10 Interior Design Risks Worth Taking, According to the Experts

Taking a risk with your outfit is relatively easy to swallow considering that, at the end of the day, you can take the whole thing off without much fanfare or cost. Taking a risk with your home, however, is a higher-stakes operation. If you decide to paint your entire kitchen fuchsia and end up hating it, retreating to the safety of taupe will likely take time and money. Ditto for getting rid of the velvet sectional couch you purchased on a whim during West Elm’s holiday sale.

On the flip side, some interior design risks end up paying for themselves, like the metallic headboard you found discarded on a sidewalk that unexpectedly transformed your entire bedroom, or the old-school tiles in your bathroom that you salvaged without realizing they would perfectly match the unused shower curtain your mom has been trying to pawn off since 1997.

It’s hard to know what decorating risks are worth taking and which ones are better left to your secret Pinterest board. In honor of Risk Month on Man Repeller, I enlisted the help of Homepolish designers Joy Moyler and Michelle Dokey for expert advice. Below, 10 unexpected design risks that are less risky than cliff-jumping and far more fun to look at (in other words, totally worth it).

1. Paint your window frames

“Why stick with standard black window frames?” said Moyler. “Paint them red, orange, periwinkle blue — whatever makes you happy.”

2. Tent your ceiling

“Tenting is a great way to create drama, especially when you don’t have very high ceilings,” said Moyler. You can do it yourself for not much money — here’s a tutorial.

3. Get weird with coffee

“Mixing coffee grounds into plaster gives your walls a Romanesque look,” said Moyler. “The texture also casts subtle shadows throughout the day as the light changes.”

4. Stencil your floors

“For a personal touch, find graphic inspiration from a favorite scarf, slogan or word you like and order a custom stencil,” said Moyler. Here’s a YouTube tutorial.

5. Lacquer your walls

Lacquer originated thousands of years ago in East Asia, where it was used to protect and decorate various objects,” said Dokey. “Nowadays it a popular technique for sprucing up bright, bold color on walls — almost like a coat of lip gloss.”

6. Consider white floors

“White floors are a great way to brighten up a space,” said Dokey. “There are several different methods and mediums with which you can achieve this look, including epoxypolished concrete and whitewashed wood.”

7. Mix up your metals

“When decorating, people often feel obligated to pick one metal (like brushed nickel) and stick to it,” said Dokey. “[But] mixing metals is a great way to bring a little character to a space, especially since there are so many metal finishes out there (brass, chrome, oil-rubbed bronze).”

8. Don’t be afraid of the dark

“While I love a bright, white room, there is something to be said for the coziness of a dark space!” said Dokey. “Painting or wallpapering your walls a dark and unexpected color can transform your home into something completely different. Dark is generally associated with moodiness, but it doesn’t have to be. I think that dark spaces mixed with other colors can be incredibly vibrant.”

9. Embrace mohair

“I firmly believe mohair is an underutilized material,” said Dokey. “There is something so luxurious and textural about this fabric and it makes a great statement piece on a sofa, chair, ottoman or even pillows. You can find it in really beautiful, deep, rich colors.”

10. Go nuts with lighting

“For many people, lighting comes as an afterthought, but I always think of it as the jewelry of your home,” said Dokey. “You can dress up a house with some really unique light fixtures that draw your eye into the room. Fresh and innovative fixtures are everywhere now (Lumens, Circa Lighting) and even the traditionally bland flush mounts have come a long way in recent years.”

Tell me your favorite interior decorating cliff jumps in the comments below. I shall meet you there with a mohair pillow in tow.*

*That rhyme was intentional and I surely hope it does not get edited out by the powers that be.

Feature photo by Nicole Cohen of Christene Barberich’s apartment

Harling Ross

Harling is a writer and was most recently the Brand Director at Man Repeller.

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