Go Off the Beaten Path with These Unconventional Design Elements

By Ashley Freeman

Design Elements Off the Beaten Path

The design world is full of principles and guidelines to assist you when designing your home.

While that’s all fine and dandy, I love it when I come across an idea that’s outside of the box and creative — discovering something that was reimagined or seeing someone do something new and unconventional.

Here are some of my favorite off-the-beaten-path design ideas:

Paint Stand-In

Paint is the most spectacular transformer and its options are endless. Through the magic of paint (and some paint tape), you could design a runner on your staircase or through your halls instead of installing an actual runner. This kind of feature has a big impact and is a quick and affordable (aka super attainable) DIY for people.

Paint is an amazing product that can stand-in for a lot of other pieces, too. Think outside the box on how to use paint in your home. You could paint yourself an area rug or patio rug, paint faux wainscoting, paint a headboard or paint a fun mural. Get creative with this versatile tool!

Decorating with Salvage

It doesn’t seem natural to decorate with salvage, but does it ever look gorgeous. People have been pushing the envelope on what to introduce as art in their home and reclaimed or salvage finds are quite a trendy option these days.

I especially love that we reduce our carbon footprint by reusing and repurposing these pieces. Some of my favorite salvage pieces to decorate with include old doors, windows or shutters or even old truck springs.


Although taxidermy has been around for ages, the use of antlers is a modern option used in design that has a really unique, eye-catching look. Antlers can be hung from the wall as art, used in a tablescape for texture or upcycled as candlesticks or hooks.

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Ashley Freeman is a Toronto-based interior designer who leads her design firm to capture the fullness and richness of life through materials and finishes. See her featured on Apartment Therapy, the Contemporist and Umbra.

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