Grab These Smart and Stylish Design Ideas From the Pros


“Lighting is not an accessory but an intrinsic part of design. You should never have just one light source in a room. Layers of light can make the difference between a room that no one wants to be in and a room that everyone loves to enjoy. Lighting is also the area where you can be more dramatic and push yourself beyond your normal comfort zone. A unique fixture in a timeless space gives the design a fresh, eclectic twist. I love to add hanging light fixtures to living spaces instead of using all recessed lighting, as it automatically creates a chic focal point and destination that welcomes conversation and gathering.”

– Kim Mitchell, KAM Design


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“When you’re styling a console or coffee table, try this mistake-proof recipe for curating the accessories. Start with the anchor pieces, such as two or three vases, lamp(s), or a sculpture. Add a stack or stacks of large coffee table books (two to three books per stack) on art, fashion, history, or architecture. Layer interesting objects of glass, silver or gold, and wood; choose low pieces that can sit on books. Mixed textures — like smooth and rough, matte and shiny — look great together. Add something personal, such as a travel memento, a cherished heirloom, or a favorite gift; and something organic, like fresh flowers, as a final touch. Finish by editing out a few pieces. Less is always better.”

-Debra Funt​, Debra Funt Interiors



Wallpaper has really come back into vogue, and I’m big on using it to bring visual interest to less-expected places, such as a cool wallpaper on a ceiling in a library or paper on the back of bookshelves, to jazz things up. Adding wallpaper enhances the space by creating texture and an element of surprise. It’s fun and elevates the room, making it a happier place. My favorite go-to collections are Phillip Jeffries and
Maya Romanoff.”

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-Nancy Davilman​, ND Interiors



“My best advice to clients who are creating a new home is to allow us to start designing from the interior out to the architecture and landscape. This project was especially successful because our team participated in the interiors, architecture, and landscape design. The house footprint developed into a shape from which all rooms opened to the great lawn and pool pavilion terrace through 10-foot French doors. We incorporated brise soleil around the perimeter of the private yard and incorporated an open-air loggia with limestone walls, fireplace, and circular skylight to allow our architecture to embrace nature.”

-Anthony Minichetti​, Anthony Minichetti Architect

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“Great design takes time. If you want a beautiful pool/pool house to enjoy next summer, start assembling your team today: an architect, landscape architect, interior designer, and general contractor. The architect will work with you on the pool house design, collaborating with the landscape architect on the best location to build the pool house and pool. Location is just as important as design. While the landscape architect develops plantings to complement the construction, the interior designer is putting the finishing touches on your little slice of heaven. Then, your general contractor rounds out the team with quality tradesmen and a timely work schedule to make your summer dream a reality.”

-Michael Murphy, Murphy



“I like to layer monochromatic colors in a room. For instance, different shades of gray layered create a cozy yet polished feeling. The wall color, sofa, pillows, and rug all represent this, and the same concept is used for the aqua pops in the room. If you want to follow trends, do so with the rugs and pillows — pieces that can be changed easily. When you install tile or use a pattern on a sofa, it’s more costly and difficult to change in
the future.” 

-Brittany Zachos, Zachos Design Group



Clients are always asking me if they should install custom built-ins rather than find a piece of furniture to serve the same purpose. It depends on the circumstances, but 99 percent of the time the answer is definitely install a built-in. Our firm designs and creates many custom built-ins using our team of highly skilled carpenters. There’s nothing more streamlined, functional, and beautiful than a well-designed built-in, whether it’s a TV unit with lots of storage to hide wires, playroom storage units, custom bathroom vanities, or mudroom storage.

-Lara Michelle, Lara Michelle Beautiful Interiors


Photo by Joshua McHugh


Installing pendants at the bedside not only delights the eye, it frees up space on your bedside tables. Select shapely fixtures; lighting can serve as the jewelry of a space. Accessories on glass tables create a decorated yet modern aesthetic. I especially like ceramics on glass tables for a mix of earthy and crisp.

-Elena Frampton, Frampton Co.



My personal design philosophy: Your home should tell the story of who you are and be a collection of what you love. When I think about the design of a particular room, I always add an element of the homeowner’s history, hobbies, family, or personal attributes to make the space unique to who they are. I believe when you walk into a room you should be able to understand the people who live there.

-Shannon Murray Petruzello​, Shannon Murray Interiors


Photo by Jane Beiles


“If you can do one thing for your house, install good window treatments. They not only make a room look finished and cozy, they also do wonders for acoustics. Also, to get a high-end look on a budget, paint all trims and molding in a super high-gloss finish. It makes trim pop and adds a level of luxury. To make a lower ceiling feel higher, trick the eyes by painting it in Benjamin Moore Clear Skies (reduce the strength by 85 percent; i.e., more white and less blue). It creates a space that feels open and serene.”

-Rajni Alex, Rajni Alex Design



Never underestimate the impact the walls themselves have in creating the desired look. I use wallpaper or a deep paint color wherever possible for the ultimate statement, especially in dining areas and bedrooms. One of my favorite tricks is layering rugs. Rugs can be expensive, so I often recommend spending more on a smaller rug and layering it over a natural fiber to add warmth and cover the
desired area.

-Barrett Oswald Barrett Oswald Designs

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