Think thousand thread count sheets are the ultimate luxury? Believe untinted white paint is the only ceiling solution? Think again! I’m busting these notorious myths—plus more—so you can start 2016 on the right foot.
The Bigger the Thread Count the Better
The Myth: It’s a total myth that higher thread counts always mean better sheets. In fact, to achieve such a tight weave, some sheets are made with inferior, single-ply threads to fit in as many as possible. Thus, thread counts over 800 should usually be avoided, not prized.
The Truth: Seek out cotton percale at about 200 thread count for crisp sheets that last, or 300 to 600 thread count satin for a silkier feel. Ultimately, don’t worry about the numbers, worry about the feel—when possible, test sheets by hand before buying, and look for natural fabrics.
Artwork Must Be Hung at Eye-Level
The Myth: The common rule of thumb is that art should always be centred at eye-level, which on average is around 5’6”. Unfortunately—or fortunately, if you love getting creative—the world of art doesn’t really stick to strict absolutes: positioning each piece relies more on instinct and creative expression than rules.
The Truth: Try leaning art against a wall for a photographers studio vibe, hang small pieces just above the bed for a dreamy atmosphere, or install art rails so you can switch up your look on a whim without making new holes.
Wallpaper isn’t for Wet Spaces
The Myth: Yes, wallpaper combined with moisture can be an issue. But does this mean your bathroom or kitchen must be ruled by tile and tile alone? No way!
The Truth: Firstly, wallpaper covered by glass makes a terrific backsplash, adding a warmth and sense of fun to the kitchen like no other. Even simpler though, splash-proof wallpapers from companies like Graham&Brown can be used solo for an instant injection of pattern in a bathroom, kitchen, or laundry area.
Ceilings Should be White
The Myth: Buying paint for your home doesn’t have to mean grabbing a colour for the walls and an untinted white for the ceiling. In fact, if you are choosing a white ceiling, your white should be tinted to carry a coordinating undertone; try a white from the same chip or colour family. However, you can also think outside the white box…
The Truth: I often use one off-white colour for both the ceiling and walls, giving the most cohesive look. However, I have also pulled bold hues from wallpaper or other inspirations to give a ceiling a real punch. In an intimate space like a dining room or powder room, sometimes the ceiling is the best “accent wall”.
Decor Demands a “Theme”
The Myth: Even if you avoid the “theme-rooms” of glitzy tv shows, it’s still common for people to get stuck on making pieces “match”: working with all rectangles or all circles for example. Contrasting different patterns, shapes, and textures creates the most interest, so don’t be scared to mix.
The Truth: Organic materials and shapes are usually a safe bet to soften the edges of crisp contemporary furnishings. Try a hide rug or sheepskin to break up rectilinear areas, use a round table to contrast modern squared-off furnishings, and apply geometric and organic patterns together.
It’s also a tv-myth that your space should be designed in one day, so ultimately you should feel free to live with pieces for a while and play with new combinations until the look feels just right.
About the Author: is a Canadian design expert and television personality. He is the principal designer and founder of the Toronto Interior Design Group and a regular guest expert on leading Canadian talk show Cityline, presenting design focused segments, including his popular recurring Instant Makeover segment.