4. Marble Countertops

While absolutely gorgeous when it’s in mint condition, marble (especially Pinterest-beloved Carrara) is softer, more porous, and more prone to nicks and discoloration than other materials like granite or quartz. If you cook a lot, or if you don’t want to worry about putting a coaster down every time someone has a glass of red wine, opt for a more durable material. If you need a hit of marble, consider only using it on your kitchen island or as the backsplash.

-Again agreed. Having to be precious all of the time, especially if you like to cook is exhausting!

5. Busy Wallpaper

Think of the loudest print in your wardrobe. Would you want to wear it every day? The same rule applies to wallpaper. A bold swath of wallpaper in a prominent space like a living room is not terribly versatile, and odds are you’ll tire of the pattern more quickly than a simple coat of paint (not to mention, wallpaper is much trickier to swap out). If you’re really keen on the idea, use that flamboyant paper to pepper small, inconspicuous spaces like a powder room or walk-in closet.

-This goes yes and no.  I mean toile de jouy is technically “busy” but wall to wall toile wallpaper is one of my favorite things in decorating!  I think it depends on the room, the house, the person. You may never tire of the wallpaper you chose.  However, I do agree a little can go a long way, I have used busy wallpaper in small ways to great effect.  

I completely agree on the paint statement.  It is absolutely true that it is much easier to change your paint color.  I am a huge proponent of paint.  It is the most powerful tool we have as decorators and whats more, the most economical.

Here I employed "busy" wallpaper in a small way by using it as the backdrop for the bed.

6. Shag and Long Pile Rugs

Cozy flokati rugs are both retro-chic and a bare foot’s best friend. However, they are also prone to shedding, difficult to clean, don’t age terribly well (hello, matted fibers), and the material is conducive to trapping dust, dirt, and everything in between.

-Again yes.  I have seen long pile rugs in photos of posh interiors, and yes they look incredible.  But to have one under the dining table, which I have seen, is the height of decadence, but also nutsiness.  I mean it's not just three year olds who drop things at dinner!  If you have the means to buy a new one every year, fine, go ahead.  Otherwise, forget it.

7. Anything Trendy and Expensive

Simply put, outfitting your home entirely in trends is a surefire way to make it look dated. Play with trends, but keep them to small, more affordable accents that can easily be swapped in and out. Let the memory of chevron overload be a lesson to us all.

-Certainly timeless is the way to go.  And I agree, if playing with a trend, do so in an affordable way (which by the way, can include paint!) 

8. Uncomfortable Dining Chairs

This may seem obvious, but give your dining chairs the sit test before you decide to buy. And don’t just sit straight-backed, feet on the floor (because who really sits like that?); recline, slouch, cross your legs, and really make sure your guests will be comfortable enough to linger after a long meal.

-Totally, and that goes for all modes of seating.

9. Bare Windows

While we can appreciate the appeal from both a monetary and luminary perspective, the thing about UV rays is that they are powerful—powerful enough to turn your favorite upholstery 50 shades of sepia. Plus, bare windows will most likely leave you with the sneaking suspicion that your decorating work is unfinished.

-Yes.  Although the minimal look is cool, you need some sort of window treatment.  In college I learned about a study of people living in those wall to wall glass homes, and no surprise, they were all super paranoid.  You don't have to smoke a bowl to become paranoid that you are being watched when all of your windows are open.  I mean hello!!!!  As with everything, balance.  If you are a minimalist, then thin linen drapes that let in a maximum of light and also afford a veiled view are a great way to go.  

I used minimal window treatment here, which is unimposing, but still affords privacy.

So all in all, I’d say that this was a great article.  I still contend that rules are meant to be broken, and never say never.  However, guiding principles are always a nice thing. As always, experiment, play, have fun and don't be afraid. 

What do you think?  Do you follow any rules in dressing or decorating?

xo, Ginevra