I’m no stranger to bold interior design, but every new room I attempt brings new lessons about how to bring my sometimes crazy ideas to life.

With that, I wanted to share four lessons I learned while pulling off what I consider to be one of the most epic beach-themed rooms I’ve seen.

#1 – Bold designs require balance.
The main colors in this room are those of the Caribbean sea: bright turquoise and bold cobalt blue. They go together in nature, but even then, they are balanced by more “neutral” colors. The beige of the sand. The deep, golden hues of trees. You can go as bright and bold in a room as you want, but natural accents bring the warmth needed to make the space feel homey. In this room, I built my own headboard out of wood, brought in an antique wood desk (family heirloom), opted for driftwood lamps and selected a warm-toned curtain rod. Balance is CRUCIAL to making bold colors work.

#2 – Accent pieces make—or break—a room.
If you’re going to go with a bold design, resist the urge to “phone” in the details. I mulled over every piece in this room and was careful to not go too overboard with traditional coastal accents (in keeping with the balance theme). Starfish drawer pulls? Nope. Anchor finials on the curtain rod? Nope again. I kept my “traditionally coastal” accents to a few big pieces: the wave wall, headboard and driftwood lamps, while accenting sparingly with coastal-themed small pieces. The rest evoke the Caribbean feeling without being too in-your-face.

#3 – Bold interior designs take time.
Getting a room “right” when you have no formal interior design training is quite the endeavor. I started working on this room in September. I finished it in January. The wave wall alone took several entire weekends (from selecting the right panels to painting and installing them), and I ended up having to do tweaking on the lightingcurtains and pillows. But I don’t regret a single one of those minutes I spent doing and re-doing to get it right. You can check out my collection of beach inspired throw pillows and rectangular pillows on Society6.

#4 – Sometimes you have to break the rules.
Google for home design ideas, and you’ll be bombarded with a plethora of advice that tells you to keep your walls neutral, to accent sparingly with color and to not do anything too crazy in your home. You’ll find the “rules” about which colors work together, and exactly how you should mix patterns. Some of it is useful advice, but not all. The design of your home should work for YOU, and if it brings you a measure of joy, who cares if it follows all the rules? Learn about them, understand the theory behind them, but then break the hell out of the ones that get in the way. Trust your vision, and make it happen.

As for me, I’m going to turn on some reggae music, sip on some Caribbean rum, and say “cheers” to taking chances and living a colorful life.

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