Top 5 Golden Rules of Design and Decorating | Peter F Gibson

Here are some painting/decorating rules that we live by religiously.


Rule #1; “I don’t care how portable your laptop is, you can’t check your email when you’re moving a piano”.



  • If you have found that “eureka!!!” article - either on this site or another decorating/design website - please be kind to your laptop/ desktop and print out the instruction before you commence to lay brush to wall. In the first place, if you’re using a new technique you’ve learned from a website, you can easily destroy your laptop with paint spillage. In the second place, running back and forth from a desktop or laptop when you need quick reference takes valuable attention away from the task at hand, and can easily lead to glaring errors (and lots of paint droplets on the floor). If you can’t print out your new-found, brilliant painting technique, just shorthand the instructions to a real, live notepad and get cracking.


Rule #2; Most D.I.Y magazines and websites have very practical solutions to common decorating problems, without breaking your bank.



  • It’s easy to lose creativity and hit a brick wall when you are not standing outside the decorating picture - looking in. It’s almost an “I can’t see the forest from the trees” kinda thing. Sometimes just cruising through a D.I.Y or decorating site/magazine can lead to that one brilliant and cheap idea that will give your chosen room the “oomph” it needs. For example, let’s say you really dig the regal look of a slate marble wall. Instead of searching out some Bavarian marble slate and selling your car to pay for it, faux marble painting is easier than you may think. In fact I know one web site that can tell you how it’s done, for free. (Hint hint) At the least, trying to paint a faux marble wall first is a crap-load cheaper than buying the real thing, and at the most you’ll have something to brag about when people ask how you did it. (btw, do Bavarians even make marble slate?)


Rule #3; The most awe-inspiring room features do not necessarily cost $4 000 000 dollars and your first born child.



    You really should find a common color scheme in the room you are decorating, choosing a paint color that will blend those colors together while allowing your most striking room decor to … well… strike. As an example, if your interior living room is full of beige color with… say… burnt orange furniture, a lighter or darker yet complimentary color is always the good choice for your walls.
  • I often like to take the least visually stimulating color within the room, dial it forward or backward a shade (or two) and paint the walls with that color. Then I will take the most bold color from the room decor and paint one feature wall in a very slight variance of that color. Such a bold color can come from any item in the room - from a throw pillow to a wall painting. This technique offsets the room nicely and shows a consistent color scheme throughout. It’s a cheap and simple technique that can make your room look very expensive.


Rule #5; Less is usually more.



  • Need I say more? Ok, ok, I will. Everyone has a tendency to go overboard when decorating. While 1 fishbowl may be cute, 25 fishbowls in various sizes indicates a need for aggressive psychiatric treatment. Once you have things in order and think your room is the absolute pinnacle of decorating brilliance, take some things away and observe objectively. Does it still look amazing? The litmus test here is simple; if your room still looks great after you’ve removed a few items, leave those items as future decor replacements, and be comfortable knowing your guests will bow at your feet in worship of your keen decorating prowess. When you come to a point where removing an item makes your room look or feel incomplete, put it back where it belongs, because you’ve gone too far.


  • If you’ve spotted a set of ceramic Italian tiles that would be absolutely perfect for your kitchen counter, only to notice the $250.00 per tile sticker price, don’t have a breakdown and overdose on Prozac. There are many online resources for buying cheap ceramic tiles. If the tile design you had in mind is brilliant, I can almost guarantee you will find a strikingly similar design online, for a much cheaper cost. Check out here and/or here, for examples.



    • This rule applies to more than just tiles, marble slate, and/or painting. I once had a decorating dilemma that involved an interior living room study with earthy taupe walls and neutral tone furnishings. I came in like a tornado and turned the room into a brilliant study. Brilliant with the exception of one empty corner. I was stuck in need of a compelling piece of decor to complete the space. It needed something unique, something that would stand out without being overbearing. Something with texture and asymmetrical by design.

    • The owner suggested a marble bust of an infamous Roman dictator. (which was completely cost prohibitive!) Instead I decided to experiment with an idea. I ventured out to the backyard wooded area, scooped up 100 (or so) 5 foot tall, thin, fallen twigs. I then proceeded to wrap them together (12 at a time) using fabric I had leftover from the drapes. In the end I attached them all together at the bottom with a wide brass ring (the origins of which escape me), and placed the assembly in a $90.00, semi-huge, glass vase. Eureka!!! It tied the room together perfectly, it didn’t cost the owner an arm OR a leg, and the entire family was spared having to look at Julius frikin Caesar every morning.


    Rule #4; Proper wall color is one of the most vital characteristics of your room’s appeal (or lack thereof).



    • Wall color is as much personal preference as it is decorating technique. Having said that, some people’s personal preference is far more ridiculous than it is sublime.

      There are a few perfect books on the market for decorating your home on a budget, and some really informative manuals on interior house painting. These wonderful books explain in vast and grand detail what I am trying to highlight here within this article, and they’re a great value.


      There you have it. A few of the cardinal rules of decorating, interior living room style. Take these suggestions and your budget, whatever it may be, and get started!




      About the Author

      Peter Gibson is an interior design expert of 20 + years that regularly writes for Interior Living Room and Vintage Vinyl Records.
      He is a very accomplished author on the subject of interior design and an avid vintage vinyl collector. He has written for many publications and penned 2 best selling novels. His design works include the redesign of a popular New York recording studio, redesigns and upgrades of countless homes, and he renovates challenging older condo/ apartments as a part of his charity work abroad.

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