I love reading Architectural Digest. Since I was a kid, I have been fascinated with reading fashion and design magazines. They have always inspired me, and at times provided me with the creativity I need. I recently read a great article on the decorating secrets of Top 10 home designers on Architectural Digest. I loved reading about each of their creative ideas. I have included my perspective on each of their secrets below.
In the dining room of a Connecticut home, velvet-clad Victoria Hagan Home Collection chairs surround a table from the same line.
“For dining tables, I prefer 72″ round models. They’re really versatile. You can easily seat 12 at a dinner party, but they also work nicely for six to eight.”
Mel: I have to say I love love love a roundtable. I always found rectangular tables to be limiting in terms of conversation. Roundtables require a larger dining room, but is a much better set up, in my opinion.
A table setting at Muriel Brandolini’s Hamptons home.
“I prefer table settings that are colorful and multilayered, like my interiors.”
Mel: Totally agree with this approach. I am a big fan of colored plates, layers, flowers, and good quality linen at my dinner tables when I host.
3. Miles Redd
Photography by Roger Davies
“Everything I ever learned about lighting and lampshades was from Vincent Fourcade. His idea was that a room should have about 40 sources of light, each with a five-watt bulb.” The antique chandelier in the dining room of this California home is from Florian Papp.
Mel: I don’t know about 40 sources of light, but I do believe there should be different sources of light in a room, and a dimmer in at least every room. I even have a dimmer in one of my bathrooms in New York City. I am also a huge fan of drapes and blackouts.
4. Bunny Williams
“I find linen sheets to be too hot, and I don’t like sateen because it’s slippery, but cotton percale has a crisp, cool feel to it that is really wonderful. Julia B. makes incredible percale sheets that are very soft, and their hand-stitched custom embroidery is extraordinary.”
Mel: You can spend a lot of money on sheets for sure. I will do another post on sheets only, but here are a few of my favorite brands. Magic Linen, SFerra, Sijo Home, and Boll & Branch.
5. Rafael de Cárdenas
Mel: A lighting fixture makes or breaks a whole room or house. It is one of the most important accents in a home. I am also a huge fan of chandeliers. I do agree that size of a chandelier is just as important as the style. Going the opposite size of the room sometimes makes sense and sometimes does not, in my opinion.
6. Simon Rawlings
“At David Collins Studio, interiors very often start with the lighting. Inevitably it proves to be the most difficult element to get right, but the drama created by a unique chandelier really is not to be compromised.”
The Wolseley restaurant in London, designed by David Collins Studio.
Mel: Many years ago, I walked into my friend’s parents’ house, and they had an amazing red chandelier from Murano, Italy hanging over the circular bar that was always used during their events. To this day, I always remember that design element, and have thought to use something similar and bold in our next home. Chandelier is another element that can make or break a room. One other tip I have for you is, if you are ever selling your home, remember that anything attached to the wall in most states is a part of the property, especially if it is in the listing pictures or not noted within your contracts/listing. Don’t make the same mistakes I have made as you look to sell your homes, and exchange your chandeliers before the sale!
7. Penny Drue Baird
Mel: I am a huge fan of wallpaper. I generally like to use it either on one wall only in a room or in a dining room. I love texture and bold colors when it comes to the paper. I have found that it is very important to find a perfectionist to install your wallpaper. Someone who works like an artist who will provide you with the precision you need.
8. Thomas Pheasant
“I use Edelman Leather’s suede hides cut into blocks as an unexpected wall texture in classical rooms. It helps relax a formal atmosphere.”
An entry hall by Thomas Pheasant features suede walls.
Mel: Leather or suede adds great texture to a room. When I use bold elements like this, I like to limit it to one wall.
9. Vicente Wolf
“A geometric carpet is a great way to bring pattern to a room with solid upholstery. If you have a small space, try combining lacquered walls and a carpet with two pile heights to give the room depth and make it seem larger.”
A library designed by Vicente Wolf, with a Stark carpet.
Mel: I have used rugs with geometric patterns and truly changes the room. For me, when it comes to rugs or carpets, it is all about the design and texture. Since I have had a baby, I have been even more concerned about the texture and fabric. I love hardwood floors, but I do think rugs have great use for breaking up a room into different sections or just warming up the feel of the room.
10. William Sofield
“P. E. Guerin, in Greenwich Village, is the quintessential artisan foundry. Creating extraordinary hardware and fittings is a highlight of my job, and I often start my projects with a door handle, as I find that the tactile elements in a home are the most memorable.”’
Mel: 100% agree that hardware and fittings are huge. They are the dressing of a great salad. Without it, nothing rhymes or looks right. What makes a home are those very details. Splurging on these items will go a long way.
P. E. Guerin fittings grace a bathroom by William Sofield.
What do you think about these decorating secrets? Do you have any additions?