Where to Take a Design Risk in Your Home, According to Interior Designers

Stacy Zarin Goldberg

There are plenty of reasons why homeowners shy away from big, bold décor, and lean into neutrals, instead. It’s understandable—it often takes a lot of space to pull off some of those over-the-top looks. And when you’re a design novice, deciding how and when to take the risk with a home decorating choice can be overwhelming. If you do want to go big, however, don’t let that fear stop you. Here, General Judd and Cristina Casañas-Judd, the husband-wife team behind Me and General Design, and Nina Grauer and Eleanor Trepte of DeKay & Tate explain how to best take a design risk in your own space.

Related: 11 Living Room Decorating Ideas Every Homeowner Should Know

Change the narrative.

Casañas-Judd says no room is off limits when it comes to pushing design boundaries—but she understands why a good percentage of her clients stay on the safer side of design (think goes-with-everything neutrals, simple patterns, and comforting textures). “This is why we love to present moments of surprise in unexpected places—rather than in the typical powder room,” she explains.

Be intentional.

For Judd, a design risk that won’t get noticed isn’t one worth taking. “When we assist a client in choosing to make a statement or an investment, we will use that as a jump-off point, typically at the nucleus of the home, and design out from there,” he says, “creating that custom aha moment for all to see and experience.” Though there are more people who are afraid of loud, bold color and mixing patterns and textures than not, Judd believes that when the risk is taken properly—and with intent—the result is unique, layered, and luxurious: “That is where we encourage clients to be brave.”

Don’t hesitate.

If you’re looking to branch out, Casañas-Judd says not to hesitate or second guess your decision once you’ve made it. “If you’re contemplating taking a risk and you don’t follow through, you will always wonder, ‘What if?’ But once you take that leap of personal expression within your home, you will never look back—and that’s when the fun begins!” she shares.

Consider the kitchen.

Grauer and Trepte love taking design risks, as well—and say you can gage your comfortability with making big, bold (and permanent) changes down the road by starting small with art and little furnishings. “Risks are fun and a great way to experiment,” says Grauer, adding that it’s better begin with something easy, like a daring or dramatic paint choice (which is something you can always change). “[At first,] stay away from installations, like cabinets or expensive wild fabrics on a sofa.” If you feel good about these upgrades, you can move forward with a larger project. Trepte encourages her clients to think outside of the box in the kitchen, specifically. “A bright, playful kitchen is so much fun when done well,” she says. From unique backsplashes to colored cabinetry, there are so many big moves to make in the heart of the home.

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