Nashville interior designer~Top 10 design tips

Bonus tip. Here I mixed an inexpensive sofa with original art by Marabeth Quinn. I also mixed in some expensive silk zebra pillows with a crewel pillow from Pottery Barn. The stools I had custom made and the lamp is from lamps plus. My Tip, Mix your elements. Combine investment pieces with economical pieces to achieve balance and overall uniformity.

Bonus Tip. Keep it SIMPLE! Don't over clutter a space. Use items that are special and unique to you. Mix it up. Everything goes together if done simply. Here I have mixed wicker chairs with burlap pillows and a Louis VI style hand painted chest. I have combined it with a very modern lamp and original artwork.

Some days being a designer can feel like being a rock star. People swoon at me like I hold the key to all their decorating solutions. And I do, because I'm a DESIGNER. With alluring aptitude I wave my magic designer wand and create a formula for world peace. Or at least domestic peace within the family! Designers have the ability to mix, infuse, interpret and answer every decorating need you have and often times throw in a little clever surprise, that captivates and excites you. That is why you hire us. We help you push that visual envelope, get you outside of that comfortable box ( that you have grown accustomed to) and whack you up side the head with imagination, enchantment and maybe a little witchcraft if necessary.

.....mirror, mirror on the wall isn't this chair the most spectacular of all!!!

I may not be able to tell you what 16 x 2 is, (off the cusp), or tell you which senator is currently cheating on his wife,(without google) but I can tell you that the chair you just purchased is all wrong, and the paint color looks lavender because you didn't take into consideration the reflection from the pool. I have been at this for over 12 years, and I have learned that while I may not be able to answer the above questions without help, but I can expertly whip your space into shape with my eyes shut. No it isn't witchcraft (but if it convinces you to get that awesome sofa, the one I've told you to purchase three times because I swear to holy heaven it's the answer to all peace in humanity, I cannot be responsible if I must take unavoidable action). I may not be able to solve all the worlds conundrums but I do hold the key to some of the worlds most burning question:

"What are some tips you can give us!"

It really is an enigma to me. I find it weird that I can select a color with ease, draw a lighting plan without restraint and space plan your furniture like a ninja while walking AND chewing gum! I guess being a DESIGNER really is like being a rock star, only prettier and cleaner. So here it is, my top ten design tips:

Tip 1. Take the ordinary and make it extraordinary. Use every day items in a new way. Make it fun, unexpected and special.

Tip 2. Add the element of fire. Many fireplace companies are making portable fireplaces. Here the homeowner uses one as a space divider and focal point. They are clean burning, enjoyable and create a conversation piece.

Tip 3. Reversible draperies. Custom draperies are WORTH the money. But to get more bang for your buck, add a decorative fabric where lining would typically be. This allows you to turn the draperies around for different seasons or moods.

Tip 4. Details. One reason designers are worth their weight in gold, they think about the details. I purchased this sofa at highpoint back in October. I didn't want just another "beige" sofa. I wanted something special, different, but not for obvious reasons. Every time my client has a guest to her home they are shocked and thrilled by this little inexpensive DETAIL.

Tip 5. Size matters. If you take ANY tip from this post, this is the one to REMEMBER. Im a Nazi about scale and proportion. Always go for the gold. Go big or go home. My philosophy is do less with more. Get rid of the clutter and knick knack tchotchke's. Do a few choice pieces, in a larger scale and call it a day. Back away from the crap!

Tip 6. Walls and ceiling's. So often homeowners forget about walls and ceilings as decorative potential. Throw some paint on it and it's finished. Add DETAIL and interest with nailheads. This not only allows a visual stopping point to relieve the eyes, but adds visual interest with the particulars, in an area not thought of as important.

Tip 7. Storage. Get creative. Book shelves and furniture are not always the answer. Use some fabric and your walls become a great place to store magazines, drawings, and anything else the kids can throw in there with a wall pocket.

Tip 8. Rethink. This goes back to making the ordinary into something extraordinary. Rethink your storage solutions. Does it need to be the way it has been for 100 years? How great would this be in a dining room as wine storage? How about in an office as paper storage? Or blueprint storage.

Tip 9. Mantles. I love making mantles larger than life. Extended mantles past their "expected" areas is one of my trade marks. It creates visual balance, intrigue, and a great area for display.

Tip 10. Mirrors. This is in designers 101. It is one of the easiest solutions to ALL problems. This little work horse can create such magic in the simplest and least expensive ways!

There you have it. My top ten or so design tips. Everyone of these tips has been used by me in my interiors, at one time or another. Be sure to check back next week for one of my most favorite specialties, lighting. Over the years I have become a connoisseur in lighting. It completely makes a home, and creates a mood that furniture and architecture cannot do on it's own.

Images courtesy of,,,, and the charlotte design show house.

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