From The N&O Design Team

Designer’s advice: Start with what you love

September 14, 2012 

COURTESY OF LAURA SIMSON PHOTOGRAPHY

Design philosophy in 25 words: If you build on the foundation of pieces you love first, and add practical elements tailored to your lifestyle, you’ll have a space that is perfectly you.

Next big décor trend: Adding a wow-factor to your ceiling. There are some amazing wallpapers making their way onto the marketplace that would really punch up the usually forgotten “sixth surface.”

Décor trend that’s ready to retire: Over-styled, impractical spaces. While we may enjoy imagining ourselves curled up in the pages of a glossy design magazine, usually those rooms are just as they appear: picture perfect yet impractical for everyday life. If you are going to make-over a room, shouldn’t you actually be able to live in it?

Best decor bargain you’ve ever scored: A federal-style buffet found at a thrift shop for about $75. It took a lot of elbow grease and a little paint and stain, but I couldn’t imagine any other piece in my dining nook.

Fun design twist for a little girl’s bedroom: Unexpected color combinations. There is a short window of time in one’s life when having a hot pink and orange room is acceptable. Take a risk and go (a little) color crazy.

Every living room should have: A bookcase. Big bonus if you have room for built -ins. One of my favorite things is to accessorize a bookshelf. It’s the perfect place to curate and showcase a collection of books, items and pictures you’ve collected over the years.

Money’s no limit but you can only buy one thing for your home. What is it and why? A classic well-built North Carolina-manufactured sofa, covered in luxurious linen. A well-constructed sofa can withstand the test of time and can be recovered and refurbished instead of replaced.

Favorite design blog: I have two: “Pink Wallpaper” pinkwallpaper.blogspot.com and “Aesthetic Oiseau” aestheticoiseau.com/

Biggest design mistake: Thinking of lighting as an after-thought. Proper, well thought-out lighting makes a room sparkle, adds depth and creates ambiance. Always remember to layer light: task, accent and ambient.

My best tip for do-it-yourself designers: Always give a project a try, but don’t be ashamed to hire a pro. There are lots of easily accessible ideas floating around places like Pinterest, but the projects aren’t always as simple as they seem. Sometimes a quick consult with a pro keeps you on the right track, saving you money in the long run.

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