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How to Decorate

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We want to teach you how to decorate! We'll help you unleash your inner decorator with interviews from interior designers, sharing the trials and triumphs from our own homes, and answering your burning decorating questions. Brought to you from the Ballard Designs team. Continue Reading >>
We want to teach you how to decorate! We'll help you unleash your inner decorator with interviews from interior designers, sharing the trials and triumphs from our own homes, and answering your burning decorating questions. Brought to you from the Ballard Designs team. << Show Less
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Ep. 263 Pools, Patios, and Porches w/ landscape architect Brantley Snipes We had such positive feedback on our last episode with landscape architect Brantley Snipes, that we decided we had to have her back for part 2! Brantley is a Mississippi-based landscape architect as well as the owner, lead designer, and project manager for Brantley Snipes Landscape Design. Among many accolades, Brantley was named to the Greenwood Commonwealth’s Top 30 under 40. The last time we had Brantley on the show, we talked a lot about plants and softscaping. Today we “dive” into pools and other hardscaping elements.What You’ll Hear on This Episode:
What to consider when deciding to build a patio.
What are the pros and cons of concrete and when is it best to use it?
What other hard materials should be considered and when?
When should you consider using loose stone?
How to determine the size, depth, shape, etc. of a pool.
What to consider for the surrounding area of a pool; especially when kids are using it.
All about pool tiles…and why are they so limited?!
Considering liner vs. gunite pool surfaces.
Does Brantley recommend a pool cover, fence, or both?
What is a swim shelf?! And other popular pool accessories.
It’s important to consider pool storage, using the bathroom, and other elements of hosting/entertaining.
What is a realistic landscaping budget; for both softscaping and hardscaping?
Mentioned in This Episode:Ep 248: Creating Outdoor Spaces with Brantley SnipesBrantley Snipes Landscape & DesignBrantley Snipes Landscape & Design on Instagram Brantley Snipes Landscape & Design on FacebookOsmanthus Market
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Ep. 263 Pools, Patios, and Porches w/ landscape architect Brantley Snipes We had such positive feedback on our last episode with landscape architect Brantley Snipes, that we decided we had to have her back for part 2! Brantley is a Mississippi-based landscape architect as well as the owner, lead designer, and project manager for Brantley Snipes Landscape Design. Among many accolades, Brantley was named to the Greenwood Commonwealth’s Top 30 under 40. The last time we had Brantley on the show, we talked a lot about plants and softscaping. Today we “dive” into pools and other hardscaping elements.What You’ll Hear on This Episode:
What to consider when deciding to build a patio.
What are the pros and cons of concrete and when is it best to use it?
What other hard materials should be considered and when?
When should you consider using loose stone?
How to determine the size, depth, shape, etc. of a pool.
What to consider for the surrounding area of a pool; especially when kids are using it.
All about pool tiles…and why are they so limited?!
Considering liner vs. gunite pool surfaces.
Does Brantley recommend a pool cover, fence, or both?
What is a swim shelf?! And other popular pool accessories.
It’s important to consider pool storage, using the bathroom, and other elements of hosting/entertaining.
What is a realistic landscaping budget; for both softscaping and hardscaping?
Mentioned in This Episode:Ep 248: Creating Outdoor Spaces with Brantley SnipesBrantley Snipes Landscape & DesignBrantley Snipes Landscape & Design on Instagram Brantley Snipes Landscape & Design on FacebookOsmanthus Market
Ep. 262 What Makes Upholstery Last with Hope Austin The team welcomes Atlanta-based designer Hope Austin to the show today. Hope’s passion for craft started while working in design showrooms such as Brunschwig & Fils and Schumacher. She created her own brand, Hope Austin Interiors, where she works closely with her clients to create homes that are beautiful, comfortable and keep function top of mind. Hope talks about what’s going to make certain pieces last, starting with choosing a sofa that you like with fabric and patterns you will be excited about for years to come. She talks about how to treat the fabrics, some tips for having a nice sofa with kids and pets, and how to best clean when the inevitable wear and tear does happen. Hope also shares what she is putting in clients’ homes regarding counter stools, and how we can shop with realistic expectations.What You’ll Hear on This Episode:
What really makes a sofa last?
Hope gives her tips for having a nice sofa that is both kid and pet friendly.
How do you do a white sofa?
How you can use high performance fabrics and still have a punch of personality.
What color fabric has Hope been seeing people stay excited about long term?
Do practical and nice fabrics have to be expensive?
What’s the real expectation we should have for big items such as high performance fabric, dining chairs, upholstered beds and barstools?
Cleaning tips and frequency to keep your sofa nice and clean.
Why the fabric should be your #1 priority in picking out the sofa.
Mentioned in This Episode:
Hope Austin Interiors
@hopeaustinint
Ballard Designs Performance Fabrics
Sunbrella Performance Fabrics
InsideOut Performance Fabrics
Crypton Performance Fabrics
Ep. 261 Trials and Triumphs Today we’re catching up with this month’s trials and triumphs. Taryn is finally moving into The Schwartz House, which many of you have been following on Instagram. But…is it ready? Plus, we hear about Liz’s new kitchen renovation plans which include many upgrades but most importantly a dishwasher. Finally, Caroline tells us why she really wants to build a fence to complete the vision for her home.What You’ll Hear on This Episode:
Taryn’s moving day is FINALLY here….during a heat wave!
From stair railings to bathrooms, to fireplaces, and more; the finishing touches are almost complete in The Schwartz House.
What is the update on The Purple Dining Room?
The Schwartz House’s kitchen has come together with green and brass and other perfections.
Liz has the first set of architectural plans for renovating the kitchen in her 1930s home to include a butler’s pantry, extra shelves, a dishwasher, and more!
Caroline really, really, REALLY wants to build a fence.
Did Liz try to buy Caroline’s house or was there not enough curb appeal?
Mentioned in This Episode:The Schwartz House
Ep. 260 Best Ways to Make a Room Look Finished with Jenna Gross Today we are joined by Jenna Gross. Jenna is the founder of Colordrunk Designs here in Atlanta. Jenna grew up in the design business spending countless hours surrounded by textiles at her family's antique and upholstery shops. After working in the fashion industry with Marc Jacobs, Jenna turned her attention to interior design. Today she serves up masterful mixes of pattern and color concocting designs that are refreshing from start to finish. Jenna gives us all of her tips on creating a finished look in a room; everything from drapery, lighting, rugs, and–you guessed it–color!What You’ll Hear on This Episode:
What sets designer rooms apart from DIY rooms?
What timeline should people expect to achieve a fully finished look?
Jenna’s tips for choosing and hanging drapery.
How to get your lighting just right using different layers, lamps, and even can lights!
When to have pairs and when to have singles when you decorate.
Jenna’s advice for getting a rug that’s just right for the space in terms of size, texture, layering, and more.
How small details can pull together a room and allow for more customization.
How does Jenna like to use color on wood and millwork?
How can people with more neutral palettes in their rooms start to incorporate color?
What are Jenna’s thoughts on having to match various sources of color in the room?
We got to join Jenna at her Atlanta Homes & Lifestyle Showhouse room; inspired largely by vacation.
Decorating Dilemma:Hi Amy,It sounds like you want a really fun space. We say if you want to paint the plantation shutters, paint them how you want to see them in your space. We think you should definitely choose a fun wallpaper. If you decide you don’t like the plantation shutters, you can always take them down and do a fun Roman shade. Some of us really hate the plantation shutters (hint: Caroline) and are in favor of taking them off! As far as lacquer goes, you could do that or you could just do a high-gloss; we definitely wouldn’t do a matte. Have fun and make it as dramatic as possible because that seems to be what you’re really aiming for! We would say the Oyster Bay paint color is more of a neutral than anything bold, so it would be nice to use in the whole space. However, if you haven’t picked your wallpaper yet and you definitely want to use one, we would wait to pull a color from there. We would also paint the ceiling too!We are excited for you! We think it’s going to look great and would love to see the after photos!Mentioned in This Episode:Colordrunk DesignsColordrunk Designs on InstagramSoutheastern Showhouse
Ep. 259: Living Large in Small Spaces with Ginger Curtis We are joined today by Dallas-based designer Ginger Curtis of Urbanology Designs. Ginger is passionate about helping others elevate their home’s beauty, comfort, and function to create a stunning design. She has appeared in over 100 magazines and digital publications, as well as several TV & radio shows and podcasts. Her new book Beauty by Design is available now nationwide. Most recently Ginger was recognized as the winner of HGTV’s Designer of the Year award for her tiny home transformation. We talk about the details of that project as well as other tips and tricks for designing a small space, Ginger’s inspiring personal journey, and more!What You’ll Hear on This Episode:
Ginger discusses the origin of the tiny home project that won her the HGTV award.
Multi-use function is a key element when designing for a small space.
Is symmetry important for a small space?
Sharp corners will not be your friend; lean into relaxed and more rounded items.
Artwork can be used to create balance.
How to know when to lean into symmetry or asymmetry.
Are colors off-limits in a small space?
After multiple cancer journeys, Ginger realized the impact that homes have on your life.
The first thing Ginger does for her client’s homes is draw in the natural light.
Why Ginger’s favorite color is always evolving.
How you can use artificial lighting to balance the cast from natural light.
Ginger likes to choose her floors before cabinets.
Decorating Dilemma:Hi Hannah,Your home is lovely and I love the white wall color you chose. To first address the window treatments, yes definitely get them for texture and warmth! I would suggest using curtain panels but not two on each window. Instead, I would hang your curtain road above the arch so it’s really tall and just flank the far left and the far right side of each window with a double width or even triple width panel. Since you have the fireplace in the middle you don’t want to suffocate it. It will also add drama and it will draw the eye up. Personally, I prefer using ring clips and a pinch pleat when hanging curtains. When it comes to using a solid or a pattern, I think both are appropriate so it will be what your heart gravitates to. I would look at some inspiration photos with rooms that are light and bright and see what speaks to you! You can ask yourself questions like whether you want it to feel more formal or more relaxed.For other suggestions for the room, you could consider painting the fireplace mantle. A dark blue or green, charcoal, or even black; anything to add some weight to the walls since it’s all very light right now. As far as the furniture layout, I like what you have going on right now. On the right side of the couch you could consider a bench instead of a chair. It would add additional seating with also a unique design element. We love the bookshelf and the wallpaper, as well.We really think the window treatments are going to go a long way in transforming the space! Please send us after photos!Mentioned in This Episode:Urbanology DesignsUrbanology Designs on Instagram Beauty by DesignGinger’s Tiny Home Project for HGTV
Ep. 258: Giving New Builds Charm & Character with Brandon Ingram Today we are thrilled to welcome Georgia-native Brandon Ingram to the show. Brandon is a Georgia Tech alum and two-time winner of the prestigious Philip Shutze Award for Excellence in Classical Design from the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art (ICAA). In 2012 he founded C. Brandon Ingram design; a full-service residential design firm specializing in custom homes, renovations, and architectural interiors. His work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Southern Living, House Beautiful, Traditional Home, and more. Brandon has a special ability to craft homes that are rooted in history but also unique and of their time. He flawlessly weaves a sense of charm and familiarity through his use of subtle details. Brandon shares with us his best advice for giving a new build charm and character.What You’ll Hear on This Episode:
Brandon fell in love with classical architecture as a child in South Georgia.
Why Brandon advises clients to dig into their feelings and nostalgia when searching for a design style.
How true to the original design style of a house do you need to stay?
How to pick the moldings and other features that stay true to the house.
What Brandon recommends for reviving a 90’s architecture house.
Brandon recommends using Get Your House Right as a guide to working with your home’s architecture.
What materials you should prioritize when budgeting for a new build.
What works more often than not when choosing lighting for a new build?
What impact has Graceland had on Brandon’s personal design?
Why it’s important to have an expert help you to preserve the POV of the house.
Brandon’s simple details are what keep his designs classic.
What led Brandon to creating house plans?
What is the advantage of working with an official house plan vs. just working with a builder?
What is Brandon’s favorite style?
Outdoor living spaces have become a big focus in-home designs.
Are people still having large primary bedrooms including sitting areas?
Why Brandon doesn’t want to see traditional dining rooms go away but rather serve as multifunctional spaces.
Mentioned in This Episode:C. Brandon Ingram DesignC. Brandon Ingram on InstagramGet Your House Right
Ep. 257 Trials & Triumphs This week we're catching up with our trials and triumphs of the month. Thanks to an email from our listener Judith, we decided to talk about some of the Ballard Designs products we love! We talk about many products and how we style and customize them; from bedding to sofas to lighting and more. Plus, Taryn gives us an update on The Schwartz House…which is almost done!What You’ll Hear on This Episode:
How Caroline and Taryn customized their Brie Channel Bed and why Liz wants one!
Why we love our different bedding options and how we care for them.
Caroline loves our towels; especially the Suzanne Kasler Trimmed Towels, but Taryn is still on a mission for the perfect ones.
What Taryn likes about her new Suzanne Kasler Mathes sofa and her standby Sofia sofa.
Liz is asking the big question; sectional or no sectional?
Why the Hartwell Sofa may fit better under a window.
The Connelly Bench is great for additional seating and an easy piece to customize the fabric.
Caroline sold Taryn on Nala Stool. It’s a great nestler for extra seating!

The Schwartz House is going to be chock-full of Ballard products like lighting, mirrors, and wallpaper.
What is the update on the rest of The Schwartz House?
Taryn’s fireplace and sconce trials and what she’s learned from building a custom home.
Some of the tips and tricks Taryn got from you…our listeners!
Mentioned in This Episode:Brie Channel BedMargot Velvet BeddingBelgian Linen Sheet SetSuzanne Kasler Trimmed TowelsSuzanne Kasler Mathes SofaHartwell Upholstered SofaConnelly BenchNala StoolFelicity Acrylic Side TableAmelie Wall SconceBodhi Dome PendantAtoll MirrorFelix SconcesJuliet Floral WallpaperWorld Traveler WallpaperSpoonflower WallpaperThe Schwartz House
Ep. 256 Vibrant Interiors with Andrea Monath Schumacher We are so excited to welcome Andrea Monath Schumacher to the show. Andrea is an interior designer based out of Denver, Colorado. Her experience ranges from commercial and residential spaces, as well as set design for television at Days of Our Lives and Columbia Pictures. Her design style is heavily influenced by travel and emotion which is laced throughout her debut book Vibrant Interiors: Living Large at Home. She was named House Beautiful‘s Next Wave Designer and she’s also been featured in Architectural Digest, Veranda, and more. Today we talk about injecting personality into our interiors and how to tell a story with design. Andrea talks about how she taps into emotions to make a space feel warm, cozy, and inviting so her clients and guests can feel welcome to share their stories.What You’ll Hear on This Episode:
Andrea talks about her childhood and travels as the daughter of a virologist.
What does Andrea mean by “storytelling your interior”?
Why Andrea loves using conversation starters in her design.
Layering is a big key to making a space feel cozy.
The formal dining room is out and the multi-purpose dining room is in.
Andrea loves making a breakfast nook truly inviting and loungey.
What are Andrea’s tricks for designing to make people feel their best in their homes?
The story of how Andrea found her home and the items in it.
Why Andrea loves grasscloth everywhere; even on the ceilings.
How Andrea mixes and matches patterns.
What is in Andrea’s secondary kitchen?
Andrea’s tip for protecting her wallpaper.
More about Andrea’s textile and wallpaper collection.
How does Andrea like to bring art into her clients’ homes?
Decorating Dilemma:Hi Krista,That whole corner where the tree is, I would put an L-shaped banquette. As far as the table, I would probably find a pedestal/center-based table so it’s easier to get in and out. I don’t like to throw anything away so I would find a way to repurpose it; maybe even as a desk? You could even cut the legs down to use as a tea-height table in the living room! I think the glass table in the living room is too small so that would be perfect. The chairs are fine, and if you had a banquette you could use them on the outside of the eating area. If you were to do the banquette, you would have to swag the lighting fixture to put it over the space. With kids, a zinc top table and/or an oval shape is great. I don’t think you need a rug if you use lots of cozy pillows or fabrics at the banquette, but if you want one you could use an indoor/outdoor rug. With kids, you need something easy to clean. I think you can also use drapery to warm up the space since the window coverings are sparse; you can even do a mock valence to make it look wider if those are operable blinds.Good luck, Krista!Mentioned in This Episode:Andrea Schumacher InteriorsAndrea Schumacher Interiors on InstagramVibrant Interiors: Living Large at HomeLiesl Collection
Ep. 255: Breaking Design Rules with Summer Thornton We are thrilled to welcome Chicago-based interior designer Summer Thornton to the show. Her work has appeared in Architectural Digest, ELLE Decor, House Beautiful, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times, as well as on the recent cover of Veranda. Her style is described as maximalist with a modern sensibility, whimsical textiles, bold art, and surprising patterns. She also wrote a fabulous and fun new book called Wonderland: Adventures in Decorating. We talk all about Summer’s fantastic use of colors, how to break the rules, and how if you really love something it’s never “too much”!What You’ll Hear on This Episode:
We talk about how much we all love Summer’s coffee table book Wonderland: Adventures in Decorating.
Why Summer loves using her dining room table as a “stage” when entertaining.
How does Summer account for having two young children when designing?
What are Summer’s guidelines for coming up with a color scheme?
How you can break the color rules of a color palette and make it work.
Summer’s biggest tip for designing a room is to try to plan it all at once.
Summer thinks the important investment pieces are fabric and textiles.
What are some of Summer’s favorite fabrics, colors, and combinations?
Summer loves using bold and fanciful shapes.
To layer and “make it work”, Summer really recommends truly loving everything in your space.
Rules that Summer likes to break like using neutral sofas and the idea of throwaway spaces.
Summer is designing a beach dream house in Mexico. Follow the progress for Casa Rosada Sayulita!
Summer’s final tip is to use a larger sample swatch to truly see a color.
Decorating Dilemma:Hi Deb,I love the idea of incorporating an older piece into this space. I don’t like rooms that have all painted furniture, so I think the concept of using a wood tone balances this. What I think might be throwing things off is the style of this piece; I think it’s maybe too delicate compared to the other pieces. That said, if you wanted to try to paint it, you could see if that helps it fit in better. Otherwise, I would recommend getting a different piece with a wood stain finish; I do think that works well. The other thing to consider is the styling; I would maybe take the runner off and style the lamp with a more modern shade. If you wanted to try, you could also bring more warm tones in to incorporate with this piece; maybe something like throw pillows and/or a floral fabric. I think you could live it up a little and change that wall color! If you are set on neutral, really soft pink or if you want to stay on the cool side a light lavender is a good place to start dipping your toe into colors.Good luck, Deb! Pick up Summer’s book for inspiration and send us pics!Mentioned in This Episode:Summer Thornton DesignSummer Thornton Design on InstagramWonderland: Adventures in DecoratingCasa Rosada Sayulita“The Blue Room” - Lakeshore Drive Co-Op<a href="https://shop.veranda.com/veranda-magazine-sem.html?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=ver-sem-rsa-redesign&utm_id=go_cmp-13385997330_adg-122786551643_ad-594413976914_kwd-36303651_dev-c_ext-_prd-_mca-_sig-CjwKCAjw4ayUBhA4EiwATWyBrn0Yl6VtE_TDEQbAEsMJkaNkSgJd2Ur2I35WcN0b82nmwGmJKmxDTxoCLm0QAvD_BwE&utm_source=google&gclid=CjwKCAjw4ayUBhA4EiwATWyBrn0Yl6VtE_TDEQbAEsMJkaNkSgJd2Ur2I35Wc
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