When you’re decorating, you must learn to break rules, but not all of them. Take the case of pattern on pattern. Some decorators today think you can willy-nilly mix prints. Not so. This only results in confusion. There always must be some connection if you are using more than one print. It can be the color, curves, or line, but the connection must be there. I also think it is very important to establish a connection when you mix pieces of furniture that have different provenances. They must become good neighbors. It is possible to place a superb modern table next to an antique chair, but if you put a reproduction table next to an antique chair, it will look wrong. There wouldn’t be any connection at all.
I read Billy Baldwin: The Great American Decorator by Adam Lewis over the holidays, and it is fan-flipping-tastic. Seriously, it is so so good. The last third of the book is devoted to a verbatim transcript of the “Decorating Today” lectures that Billy gave at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. Did I mention that the book is so so good? Order it. Today!