One Human Quirk That Can Cost You A Stunning Interior


The moment I shove sugary treats mindlessly into my mouth, just days after I have resolved to NOT eat sugar because I know it’s not good for me AND results in my very own sugar baby. I realise how weak and irrational human beings are.

Yes, I am blaming my sugar addiction on the entire human condition 🙂

We like to think we are rational, logical thinkers and doers… yet if we’re honest with ourselves we know deep down how helpless we are in the hands of our basic human nature… Or quirks if you will.

And this post is about one such quirk that can make your $40,000 decorating budget fall flat on it’s bland look, or can turn that $40,000 into a show stopping, heart fluttering, soulful home that you never want to leave.

This quirk is a cheeky one too. It tricks us into believing we are making good decorating choices when really it is keeping us stuck in plain street.

Ready to find out what the quirk is?

Quirk: Humans will naturally pick the safe choice…and convince themselves it’s the wise choice.

Our brains are wired for safety (our comfort zones) so we don’t get killed, eaten, and anything else death related that our primal brain (subconscious) can come up with.

Have you heard of death by vegetable?

Here’s why it can feel so hard to override.

While we feel we have conscious choice (knowing vegetables will indeed not kill us). An experiment in 2008 revealed that we have less conscious choice than we think.

Brain scans revealed participants choices 7 seconds before the participants were even aware of their own “decisions”.

So subconsciously imagined death has already decided.

Unless we want to face the gut trembling discomfort of overriding what feels natural to us and dare I say it, take a risk!

And, of course the higher the stakes the more likely we stay in the comfort zone.

How this affects your decorating and what you can do about it?

If you have one of those homes where it looks nice, even good, but not amazing you might have been sticking in the safe zone of decorating rules that so called ‘gurus’ tout off as advice.

The number one offender I’ve found that comes up again and again with clients is this one…Matching.

And by that I mean…

  • Using all the same woods so it’s matching
  • Using only one type of metal so it’s matching
  • The same materials repeated so it’s matching
  • The same colour repeated so it’s matching

This may come as confusing since I’m sure you’ve been told to ‘stick to a colour palette’ many times over, by me included.

I’ll clear that up for you in just a little bit, but first, here is why matching leads you to a dully decorated home.

It’s because the more you match the easier it is for your eye read the overall look of the room. The faster the eye reads a room, the more boring the room feels. Like the basic hospital waiting area.

On the other end of the spectrum the more there is to look at, the longer it takes to read a room, the more it can feel overwhelming and chaotic

The feeling of heart-tantalising, breath-taking, jaw-on-the-floor wow comes from the space in between these two.

It’s the point where your space has enough going on so there’s lots to look at and you don’t know where to look, but with enough similarities between the items that it still feels like it all works together.

Sound confusing?

Here’s a visual breakdown.

1st Limit To Break: Matching Woods In Your Interior

This first image uses the same wood for the floor, countertops, stools. See how it looks good, but not amazing. Actually a little flat.


Instagram: @frukleppa


This second image on the other hand uses two different woods. A lighter wood on the floor and a mid tone wood on the walls. There’s a lot more interest and energy in this space simply because of that change.


Visualizer: Anton Sukharev


Imagine if the room above was all the same wood. How boring the room would be in comparison?

The two woods work together because the grains of the woods are similar and they both have a similar finish.

Now let’s see this concept pushed to it’s extreme below.


What keeps the image above all looking cohesive is the clear colour palette of whites, browns, greens and greys, but not all the same brown, or all the same green, or all the same tone of grey. Variety again keeps it interesting.

For the next limit you will want to pay attention. This is where almost all of my clients have made mistakes.


2nd Limit To Break: Matching Materials In Your Interior

This limit comes up in numerous ways. It could be:

  • All the same style of bathroom sinks
  • All the same style of bathroom and kitchen hardware
  • Sticking to only one finish of metal even though you like more than one. Especially with cabinet handles and faucets in the kitchen.
  • All the same accent tiles
  • Going all in with beach themed accessories and furniture, or any other theme
  • Using a marble floor and then doing all the windowsills in the same marble
  • Using all polished surfaces without any rougher surfaces

The best rooms and homes aren’t stuck in these boxes. Sometimes you may stick to keeping things the same. But other times it will give you a better look to mix them up. Especially textures.

See how in the below image the polished surface of the mirror looks even more glamorous next to the rough textured rug.

Or how the silver fireplace hardware makes the gold gilded mirror the star of the show because in brass it would be distracting.

Also, if every room had the exact same mirror as this, how boring and expected would it become?

So why would you use the exact same materials, finishes, sinks, and hardware in all of your bathrooms?

You want bathrooms especially, to be sisters not identical twins. So some ties, but not replicas. Just like the mismatch of frames here when put together form a family.


François Halard's NYC Apartment


If you’re feeling adrift in a sea of too many options without these limitations then follow this method instead.

Focus on what feeling you want to create. It could be clean and relaxed for instance. Use it as your decorating guide by asking yourself are these materials and items together giving you that feeling of clean and relaxed. If they aren’t adjust.

Doing this keeps you focused on the end result, how you want the place to feel, rather than the small details without consideration of the whole.

Now, let’s tackle the last limit. The one that can make your interior look really bad.


3rd Limit To Break: Matching Colours In Your Interior

You get this wrong and your home can look incredibly amateur, or at best bland.

And it’s easy to do it without realising. Because sticking to a colour palette can easily feel like it means matching that colour in almost everything.

Take grey, one of the most popular colours out there at the moment, which I know a good number of you have fallen into this trap with (don’t worry that is totally normal).

If you go with tones of grey and white to keep it all matched together, you end up with something like this below. Not bad, a little flat.

You do this with purple though and the results can be scary.



That said, if you balance the coolness of that grey with a warmer colour like blush pink, yellow, orange, or simply a touch of wood like the image below. It makes the space infinitely more interesting.

The same visual interest applies when you use the darkest and lightest extremes of that colour (like hair highlights and lowlights). If the colours are too similar in tone then it will make your space feel even flatter.


Photographer: Nina Holst


So choose to override your natural quirk for the ‘rules’ and balance your colours, mix your woods, metals, and materials, and especially textures to your hearts content.

Now, what are you going to change based on today’s post?

Have you seen a friend sticking in the safe zone?

Share or comment below.

Much love,

Rach xx



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