Some Rules Were Made to be Broken


…But some were not.

While I pride myself on knowing the rules of decorating, often so I can break them, there are some from which I would never deviate. . . And neither should you! Below are some of the tried-and-true rules that we follow at Caroline Brackett Studio of Design. Hopefully these guidelines will keep you from making costly mistakes in your own home and make decorating a little more foolproof.

1. Every room needs a healthy amount of tension: rattan and lacquer, metal and wood, linen and velvet, old and new. Texture adds interest.

2. Window treatment hardware should be mounted as high as possible, typically right under the crown moulding and should break on the floor no more than 1”. This draws the eye up and makes
the space feel more grand.

3. You should have at least one antique or vintage piece in every room to give it added character and charm.

4. Rugs should fill up the space and not be too small. Typically 12” off the walls all the way around, and if you have a fireplace, custom cut-outs always look best.

5. Art should be hung so that the midpoint is 5’ off the floor, which is average eye level.

6. Buy the best upholstery you can afford. Don’t skimp on the sofa and chairs. Invest in comfort and quality here. Pillows, lamps, and accessories are easily rotated and replaced, but you want
upholstery that will last for years.

7. Chairs and sofas should be 15” from the coffee table. Enough space to pass between the two, but close enough to be able to put your drink down.

8. Side and bedside tables don’t have to match, but they should be within 2” in height of each other.

9. The height to the bottom of any chandelier or light fixture should clear 7’ so that a tall person can pass underneath it. The bottom of a chandelier over a dining table should be 36” off of the table top.

10. Always have several light sources in each room (hopefully not recessed). Chandeliers, sconces, table and floor lamps, etc. Lighting creates ambiance and you need options for elevating the mood of the room.

Take it from me, these rules are worth following. So no matter if you are starting from scratch or making a few small, but high-impact, changes to your home, rest assured that these guidelines will help you get it right every time!

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Caroline Brackett
Caroline Brackett is founder and principal at Caroline Brackett Studio of Design, a full-service interior design studio based in Greenville SC. A graduate of UGA School of Interior Design in 2001, Caroline has been in the industry for 16+ years, recently relocating from Charlotte, NC. With a fresh and sophisticated approach to design, Caroline is known for creating unique and comfortable spaces for her clients near and far. Learn more at​

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