September 23, 2023


Got My Outdoor Space Reviewed by Interior Designer, Got Design Tips

  • I asked an interior designer how I could style my outdoor space, a large empty deck.
  • She suggested dividing it into sections: one for dining, one for lounging, and one for grilling. 
  • The designer also said we should incorporate lanterns and plants to create an intimate space.

My husband and I recently bought our first house in Washington. So far, one of our biggest challenges has been making the most of our outdoor space. 

We have a fairly large deck but we haven't filled it with much yet. Ultimately, we'd love for this area to be a cute hangout spot, but right now the space's overwhelming size and emptiness have kept us both from doing any work on it. We're also struggling to find the right aesthetic for an outdoor area. 

To learn how to best utilize and design our empty deck, I consulted with interior designer Kathy Kuo, founder and CEO of Kathy Kuo Home.

After showing her many photos and a video tour of the space, she shared advice on how to make it feel cool and trendy. 

She said I should start by staining the railings with a neutral brown tone to give the space a more sophisticated feel

wood post with black topper on it along deck

Changing the tone of our railings can transform the space.

Cheyenne Lentz

Kuo suggested we update the structure of the deck with a fresh coat of paint or stain before we do anything else.

She recommended I use a water-resistant stain in a neutral brown color with gray undertones to give the space a rustic feel that's still very sophisticated. She also suggested I paint the support beams for an updated look.  

"You could paint the support beams a really beautiful and rich dark-charcoal gray for a clean modern-farmhouse-inspired look," she said. 

We can cut out some clutter by concealing it in chic furniture pieces

Another issue we've faced is figuring out where to put some of the clutter that's accumulated on our deck over time. There are tons of shoes and a few random items for outdoor use lined up just outside our door. 

To solve this problem, Kuo recommended we get a storage cabinet or a shoe bench that can live on the deck to conceal the clutter. 

outdoor deck space with smal ltable and chairs and lines of shoes in front of entrance into house next to folded up ping pong table

The designer suggested we put our ping-pong table somewhere else.

Cheyenne Lentz

She said we should make sure to find a piece that's made for outdoor use and that matches the rest of the furniture that will eventually live on the deck. 

Kuo also recommended we move the ping-pong table off of the deck and place it in the garage. That way, we can start designing our space "with a clutter-free floor plan."

Because I have a fairly large deck, I can divide the space into sections to create a highly multi-functional area

The size of our deck has made it challenging when it comes to decorating because there's so much empty space to fill. To help with this, Kuo advised creating multiple areas rather than trying to style the whole expanse as one big outdoor living room. 

"As long as you go in with a detail-oriented eye and add visual throughways from each zone, you'll end up with a beautiful and highly multi-functional space," Kuo said. 

I want to use this space to dine outdoors and entertain guests, so she suggested I divide it into three sections by placing a round table in the middle, a lounge area on one side, and a grill area on the other. 

empty wood deck corner with wood railing and black metal beams

A rug could work nicely in this corner.

Cheyenne Lentz

I can also use an outdoor rug to help define and "anchor" the spaces. Kuo suggested I take inspiration from my indoor designs when choosing a rug for the deck. 

We should bring our indoor aesthetic outside to create a seamless transition using a similar color palette and design style

Kuo said I could start by using my home's interior decor as inspiration for decorating my outside space. 

"If you have an indoor aesthetic that you love, there's no reason not to bring that outside by using a similar color palette and furniture design style as is featured inside your home to ensure a seamless transition from the indoors to the outdoors," Kuo said. 

small wooden bistro set table and two folding chairs in corner of wooden deck

I can spruce up our chairs with colorful pillows.

Cheyenne Lentz

She also said outdoor pillows are a great way to show personality and create a connection with my indoor decor. As for the furniture, Kuo said we should mix different textures, materials, and wood tones to create visual interest.

"You may also want to consider picking out pieces with materials contrasting and complementing the wooden railing and floors," Kuo said. 

We can also create an intimate and experiential space by adding plants and lights 

Kuo recommended we add lots of plants and lights to bring the outdoor space to the next level. This will create a sort of intimate and experiential space while adding depth and softness, she explained. 

Real plants could work if gardening is within our wheelhouse, but she also suggested UV-resistant faux plants that are easy to upkeep and won't quickly fade over time. 

As for lighting, Kuo suggested we hang pretty string lights or layer outdoor lanterns of varying sizes in the dining area and/or lounge area. 

Overall, I learned that dividing my space is key to making it super functional and easier to decorate 

View of wooden deck attached to white house

Overall, I'm feeling better about how best to design and decorate my outdoor space.

Cheyenne Lentz

My biggest takeaway from Kuo's advice is that I should divide the space into sections and then decorate each part.

Kuo really sold me on the idea of dividing the deck into thirds — each with a different purpose — to create a beautiful and multi-functional space instead of having just one giant "room." 

With her advice, the design process feels way more doable and I feel less overwhelmed about how to start decorating such a large space. 

How to Turn into an Inside Designer: Every little thing You Require to Know | Architectural Digest

David Sprouls, president of NYSID, recommends accomplishing as quite a few internships as possible, in a variety of regions. “If you have a unique fascination, undoubtedly do an internship but be open and check out. You hardly ever know,” he claims, noting that it’s worthwhile to be equipped to “test out” certain aspects of the occupation ahead of in search of a total-time structure occupation. Internships permit you to choose classroom expertise and apply it in simple approaches, although also studying how to navigate an place of work surroundings. Corporations are much more probably to employ the service of candidates who have been exposed to elements of the lifestyle of a layout studio before graduating and obtaining an entry-level layout role.

Again, depend on the expertise of profession counselors to support you secure an internship that coincides with your spots of desire. But never be also hyper-centered on any certain subject matter at this issue instead, contemplate a extensive assortment of interests inside of the interior layout field. Preserve an open up mind to various elements of the industry. You might surprise yourself: It's possible you assume you want to target on retail design, for occasion, but hospitality ends up piquing your curiosity. In this early period of your design career, it finest suits you to have a broad foundation of encounter just before ruling out any options.

In addition to internship encounter, mentorship can also support ignite your occupation. The IIDA gives a national plan that pairs additional than 1,000 pupils with mentors annually. Headley points out how the IIDA mentorship software has advanced: “Students shadow a expert for a working day, attending consumer meetings, presentations, discovering about place of work society, et cetera. It is a glimpse into the doing work environment and presents the opportunity for a valuable link even right after the software finishes,” she says, incorporating, that “IIDA pivoted to a digital mentorship software during the pandemic. This permitted pupils to be capable to link with a design and style specialist and find out about the field remotely.”

Learn essential inside style and design abilities

There’s far more to being an inside designer than creative imagination, impeccable style, and a eager designer’s eye. “Effective interaction goes a prolonged way in each aspect of a designer’s everyday living, from landing the interview to acquiring the career and becoming promoted through your profession,” Headley gives. “The art of storytelling is significant when it comes to outlining a principle or showcasing the structure in the earliest stages. That is something that requires to begin in course when students are presenting their jobs.”

Organizational, time administration, job management, and conversation competencies are all stipulations for the work, as is some extremely specific technical know-how. While mastery of drawing and point of view are basic for just about every interior designer, laptop-aided style and design now is as nicely. CAD technology—in the kind of computer program these kinds of as Autodesk AutoCAD, CorelCAD, SmartDraw, ARCHICAD, DraftSight, and CAD Professional, between others—allows you to render your structure tips in 2D and 3D models with appropriate dimensions, hues, texture, and other layout information.

In addition to CAD, other computer system software that today’s inside designers are expected to know contain SketchUp, a standard 3D-modeling computer system plan Autodesk 3Ds Max with its effortless-to-learn interface for 3D rendering and simulating interiors Autodesk Revit, which is extremely technical in character and produced especially for A&D industry experts for Creating Data Modeling to allow buyers to quickly make elevations, sections, and programs and Infurnia, a element-abundant, sophisticated inside layout system. An inside structure specialist who is properly-versed in these software applications will have a definite advantage around the levels of competition.

Receive correct inside structure certification

At the moment, 28 states have to have licensure for inside designers, which includes passing the NCIDQ test. NCIDQ is the most prevalent interior style certification, identified in the United States and Canada as a benchmark for proficiency in the occupation. In buy to qualify to get the NCIDQ examination, you have to initially make an associate, bachelor’s, or master’s diploma and comprehensive a certain variety of hrs of do the job expertise dependent on the degree of schooling. Comprising a few parts—the Interior Layout Fundamentals Exam (IDFX), the Interior Style Qualified Exam (IDPX), and the practicum—the NCIDQ examination covers subjects this kind of as design criteria, style application, creating systems and codes, task coordination, and deal administration. You might choose the very first part—the IDFX—once you’ve graduated from layout school even if you haven’t completed all the required do the job hours. The IDPX, meanwhile, is offered to you as soon as you have done both of those your education and work specifications, and the practicum is the closing test. Service fees for every section of the exam are compensated individually.

We attempted ‘the AI inside designer.’ It has a lot to understand.

Ludwig, a new artificial intelligence instrument, needs to enhance your household. But we uncovered some of its options perplexing.

(Washington Put up illustration iStock)

No matter whether it’s Microsoft’s chatbot likely stalker-manner on unwitting tech columnists or ChatGPT accomplishing schoolwork for sneaky youngsters, artificial intelligence is out of the blue everywhere you go. So, of system there is a corporation with a instrument that claims to be “the AI interior designer.”

Fulhaus is based in Montreal, and for the final a few decades it has been establishing synthetic intelligence to help actual estate traders successfully furnish their homes. In March, that instrument, named Ludwig, turned readily available to everybody. The Fulhaus site describes it as “A new AI system that can produce buyable household furniture collections from any inspirational impression, just like an interior designer. Only a lot quicker.” Basically, you add shots of decor that appeals to you and Ludwig is intended to acquire it from there, making a procuring list of home furniture for your house that matches your design.

“The Computer system Investigation Institute of Montreal served us create the original blueprint and how we went about the blueprint, and then from there we commenced hiring the right builders and the appropriate device-understanding engineers,” claims Fulhaus CEO Andria Santos, of how Ludwig came to be.

I transpire to be decorating a new house, so I figured I’d give Ludwig a try out myself. I made use of the totally free edition, which enables you to design 1 area. To furnish an full house, you’re prompted to shell out a $99 rate. To start, I uploaded a handful of pictures from Pinterest — these types of as images from shop web sites and design weblogs — then selected which room I required to emphasis on. Ludwig gave me the alternatives of dining area, dwelling space or bedroom.

As soon as I selected a home, I was rewarded in seconds with various household furniture selections relevant to the image I uploaded. From there, I could refresh the style and design webpage for new possibilities, add one more picture, or skip correct to acquiring and contact the Fulhaus group to purchase the items for me from its sellers, which involve makes these as Four Palms and Loloi. I could also rate Ludwig’s suggestions on a scale of one to 3 smiley-experience emoji in response to a lousy rating, the instrument advised me: “Sorry, Ludwig is nevertheless discovering.”

Ludwig was rapid — but finally, I didn’t feel ready to furnish a whole place following utilizing it. I located that the parts the resource chose didn’t mirror the photographs I uploaded as specifically as I expected. For instance, I assumed a photo of a white couch with a round coffee table and a handful of chairs would end result in furnishings possibilities that mimicked people essential technical specs. Instead, Ludwig despatched back a gray sectional, rectangular coffee desk, accent chair, accent tables and a rug. I didn’t locate that the style of those people pieces was notably equivalent to the image I’d sent either, or that they went with each other all that effectively. With no a designer’s eye, I really do not feel Ludwig shipped the context or consistency in fashion I would want to prepare the items myself.

I questioned the team at Fulhaus about my encounter. They explained that due to the fact inspiration can come from so a lot of sources, they created Ludwig to interpret pictures as a normal direction, rather than a thing to copy virtually. So, when the device makes tips, it is suggesting a combination of pieces that replicate the look and feel of the inspiration picture, not a reproduction. They also assured me that as Ludwig learns additional, it will get improved at determining parts and variations that match particular inputs.

Ludwig is intended for normal householders like me, but also for experts. “It was significant for us to develop a resource that could be employed by a non-designer, but potent ample to be a useful software for a professional designer as properly,” states Santos. In distinct, Santos emphasized Ludwig’s capability to rapidly sift via alternatives from some 300 home furniture suppliers: “There’s no way a designer can get through all those 300 suppliers — particularly when your customer requires to go reside with a assets in a thirty day period.”

I questioned a few inside designers if they would give Ludwig a consider, as well. They noted very similar encounters to mine.

“I tried out to use it three unique occasions [with images from] my own portfolio to view what it spit out and it was not even measurably near,” claims Kristen Forgione, principal designer and artistic director at the Lifestyled Co. in Scottsdale, Ariz.

“All of the results I was searching at had about 20 p.c of the strategies operate with the model and aesthetic of the graphic that I copied and pasted in,” echoes designer Phoenix Gray of Orion Studios in Toronto.

Alright, but isn’t that specifically what human interior designers would say about synthetic intelligence that could theoretically threaten their livelihoods?

“I never imagined for even point-just one seconds about how AI would have an effect on style and designers till I tried out Ludwig,” says Forgione. “I do assume there is going to be a buyer for [AI design]. There’s usually going to be that human being that wants it accomplished the most inexpensive and the quickest — even if the household furniture items don’t search something like the inspiration photograph offered, they’ll get it. But there’s no human or personalized link.”

Gray took a related perspective. “When it comes to coding and accomplishing nearly anything numerical or mathematical, it is sort of frightening how accurate [AI] can be,” he claims. “But when it comes to the imaginative fields like digital promoting or interior layout, you require to have a sense of model.”

Without a doubt, even Fulhaus’s head of structure, Pierce Atkinson, acknowledged the require for a human touch in the style and design method: “We’ll constantly want that imaginative head.”

Ludwig also does not account for price range — which can suggest consumers come across them selves with a procuring list they cannot pay for. For instance, it instructed that I invest in a floor lamp that price tag $1,368. “In a person case, the full for six merchandise was $13,000, which is undoubtedly out of the grasp of the typical man or woman,” claims Gray.

Nevertheless, each he and Forgione agreed the tool could at minimum serve as a person-pleasant starting position for another person hoping to determine out their aesthetic. “It offers relieve of entry with dragging and dropping an image into it, and having it present you some true products that could relate to a equivalent type of style,” claims Gray.

Even if Ludwig didn’t nail my design and style preferences, I, as well, located the device quick — and fun — to use. And not just about every piece was a overlook — I appreciated an accent chair with rattan detail and a bleached wood espresso table. The knowledge felt like a additional entertaining and a little additional focused variation of on line browsing, if not at all like doing work with an precise inside designer. But hey, “Ludwig is still discovering.”

Jamie Killin is a author in Arizona who handles business enterprise, hospitality and life style.

Anyone Can Be An Inside Designer With These House Style Apps

Residence Sweet Property is introduced by The Washington State Housing Finance Commission

Previous 12 months, several of us started spending a lot additional time at residence and maybe imagining about all the strategies we’d like to refresh our dwelling décor. Effectively, there is no better time for an inside redesign than the start of a new 12 months, and this checklist of home style and design apps are the excellent way to get began!

Use these applications to discover inspiration, get all the suitable items for your design and style and the ambiance you want to make and come to feel like an interior layout professional.

The Carpetright Visualizer isn’t just for carpets–it’s an all-inclusive flooring visualizer. You can find from different example rooms in their application or add a image of your precise dwelling place. The visualizer routinely detects the floor in your picture, then enables you to include and swap amongst possible rug, carpet, or flooring alternatives. Choose from carpet, rugs, laminate, vinyl tiles, vinyl, and wood flooring, then conserve the impression as a PDF for your reference.

Lauded by a lot of home and design and style magazines, Coloration911 is the supreme colour palette app. Use it to find designer-designed color palettes and develop a library of hues you want to integrate into the different spots of your residence. You can make new palettes or edit present palettes or shades and save, share, or consider notes for all your house initiatives.

Havenly is a custom made inside style provider as a result of a web application. This application inbound links you with a true-daily life inside designer who will help you build a space style tailored to your type and budget. They create the preliminary design and style system from your picks and preferences from dozens of illustration pictures. Then, you operate collaboratively to refine the design into one thing you really like. When every little thing is just right, you can purchase the layout items directly from Havenly, and they have them delivered to you!

With HomeByMe, you can layout, furnish, and embellish your total residence and check out it in 3D. If that appears frustrating, HomeByMe can also convert your floorplan into their 3D strategy for you for a small charge. Then you can fill your space with furnishings from their intensive catalog of items or retain the services of 1 of their designers to do it for you.

Photo: eloisaconti by means of 123RF

Planner 5d enables you to create and change among 2D and 3D sights of your floorplan. They have a person-generated library of in excess of 5,000 things for you to use to furnish your digital house. After you have selected your things, you can also edit their coloration, finish, or materials with the click of a button! At last, visualize your embellished property in High definition for the very best thought of what it’ll glimpse like in serious lifestyle. There’s even an automated household furniture arrangement attribute to inspire you with diverse options for your place.

RoomScan Pro permits you to generate an precise floor approach working with the digital camera on your mobile phone. It’ll make the system in 2D or 3D, and you can just take notes directly on the impression when it’s accomplished. Speedy and precise, this application is wonderful for even bigger initiatives like remodels or when you want to know you have your measurements down to the centimeter.

The drag and fall style and design of Roomstyler is consumer-friendly and fun. There are different room designs and wall and flooring alternatives, but you can also draw your own partitions to modify the structure to mirror your house. Incorporate doors, windows, and architectural objects just before including paint, wallpaper, stone, or tile to the partitions. To furnish the room, browse by area or look for for precise products in their catalog. When you have positioned all your products, swap to the 3D see and save it in photo good quality for long run reference.

Roomy’s application also allows you to style and design and beautify your house in 2D and 3D and then lets you store large retailers like Pottery Barn, Wayfair, and Amazon. The convenience of visualizing likely style and design things in your house and in 3D means you are going to know for absolutely sure if it is the great accessory or if you will need to keep hunting. You can save and share your area types and get inspiration from skillfully made rooms in their gallery.

Now that you’ve obtained the applications and the inspiration, all that’s still left is to get commenced!

Home Sweet Residence is introduced to you by the Washington Point out Housing Finance Commission’s Washington Property owner Guidance Fund. The Householders Aid Fund aids homeowners who have fallen on difficult times simply because of the pandemic. Call 1-877-894-4663 for extra data on how they can aid.

Inside designer predicts home decor trends – like structure which is ‘officially’ out

Inside designer Jordan Samson has claimed one well known home layout style could "formally" be heading out of fashion in the coming 12 months. Jordan, who shares inside structure recommendations and tips on his TikTok web page @jordansamsondesign, stated how the pandemic could make an affect on residence structure going forwards.

In a movie posted for his audience of 69.5K followers, Jordan said: "Open up idea is officially shut...perfectly, kind of.

"We are observing a shift in the direction of a hybrid of a semi-shut-off flooring prepare and I assume this is a direct final result of the pandemic and individuals wanting extra privateness. Maybe you want to perform at the eating table and not have to pay attention to the awful Television present that your husband or wife is seeing."

Open-program dwelling areas have become popular in new decades, connecting the most essential rooms in the property to develop a big place fantastic for socialising and bringing the relatives alongside one another.

Open-thought homes also have a tendency to be lighter and brighter, but since the pandemic, the increase of functioning from house implies more people are commencing to use their living room for new needs.

Read through Extra: Pensioners forced to tear down decking for second time in scheduling row

"I hated open concept. Very good riddance," wrote one particular video clip viewer A different named Magdalena included: "Here for the hybrid floor options. Like my privacy and I get my personal business office in my property in its place of a person giant space on the 1st floor."

Nish explained: "I haaate open up concept so I am thrilled about that just one." [SIC] And it seems the interior designer himself is also pleased with the change in direction of much more closed-off ground programs. He claimed: "My introvert self won't be able to manage the 'great room' concept.

As very well as the style and design principles heading out, Joran also predicted that assertion stone will be on the increase, primarily in kitchens and bogs. This bold aspect is a great way to incorporate character to a place and could even brighten up a closed-off space.

"Ordinarily [it will be] marble with large veining but I feel we're likely to see a tonne of this in 2023," explained the pro.

"This is just a normal response to the very simple white quartz we have been seeing for a seriously lengthy time. Be warned, this is a assertion and it can be not heading to get the job done in every type house so make positive you definitely enjoy it prior to investing."

Jordan's prediction was echoed by inside designer Geri from Limerick-primarily based Geri Styles, who shares household decor ideas, methods and insights on her TikTok website page @geridesigns.

She explained: "Weighty veined marble, really like it or despise it, I really don't see it likely any where for the following though. I have experienced marble on the island in my studio for the previous four many years and I nevertheless like it now. So, if you are into marble now is the time to introduce it."

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How to Employ an Inside Designer

Here’s a list of thoughts to bring to your session:

  • How did you get into interior design? What are your qualifications?
  • How would you describe your layout philosophy and particular type? (Bonus if theirs matches yours.)
  • Wherever do you uncover home decor inspiration?
  • What styles of services do you supply? (These might incorporate space arranging, job administration all through development, and furnishings procurement.)
  • What is your price framework? (Make certain to talk to about added service fees for line products these kinds of as retainers, vacation time, communication minutes—all those people back again-and-forth texts can incorporate up!— and deposits for furnishings.)
  • When operating inside a price range, what do you are inclined to prioritize?
  • How will you preserve me current on the undertaking? (Some designers like to test in regularly, many others may well do additional staggered updates that make it possible for them to share a lot more in depth about the project’s recent stage.)
  • How do you composition your timelines?
  • Can you tell me about your preferred most modern project?
  • Have you carried out tasks comparable to mine? Can you share just before and soon after photos? (A lot of designers have seriously curated just after visuals on their websites, but the right before images are nearly a lot more important, because they show the complete transformation.)
  • Can you explain to me about a difficult problem you faced not too long ago? How did you deal with it and what did you find out from it?
  • What are some makes, designers, and stores you enjoy?
  • Who are some community contractors, subcontractors, and tradespeople you have worked with?
  • Are you ready to share call information and facts for previous customers who would be ready to discuss as references?

Other concerns

In this article are a handful of a lot more things to think about as you conduct your inside designer research.

Style and design philosophy

This generally refers to the large photograph, or the overarching themes that could information a designer’s vision and style system. You can normally get a perception for this on the About section of their web page or by inquiring them in extra depth when you meet up with.


Though the words style and type are frequently used interchangeably, model refers to how the interior designer could possibly specific their eyesight, no matter whether it‘s by way of place format, furnishings, wall coverings, paint possibilities, or artwork. Before you seek the services of an interior designer, it is well worth doing research in advance of time to get a feeling of your personal individual style. Placing up a temper board—whether you use a web site like Pinterest, an app like Canva or Evernote, or just a simple physical binder with tearsheets and printouts—is a terrific way to do this, and you can refer to it at your initially session.


Inside designers might decide on to target on unique regions, such as sustainability, flats and small areas, kitchen area design, bogs, residence staging, or reworking. Some function as one-man or woman retailers, and other folks are involved with more substantial firms that may possibly offer an array of distinct products and services.

Placing up a timeline

The moment you have employed a designer, they will operate with you to set up a approach for how the challenge will proceed. If you’re also executing building, that will make factors a lot more intricate and time-consuming. Here’s an overview of some of the additional frequent phases within a timeline.

Locating the professionals (at minimum a handful of weeks)

If your designer is likely to have to have to pull in men and women like contractors, painters, millworkers, plumbers, and electricians, they’ll have to have to access out to them in progress and locate out their availability. The COVID-19 pandemic has built this even more hard, with many sought-after gurus reserving out months in advance. 

Schematic design (two to six weeks)

For the duration of this section, your designer figures out significant milestone dates, tends to make a list of products and solutions to resource, results in mood boards, and nails down other critical preliminary specifics like acquiring estimates from contractors.

Style and design growth (two to six weeks)

The inside designer can take the approach from the schematic style and puts it into motion. This usually means figuring out alternatives for items like home furnishings, materials, lighting and plumbing fixtures, and additional. Then they existing their alternatives to you so you can pick your preferred possibilities. If many revisions are desired, this may extend the timeline. 

Building and procurement (months to many years)

If building is using put, renderings will will need to be finalized in advance of the perform can begin. This could include things like options for millwork, lighting, and electrical components. The moment construction commences, your interior designer will very likely be an integral component of the method as they check in on the team’s development. This is also commonly the period when furniture and other things are ordered. Preserve in brain that some goods, specially those people manufactured to get, may possibly have a lead time of 12 weeks or lengthier.

Installation (at least 1 working day)

With all the items in place, now it’s time for the magic. Your designer, normally with a crew of helpers, comes into your room to oversee the placement of factors like home furnishings, lamps, extras, and artwork. They could make final tweaks to the room layouts way too. Then they’ll welcome you in to examine out the finished product (a champagne toast is frequently involved), and you will revel in the gratification of your vision turning into fact.

A New York Interior Designer Shares 3 Hot and 2 Dated Home Trends

  • NYC interior designer Bennett Leifer outlined what's in and what's out right now.
  • Textured walls, hand-painted wallpaper, and bold headboards create subtle luxury that people want.
  • But the all-white look and overdressed windows have fallen out of favor.

People across New York City, the Hamptons, the Hudson Valley, and Connecticut  seeking whimsical yet sophisticated interiors call on Bennett Leifer.

Leifer, who founded his New York City-based interior design firm nearly a decade ago, has his finger on the pulse of the design whims and wants of his clients, and those waning in popularity. 

He spoke with Insider about what his clients are seeking in their homes now, and the tired trends they're ready to leave behind.

In: Handmade and unexpected touches

Two rooms with hand-painted wallpaper designed by Leifer.

Handmade details are in. Just look at these two rooms with hand-painted wallpaper designed by Leifer.

Bennett Leifer Interiors (left), Josh McHugh

The minimalist white box aesthetic that was so popular five years ago has given way to an appreciation for textures and techniques that embrace an Old World style of craftsmanship. 

"I think people are wanting their spaces to feel rich and unique to them," Leifer said. "They don't necessarily want to add a bold print to the wall, they don't necessarily want to paint a wild color. But they do want to have this subtle luxury — we're calling it personal richness."

He's used hand-painted wallpaper that features imagery personal to his clients and handmade Italian tiles laid in a pattern to reflect the roof of an adjacent New York City building that can be seen through a window. 

Lower-lift projects include adding Venetian plaster to walls rather than the standard paint job and adding velvet trim around the baseboard and door of a room to add in that "personal richness."

In: Statement-making headboards

Two rooms with statement-making headboards designed by Leifer.

Leifer has created bespoke, oversized headboards for two clients recently.

Bjorn Wallander

Leifer's clients are more interested in big, bold headboards than ever before. 

He sees it as a response to the rise in catalog and online shopping and the pandemic's effect on the supply chain. 

"There was this whole wave towards getting the look for less, but then I think people started seeing a lot of the same thing," he said, adding that supply-chain issues inflated the "emotional frustration" of decorating a home.

"That's where I personally think a lot of the interest in making these unique, personal moments came about," he said.

Leifer has crafted an oversized arched headboard that mirrored a shape featured in the room's wallpaper. The oversized headboard is an opportunity to be playful. 

"You can bring levity into the design in a way that isn't like turning it into a kid's room," he said.

In: Functional pieces

A woman sits in an ergonomic chair in a home office.

Functional pieces, like ergonomic chairs, are winning out over just design-minded pieces.

Getty Images

In this era of the Instagram-perfect home, it's tempting to eschew functional furniture for something that's more aesthetically pleasing. 

But Leifer said his clients are becoming more practical than that. Case in point: The ergonomic chair, which isn't really known for its good looks. 

"I'm seeing more demand for things being what they should be and more conscious decisions in terms of health choices," he said. "For example, we're doing a study and we're buying the prettiest ergonomic chairs we can find, because it's important to have good back support. Whereas in the past, it may have been a club chair style on a swivel caster base."

Herman Miller's Aeron chair is the gold standard for ergonomic chairs, and is about as streamlined-looking as they come. They start around $1,200. Branch Furniture's less costly options start around $330. 

Out: All-white everything

A kitchen with white paint, white cabinets, and white countertops.

Defaulting to white is out. Instead, Leifer said it's become a more intentional choice to use white.

John Keeble/Getty Images

Leifer said his clients aren't using white as a fallback anymore, but rather an intentional decision. It boils down to people, after spending a few years at home, really wanting to have a personalized space that speaks to their own aesthetic.

"If you're using it, it's an intentional decision," he said. While clients are still interested in white kitchen cabinetry and white bathrooms, for instance, it's because "they want it to feel crisp," and not just because it's an old standby.

Out: Overdone curtains

A fancy living room with whispy hanging curtains.

Overdone window treatments are out, Leifer said.

jimkruger/Getty Images

Be gone tassels and reams of drapes: Simplicity and intention are the name of the game when it comes to dressing up windows now. 

"It has to finish a space to a certain degree," Leifer said, but clients aren't falling back on the old rulebook. 

Instead they're curious to experiment with new touches, like the project where Leifer's using bronze casings around windows. It's not dressing windows for the sake of dressing them — it's all about intention.

Designer Jessica Barton Creates a Cozy California Home for Her Household

“I would seldom be explained as a minimalist,” suggests Jessica Barton, who made her individual residence in a 1939 California bungalow in Orinda, California. She’s speaking about her structure aesthetic, but she could just as simply be describing the time she put in doing work on the project. Not only was she controlling a full restoration—new kitchen area, renovated rest room, new decor in all the bedrooms and dwelling spaces—but she was also launching her very own structure business, J Kathryn Interiors. And she experienced a toddler on the way.

She also had help, she notes, from Georgina Rice in San Francisco. Considering that Barton was a new transplant to the Bay Region, Rice made a selection of introductions to showrooms and workrooms, some of which supplied furnishings for the household, these as the customized-made residing place window therapies. During, the challenge incorporates a lot of custom made upholstery, vibrant styles and a mixture of classic and up to date abstract artwork.

"I love color, and I preferred each individual home to flow although also standing on its possess," Barton claims. "Considering the fact that the residence was so smaller, it was critical that you felt like you had been in a diverse house in every space. That helped make it really feel tremendous specific and a lot more roomy than it was."

    In the stop, almost everything worked out beautifully, and she ended up with 1,112 square feet of effectively but stylishly created space—a blend of her common southern maximalism, midcentury twists, cottage style, and contemporary aptitude, in line with the home’s original architecture.

    "My rule is to make sure practically nothing seems too contrived," says the designer. "If you are another person who collects textbooks, show them off! If you have a enormous sum of ceramics or blue-and-white or Wedgewood, lean in. Collect what you adore and exhibit it proudly. I like to make guaranteed all the things is spaced appropriately and there is a blend of dimensions and heights, so nothing feels far too weighty or light-weight. But never overthink it. Authenticity above almost everything is most vital."

      Q&A with the Designer

      How would you explain your style aesthetic?

      This project was specially pleasurable because it was for my have household, so I was in a position to get some creative leaps though retaining almost everything family members welcoming. We have been transplants to the Bay Area, and we required it to mirror equally California living and our southern roots. That meant trying to keep points regular although injecting a lot of enjoyment color and textures to mimic the Northern California landscape we ended up surrounded with.

      How does the room symbolize your temperament?

      When we to start with moved in, it was just my husband and me. Shortly right after, we had our very first baby, Duncan. It was essential that just about every inch was functional mainly because of the tiny footprint. On the other hand, considering the fact that I am an inside designer, every little thing had to be unbelievably beautiful, much too. I refused to sacrifice just one for the other!

      What mood or vibe do the interiors exude?

      The critical detail was that it sense like my loved ones. And just like with my customers, I did not want nearly anything that felt inauthentic to us. My partner and I both of those grew up in Kentucky, but our son was born in Northern California, and this was the dwelling we brought him dwelling from the healthcare facility to. It was vital that we honored that in the design—thus the bold hues, wallcoverings, and layers like I grew up with in the South mixed with the additional laidback California landscape we lived in. Our yard felt like a nature reserve, with almost everything from coyotes howling to child deer eating fallen plums. I desired to provide that magic inside of by producing everything experience just a touch mystical. We realized we would at some point outgrow it, but this residence certainly was our sanctuary for our little spouse and children unit.

      Did you encounter any hiccups through the renovation?

      This whole job had hiccups, from surprises when opening up walls to my pregnancy—and of class, the pandemic. It was a roller coaster the whole time, but I imagine that is why it was so special. Nothing at all was best. The floors have been crooked in areas, not anything was degree, and at some point I had a two-yr-previous functioning about, so matters were a fantastic mess most time. All these conditions out of our regulate authorized me to definitely lean into becoming artistic on the two style and design and performance. When it was finished, we known as it our wabi-sabi jewel box.

      How did you make pre-existing parts really feel fresh new and operate with the new design and style path?

      I really like consignment, classic, and antiques, and so all over the household you can see how the new and outdated speak to a single one more. I’ve been collecting pieces for yrs, including most of the art and all the components. I also repurposed various pieces I experienced identified in all places from tiny antique stores to Facebook Marketplace. If it had great bones and excellent electricity, it was coming residence with me! The power of patina and gorgeous cloth gave more mature parts new existence all over the room.

      What is your favored factor about the finished house?

      That it saved us secure and pleased for the duration of quite turbulent moments. I’ve usually explained that inside structure is so substantially more than deciding on paint colours or textiles. It is about producing a house that can make you really feel snug, pleased, and shielded on fantastic and undesirable days. This household did that. By way of all the chaos, it brought us joy—reading bedtime tales in our cozy minor room, sitting down at the oval dining table in those people colorful chairs, or sitting at the kitchen area peninsula when my partner cooked and we listened to songs.

      Want to see far more of the nostalgic property? Tour the full home below.

      Living Place

      "Our principal dwelling place was just one long area, and we needed it to serve as both our dwelling room and dining space," Barton states. But just after going in all the household furniture, "it just felt cold." To make the space truly feel additional cozy and cohesive, she installed a warm-toned grasscloth from Phillip Jeffries all all over and up the hallway, and painted the designed-ins, fireplace, and ceiling Parma Gray by Farrow & Ball. "I enjoy the juxtaposition in between the enjoyable blue paint and the much more serious wallcovering," she reveals.

      jessica barton living room

      Bess Friday

      An avid collector of residence magazines, Barton proudly displays her preferred difficulties in the living room, "where I can access them when I need to have," she states. "I collect a good deal of factors, from ceramics to espresso table guides, and I hardly ever want to hide the merchandise that carry me joy. Just about each individual piece of my assortment is anything I procured although traveling, scoured eBay for, or bought antiquing with my mother," she reveals.

      Dining Place


      Bess Friday

      Desk: vintage, Baker. Chairs: classic Drexel in Schumacher and Claremont textiles.



      Bess Friday

      "My preferred home is simply the kitchen," Barton suggests. "It was beyond enjoyment to style and design. I realized when we moved in that I preferred to make the kitchen specific." To convey the house back to everyday living, she determined on common inset cupboards, painting them White Dove by Benjamin Moore (her favorite).

      "One of our most loved sites to cling out was the custom banquette by GP & J Baker, and the Noguchi pendant gave us that fantastic pop. I love the tension amongst that contemporary ingredient and the conventional cottage-design cabinets, brass mesh, hardware, and rattan. Every little thing is so distinctive but works jointly superbly. However, the piece de resistance is the Cole & Son orange blossom wallpaper, which I appreciate simply because it felt like our kitchen came entire circle."

      Peninsula pendants: pendants: Hector & Finch. Desk: custom made, in walnut by Jessy Anderson. Backsplash: Fireclay Tile.

      Key Bed room


      Bess Friday

      "For our bed room, my husband and I wanted it to truly feel like an escape from the relaxation of the dwelling," Barton says. "We wished our art to be the standout, given that just about every piece was sentimental for us." So they saved matters "extremely uncomplicated, light, and airy" with standard striped wallpaper, pale blue-and-white curtains, and floral accents.

      Rug: Rush House. Nightstands: Doorman Styles. Headboard and bedskirt: Personalized by Robert Allen Style and design. Mirror, chair, and add-ons: vintage. Wallpaper: Mulberry Residence. Drapery: Nile and York.

      Son's Room


      Bess Friday

      "Our household went into shelter in spot when my son was just 7 months previous. It felt exceptionally vital that he have a space that was entertaining and a feast for the senses, because he could not be in college," Barton says. She selected to paint the partitions a lighter blue (Breath of Contemporary Air by Benjamin Moore) established versus a higher-gloss yellow (India Yellow by Farrow & Ball). To complement the color blend, she protected the ceiling and closet walls with Schumacher wallpaper. "We required it to really feel entertaining and imaginative for a two-yr-old who had used most of his time at home given that ahead of he could stroll," she points out.

      Headboards and bedskirt: customized, in Schumacher. Nightstand: vintage, Duncan Phyfe. Bedding: Cologne & Cotton.

      Rest room


      Bess Friday

      "Our lavatory was the only tub in the property, so it experienced to get the job done for our full household," she claims. "We opted to keep the tub-shower combo and hold points uncomplicated with white glossy subway tiles and Carrara floors. We could sacrifice storage by obtaining a console sink from Signature Components, which manufactured the room feel a lot more open, since we experienced a huge closet across from the rest room. Final, this was also the lavatory for our dinner company, so we wanted it to sense particular and entertaining while also enjoyable for us day to day. The natural vinyl wallpaper did just that, with pops of unlacquered brass."

      Wallpaper: Schumacher. Sconce: Ship Lights.

      Adhere to Household Beautiful on Instagram.

      This written content is developed and preserved by a 3rd party, and imported on to this website page to help people supply their e-mail addresses. You may possibly be capable to find extra data about this and very similar written content at

I’m an inside designer and I consider your home seems to be ‘cheap’ if you have particular rugs, drapes, or towels

YOUR property is your castle (or it need to be) but compact structure mistakes are producing it glance less than regal, in accordance to home gurus.

The very little particulars in your decor could be making your household look low cost, and the fix is as straightforward as swapping your rugs, window therapies, sheets, and towels.

Rugs, sheets, and window treatments are all areas where your home might look cheap


Rugs, sheets, and window treatment plans are all locations in which your home could seem low-costCredit: Getty
Small details can elevate your living space


Tiny specifics can elevate your living placeCredit rating: Getty

Three inside designers speaking to Bustle handed together their recommendations for building your household search stylish in its place of low-priced, and the modest issues you happen to be almost certainly earning now.

Acquiring THE Incorrect Sizing RUG

To change your home, start out from the floor ground by reassessing your rugs.

"There are tips to keep in mind when you are shopping for a rug dependent on the area it truly is likely to," mentioned Chanel Padza, the inside designer powering decor website Coco on Fifth.

If your place seems off, you will find a very good probability that your rug is also tiny for the room.

I'm an interior designer – the bedroom trends which are out of fashion
I'm an interior designer – 3 easy ways to make your home look more expensive

“This oversight comes about all the time,” Padza reassured.

“For a living room, the rule of thumb is to have the home furniture contact the rug. Depending on the place, you want to at least have the 1st legs of your pieces be on the rug,” she continued.

As extensive as individuals front legs of your home furnishings are on the rug, you can make any other adjustments to match your own choice.

And if your favourite rug falls limited of the area you'd like to place it in, a swift repair is to layer it with a further, more substantial ground covering.

"Consider putting a sisal rug beneath it that is appropriate in dimension for the room and then spot the other rug on best," Padza proposed.


The other area in your residing room exactly where dimension is vital: your windows.

When you pick shorter window solutions to preserve revenue, or due to the fact you measured your home windows incorrectly, you happen to be generating your area search cramped, Padza stated.

“Almost generally, your window treatment plans need to contact the flooring and be hung a few inches over the best frame of your window,” Padza stated.

If you uncover incredible curtains that appear to be way way too extended at very first glance, keep an open up head, for the reason that they could extremely nicely be just the point your modest house requires.

“You can even go higher and that will make your place glance greater," she additional.


Towels and sheets are a ideal illustration of the phrase "the satan in the specifics."

While great-top quality towels and sheets might appear like a luxurious, low-priced kinds make your household feel like a funds motel.

Inside designer Joe Cangelosi said investing in a "pleasant established of plush cotton towels" is an immediate enhance for your toilet.

Along with a fluffy come to feel, there are other aspects you can search for to make guaranteed your towels are of pleasant excellent.

"Towels that have a seam sewn up the prolonged sides are a confident sign of a good products," Cangelosi encouraged.

Give your sheets the very same procedure: swap the outdated, scratchy, slim sheets for something in an eye-catching but uncomplicated sample.

Yet again, scout out a deal on luxe fabrics for an enhance that absolutely everyone will observe – company and citizens alike.

"For sheets, get 100 percent cotton in a great thread rely," Cangelosi reported.

LEAVING Damaged Hardware IN Position

A person of the quickest – and minimum costly – means to upgrade your house is to swap your dated or damaged components.

Andra DelMonico, lead inside designer at Trendey, stated that changing cabinet handles, sofa legs, drawer pulls or tabletops is the most basic way to elevate just about every home in your home.

"These small touches elevate the look of the total piece of home furniture," DelMonico defined.

"Due to the fact they are scaled-down accents, you can invest more and not bust your finances."

For drawer pulls and cabinet handles, you can glance on the web, scout estate sales for classic additions, or acquire inspiration pictures of more highly-priced home furniture along to your hardware or craft keep.

Even though you are buying up new components, also consider grabbing large-high quality contact paper to contact up any tough surfaces on your home furnishings.

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It truly is an simpler tactic than painting and presents a much more cohesive, sophisticated look.

"You could get a roll that mimics the search of marble," DelMonico claimed. "Then address your tabletop for an upgraded glance to a simple desk."

A too-small rug makes your room look much smaller than it is


A also-compact rug makes your space seem a great deal lesser than it isCredit score: Getty

We pay out for your tales!

Do you have a story for The US Solar team?

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Designer Allie McMunn Teaches Her Century-Old Cheesman Park Property New Tricks


The 1921 Georgian gets current with fresh hues, contemporary artwork, and family members-friendly furnishings.

5280 Residence April/Could 2022

Inside designer Allie McMunn and her partner, Ryan, had their choose of any town in the United States when they made a decision to go away the Big Apple in 2019 to elevate their youthful son in a much more laid-back again locale. Denver was an easy choice—“because it was the only metropolis we the two could concur on,” Allie laughs—and acquiring this 1921 Georgian in close proximity to Cheesman Park was a no-brainer far too. “It felt ideal from the first time we set foot inside of,” Allie says. “I’m from Boston, and this felt a little bit like a conventional, New England household, which you don’t see typically in Denver.”

The designer knew that the grand dwelling—which had all the rigid symmetries and ornamental embellishments of traditional Georgian architecture—could sense “very fussy, incredibly simply, and that was unquestionably not my aim,” she claims. Listed here, she shares how she infused its interiors with lightness, lifestyle, and a seamless contemporary layout that nods to 1921 and 2022.

5280 House April/May possibly 2022

5280 Dwelling: Denver might be new to you, but you are no stranger to renovating outdated residences.
Allie McMunn: By the time I left New York, I was typically creating prewar apartments on the Higher East Facet and Higher West Facet, so I realized what I was finding into—but the scale was significantly diverse listed here.

Did you update all 8,775 square feet of your new household?
We painted the total inside and changed the creaky wooden flooring with skinny oak planks that are genuine to the original fashion. The kitchen format did not make perception and you could just see the 1990s in the finishes, so we decided to intestine it and open it to the adjacent sunroom, which snowballed into us refreshing most of the dwelling. The only areas we didn’t have to contact were the next-floor bathrooms, which had been renovated by the previous proprietors.

Your palette of delicate blues and greens, in addition sisals and rattans, imparts a breezy vibe.
My good friends joke that my houses should be on the coast of South Carolina—and I do gravitate toward that Southern, girly style. In the living room, there’s a large piece of artwork that Susan Vecsey designed by gradually dripping sky-blue paint down a linen canvas I pulled that blue during the place, from the armchairs ideal down to the chessboard.

What ended up you on the lookout for when choosing new furniture pieces?
I desired some super-tough items that lean modern—like the residing room’s dazzling-white lacquered espresso desk and the breakfast room’s Saarinen tulip table—and upholstered pieces with a decent framework, which assists them feel extra common. And, of class, indoor/outside materials that can maintain up to my son.

Talking of your son, tell us about his adorable nursery.
I’m fairly guaranteed it is my favored place in the dwelling. I fell in appreciate with the wallpaper and the style and design spiraled from that—from the piece of modern art in these kinds of quite, gentle tones to the fringed ottoman-on-wheels. I adore a fringe no 1 definitely uses it anymore, but it is a classic design element that is also so substantially enjoyable. Which is the juxtaposition I was after—here and in every room.

Structure Pros:

Inside Style and design: Allie McMunn, One Bleecker Interiors
Renovation Building: Kalin Construction
Landscape Architecture: Models by Sundown

‘Sweet Magnolias’ Home Decor – Secrets from Sweet Magnolia Set Designer

If you've watched an episode of Sweet Magnolias on Netflix and found yourself getting dreamy-eyed over Maddie's kitchen tile instead of Coach Cal's smile, well then you've come to the right design-obsessed place. Because we've already tracked down where you can buy the outfits from the show, we're now directing our Nancy Drew-style sleuthing to the show's warm and welcoming set design. You may already know that most of the series is filmed in and around Covington, Georgia, but did you know many of the interiors (including Sullivan's, The Corner Spa, and Maddie's and Dana Sue's houses) are sets built from scratch on a stage? Production Designer Aimee Holmberg and Set Designer Nik Morgan, both of whom actually have a background in—who would have guessed?—the horror genre, spoke to Country Living about why the Southern setting inspires she show's aesthetic, how they scheme up spaces around each character, and where they sourced all that cute decor. (Good news: Much of it's from budget-friendly sources including HomeGoods, Rooms to Go, Etsy, and Spoonflower!)

"Sweet Magnolias is very much a character-driven story and we approached [the design] with the intent of developing the characters' spaces in ways that would further their personal stories in the eyes of the viewer," says Aimee. "We discussed each character at length with our lovely show creator Sheryl Anderson, right down to their hobbies, favorite foods, books and artwork." If you look closely, Aimee notes you can spot hints about each character in the design details. "Clues to Dana Sue’s wild child past can be found featured on her mantel and wall mounted display shelf above," says Aimee. Here's the nitty gritty on all that pretty.

the three main characters toast margaritas in maddie's farmhouse kitchen on sweet magnolias

Get the toasting over with so we can talk paint colors, okay?



The location used for the exterior shots of Maddie's home is an 1890s farmhouse—"one of the oldest in Covington," notes Aimee. To bring the interior to life, the team embraced a "palette of soft warm neutrals and floral patterns, with punches of more vibrant teals, corals and blues to keep it fresh," says Aimee, as well as a "stylish but effortless mix of newer furniture, antique store finds, and family heirlooms." Set designer Nik Morgan also notes there's a lot to be learned from those layers: "In Maddie’s case, the most important story to tell was that of her family, specifically their past and what their lives had been up until where we find them now. All the photos and trinkets, the different styles of furniture gathered over time to fit her taste and needs, the messes that comes with children and teenagers, the kitchen that most definitely has seen some huge meals and action, all these things were there to show the foundation and home she had built expanded upon—only to have it serve as a reminder that it will never be the same again.”

Get Maddie's Look

Kitchen Tile: Palazzo 12”x12” in Antique Cotto Bloom from Bedrosians (You can find it in a slightly different colorway at Lowe's!)
Green Kitchen Island/Cabinet Paint Color: Sherwin-Williams 6191 Contented
Kitchen Barstools: At Home, find similar here
Kitchen Stove:
Lacanche Chagny Classique
Living Room/Family Room Curtains:
Catamarca Curtain (family room, find similar here and here) and Gleaming Elora Curtain (living, find similar here and here), both originally from Anthropologie
TV Console:
American Heritage Furniture, find similar here and here
Blue Sectional:
Rooms To Go
Living Room Tufted Queen Anne Sofa:
Vintage; recovered in rose gold shantung, find similar here and here
Original Artwork (Throughout the House):
Paintings by Cansu Porsuk (the brilliant artist behind Paula’s magnolia painting), photography by Stephanie Shamban and Semi Sweet Studio (kitchen and living room), botanical watercolors by Torey Wahlstrom (Maddie’s bedroom), embroidery artwork by Meaghan Pauley Nespeca (family room, Maddie’s bedroom and mudroom) and folk art-style bird paintings by Silly Goose Studio (mudroom).

dana sue and her daughter at home in a scene from sweet magnolias on netflix


a scene featuring dana sue in her floral wallpapered restaurant on sweet magnolias

We’ll take a coffee with a side of floral wallpaper, thanks.



"We gave Dana Sue's turn-of-the-century farmhouse darker, more moody colors, earthy greens and purples with pops of cobalt blue, fuchsia and rich golden yellows. Her house is more cluttered, with art and found objects that express her personality and an open chef's kitchen packed with the tools for culinary creativity," says Aimee. (Since Dana Sue's style is also reflected through her restaurant, we included sources from Sullivans', too.)

Get Dana Sue's Look

Bird Motif Wallpaper: helenpdesigns on Spoonflower
Butcher Block:
A combination of two different antique pieces purchased separately, find similar here
Sullivans' Citrus-Print Wallpaper:
Vintage William Morris block print custom colored for us bypeacoquettedesigns on Spoonflower
Sullivans' Bar Backer:
Cle’s Zellige Tile in fired opal; find similar here
Sullivans' Entry Tile:
Maharaja by New Ravenna

a scene in helen's kitchen on sweet magnolias



Helen is more about the new and modern—hence, her contemporary renovation on the bones of an older craftsman- style bungalow. "Helen’s world is the most put together of the three, with luxe furnishings on a palette of deep, almost black, blues and grays, and bold patterns," says Aimee. "Flourishes of pink and yellow, and natural blonde woods and woven textures keep her contemporary look from feeling cold."

Get Helen's Look

Hanging Bed: Came with the location (Try this for similar)
Hanging Bed Throw Pillows:
Grasscloth Wallpaper:
Came with the location; try Serena and Lily for similar
Woven Wall Hanging:
Figurative Artworks:
Tracy Murrell (local to Atlanta)
VictoriAterlier and Duealberi, both on Etsy


Filled with "silky and soothing" paint colors, Aimee notes The Corner Spa was a complex design challenge, as the team had to recreate the elaborate historical details of a Greek Revival house on a stage. (The Covington, Georgia, property is actually a law office.) "Our construction crew, lead by John Hair, did an incredible job installing the many layers of moldings and replicating the graceful curves chosen for the build. Silky and soothing neutral paint colors were used throughout, with modern wallpaper details to bring in some subtle patterns. Tile played a big part in lending the spa feel, the overall feeling fresh and light. Plants were also an important factor, both large floor plants and hanging planters, to keep what could be a stuffy architectural style feeling alive."

Get the Spa's Look

Paint Color (Foyer): Sherwin-Williams 6204 Sea Salt
Paint Color (Cafe):
Benjamin Moore OC-20 Pale Oak (with Jacobs Tree wallpaper detail)
Paint Color (Exercise Room): Sherwin-Williams 7571 Casa Blanca
Paint Color (Trim Throughout):
Sherwin-Williams 8971 Shell White
Paint Color (French Doors): Sherwin-Williams 0032 Needlepoint Navy (to complement the entry's tile mosaic)
Wallpaper (Yoga Studio): Farrow and Ball’s Yukutori wallpaper
Light Fixtures:
Mostly Rejuvenation and Anthropologie
Entry Tile: New Ravenna’s Giverny mosaic design in Carrara marble
Magnolia Artwork:
"The artwork was commissioned from Cansu Porsuk, an incredible artist from Turkey we met on Etsy. We were so inspired by her work we ended up including 12 of her pieces on Maddie’s set and 3 on Dana Sue’s." (Paula’s abstract canvases featured in her studio were also painted by Cansu.)
Caustic Works:
Caterina Martinico
Watercolors: Elizabeth Becker
Art Deco Prints: Georges Barbier
Jade Sofa: West Elm, find similar here
Cane Chairs (Flanking the Entrance):
Anthropologie, find similar here and here


We asked Aimee (over an imaginary round of margaritas, naturally!): Which Sweet Magnolias character is most likely to...
...Brake for Antiques?

"Dana Sue and Maddie would make antiquing a regular weekend outing. Dana Sue could never pass up outsider art, anything with an owl theme, and perfectly smooth vintage cast iron pans. Maddie has a soft spot for vintage bird and botanical lithographs, and vintage furniture in need of being reimagined and refinished"
...Shop at HomeGoods?

"Maddie’s found some steals at HomeGoods, such as the pinstriped linen armchair in her living room. She’s got a sharp eye for design but also for bargains. She has all the dance lessons, drama classes and baseball trips to think of."
...Decorate with Family Heirlooms?

"Maddie holds on to that strong sense of family, in her children and the family she came from. She has classic pieces throughout the house, including the piano that definitely has a story. She also cherishes her children, with kid-created heirlooms such as the three framed hand print paintings (one from each child) hanging in the kitchen above the living room door."
...Renovate Every Three Years?

Helen’s sense of fashionable and feminine modern is an important element in expressing her personality. She embraces Serenity’s small town vibe but does not want to be defined by it.
...Plant a Garden?

All three! The southern aesthetic has so much to do with the outdoors. Maddie would favor petunias, begonias and sunflowers for their joyful pops of color, Dana Sue would go for some easy to care for but high-impact in the kitchen (and cocktails) herbs like Genovese basil, marjoram, chervil and unusual mints, and Helen would go for something that is at the same time both exotic and classic, like vibrantly colored dahlias.
...Embrace Chintz?

Dana Sue loves a little sparkle, flash and fun in her eclectic decor.
...Take Up Needlepoint?
Maddie might think about it, with a sense of soothing nostalgia. But we know with her three kids and busy schedule finishing a project would be near impossible.
...Binge-Watch HGTV?

Maddie, she loves the DIY ideas. Though Helen probably takes a sneak peek every now and then to make sure she is solidly on trend.
...Read Country Living

Maddie! Her vibrant and effortless style feels like a perfect match. (Maddie, your subscription's in the mail.)

Hannah Jones
Hannah Jones is the Associate Commerce Editor for Country Living, where she covers gift guides and other product recommendations.

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