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Double Design Dare You: 10 Design Risks That Are Totally Worth Taking

By on Dec 28, 2015
Double Design Dare You: 10 Design Risks That Are Totally Worth Taking

“Create your own visual style…let it be unique for yourself and yet identifiable for others” – Orson Welles.

Why argue with Orson? Take his advice and ours with these 10 design risks to challenge your visual style. These tips will transform any interior space from follower to leader faster than you can say “Citizen Kane rocks.”

Little Black Wall

Dark colors can be intimidating, particularly if you’re considering them for interior walls. A black accent wall, however, can add a great graphic effect to any room, especially if you use it to feature artwork. If a black wall is too daunting at first, take baby steps and add little black accents throughout your space. Small things like black candlesticks, black artwork frames or black pillows can add bold pops to any interior.

Pattern Play

Pattern Play

Polka dots, stripes, florals; you don’t have to choose a favorite. Celebrate pattern by mixing and matching it throughout your space. Striped walls? Floral print with a polka dots? Yes, please!

“Ugly” Artwork

With a little love, even the “ugliest” art can find a home. If you find a work of art that you like – embroidered cat canvas? 80s graphic design post? Smiling monkey painting? – don’t stress about what others will think or where you will put it. Take the risk and think of it as a conversation piece. Hang it in a gallery wall for a dose of humor, reframe it with an ornate frame for a different look and trust that if you like it, you’ll enjoy it.

Plants as Décor

Okay, so not all of us have a green thumb. But, if you’re willing to take the extra care, using plants as a design tool can add a punch of natural beauty as well as health benefits (clean your air!). Try staggering a few on shelves or choose a corner to create a mini indoor garden. You can also do a row of hanging plants down an entryway utilizing simple, white ceramic planters for a fresh welcome home any day of the week.

One Fabric to Rule Them All

If it ain’t broke, why fix it? If you LOVE the fabric on your bedroom duvet cover, have fun with it and use it as curtains, fabric panels or on nearby side chairs. The matchy-matchy look can bring a refined symmetry to your space. Give it a try!

Hall of Mirrors

Hall of Mirrors

Versailles got it right. Take inspiration from its hall of mirrors and go grand on a wall or two in your home. Hanging a collection of mirrors will naturally accentuate the size of the room and also bring a nice play of light into the interior. Mirrors can be vintage or new or mixed. Don’t be afraid to cover the entire wall from ceiling to floor.

Unique Headboard

Choosing a bed frame is a tough decision. It’s a major focal point in your bedroom and the kind of furniture you usually hold onto for quite some time. Before ordering a designer set, consider buying only a base and repurposing other furniture to create a unique and show-stopping headboard. If you’re a fan of the vintage, scout estate sales and flea markets for beautiful doors and gates. They can be wooden or iron and they’ll create a romantic backdrop to your bed. If you’re low on storage, consider using a bookshelf as your headboard and stack it with odds and ends. Decorative screens – vintage or not – also make for creative headboards. Your sleep never felt so sweet!

Decorative Floors

If you’re a bit bored by your wooden floors, give them a fresh coat of paint. Ebony shades can create fantastically dramatic wooden floors, while white floors can brighten up the entire space. If you’re feeling extra daring, paint them a vibrant color such as robin’s egg blue or Kelly green.

Decoraitve Ceiling

Decorative Ceilings

If not the floors, what about the ceiling? A fresh coat of paint in a bold color can pump up the volume of your space. If you have molding or trim, we recommend leaving those white to emphasize the contrast. This can be especially striking if the molding surrounds a dramatic light fixture.

2 for 1 Combo

Before you buy a furniture set of one style, think about pairing unlikely but fabulous pieces. For an office, you may cherish a mid-century desk, but take a risk and pair it with another style of chair – a Victorian chair with plush velvet upholstery, for example, could add a touch of the ornate to the simplistic form of a mid-century desk. If you focus on mixing up traditional pairings – desk and chair, sofa and coffee table, dining table and chairs – you can add a controlled eclecticism to your style without overwhelming your space.


A design risk is definitely a risk worth taking. After all, the only way to develop a unique sense of personal style is to experiment! Try out a bright paint color. Mix prints, patterns, and fabrics. Re-purpose vintage and antique pieces in new, contemporary ways. No matter which design dare you choose to accept, we promise you won't be disappointed.

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