designer secrets

Dressing Your Room In Layers

I met with a new client last week and the words she used to describe what she wanted for her home was "casual elegance". This got me thinking about what those words actually meant. To me, it's a beautiful room that is well designed, but you aren't afraid to curl up on the sofa and watch a good movie. It has layers and character, and tells a story about the people who live there. Giving a room a story isn't as hard as it sounds. It requires some thought, but here are some easy steps to get you there. Accessories are the best way to add character to your room. Start with what you have. Family photos, souvenirs you picked up on vacation, books you love or even that bowl you inherited from you great aunt. Look around your house and gather things that mean something to you. I always ask clients to bring out what they already have when I'm accessorizing a room.  Below is a shelf detail from a study I recently did.  Everything belonged to the client.

Study Shelf Detail

Textiles give a room a welcome feeling and those could be pillows, throw blankets, rugs or window treatments. Most sofas come with matching pillows. Ditch those and get new ones that are in contrasting colors and textures. Pillows are easy to find and can be budget friendly, so don't be afraid to buy something that is bold.  The designer, Sarah Richardson, is a master at mixing fabrics for pillows.

Sarah Richardson


Art is also a great way to add a layer in your room. Think out of the box when hanging items on your wall. Plate hangers can turn your collection of antique platters into a unique piece of art. Ledge shelves, with art leaning on them, is another simple way to fill a wall with character. I have a shelf hanging above my desk and right now it's filled with things that mean so much to me - family photos, a print I picked up at the beach, a fun mug my son made at art camp and a pair of ceramic figurines that belonged to my mom.  Here's an idea I found on Pinterest and recreated it for my client's bedroom.  These are framed photos of their mountain cabin and bring back great memories each time they seem them.

Jennifer Taylor Design

If this sounds overwhelming, then think of your room like a beautiful outfit. Start with really good basics, then add a colorful scarf, sparkly earrings and the perfect shoes!

Blog Signature


Design Made Simple

A few months ago I was asked to speak at a Holiday Open House by one of my favorite stores, Chrysalis Fabrics.  I really needed to step out of my comfort zone, so I agreed.  I was the only interior designer on the agenda and I spoke about how to bring color into your room using fabrics.  I was super nervous, but was told I did a great job.  I definitely prefer the one-on-one presentations best, but this was a fun experience I'll always remember.

I'm sure I was talking about something really important here...
This was my look for a family room where I discussed how to layer fabrics, rugs, trims, wallpaper and accessories to bring in color.
This was my master bedroom look.  I loved that embroidered fabric and had to use it for my inspiration piece.  Sorry for the bad photo, but because I did this look last, I didn't have time to create a vignette.  This was my practice shot from the day before.

Here is the "script" I followed for my talk and I also handed this out to the audience.  It's just some simple tips you can use to bring color and design into your space!

Tips for Mixing Fabrics and Patterns
TIP #1
Start with an inspiration piece!  For me, that's a fabric, but it can be a rug or a piece of art.  If it's a fabric, select one with a pattern using the colors you want to bring in the space.  You don't have to use this particular fabric on anything large, even just a pillow is enough of a statement.
TIP #2
Then, start looking at coordinating fabrics.  Don't think about where a particular fabric will go, just get as many choices as you can.  Stripes, textured solids, small scale patterns, etc.  I'd find six or seven options, as you can easily edit once you are home.

TIP #3
Finally, when thinking about what fabrics will go where consider two things; the scale of the fabric and how durable it is.  Woven fabrics, with texture, are great for upholstered pieces that get a lot of use.  Linens, silks and embroidered fabrics work best for window treatments and pillows.  Color AND texture are important when mixing fabrics.  You not only want the fabrics to look good, but feel good.


TIP #4
Trims are your friend!  You can put them on pillows or use them as bands for simple drapery panels.  These are the details that will give your room its personality.
TIP #5
Keep trends for the smaller, inexpensive items in your space like pillows and accent chairs.  Bigger items (like your sofa) should be upholstered in a neutral fabric so you will love it for years to come!
TIP #6
Follow your gut.  9 times out of 10, you will go with the first fabric you liked.  Don't wait thinking something better might be out there.  Once you make that first commitment, then all the others will fall into place much easier.

If you have any questions about this post, or anything else.  Please leave me a comment.  I love to know that someone is actually reading my blog and will do my best to respond quickly.

Now, go bring some good design into your space!

A Little Secret

I wanted to share a little secret with my readers about two sites that offer great items for your home and the deals can be really good!

The first is One Kings Lane. You have to sign up to be able to access the web site, but it's worth it.  Each day they have new "sales" that feature either a collection of like items or a particular brand.  Most items have limited quantities and can sell out quickly.  Plus, they do not allow returns so shop carefully.  I've purchased lots of accessories from here and have been very pleased.  My sister recently found a great piece of art that was perfect in her house.  Here are some of my favorite finds from a few of their current sales:

The second is Joss and Main.  They work pretty much the same way as One Kings Lane.  I've never purchased anything from them, but I see one in my very near future.  Here are a few of my favorites they are currently featuring:

I hope you are able to take advantage of this little secret and find something fabulous for yourself!

Thanks for reading,