Is re-upholstering worth the money? “A Reupholstering is expensive, but if the piece of furniture is well made, then it can be worth doing. I know someone who has had the same sofa for 40 years and has reupholstered it three times during that lifespan. It’s costly because the process doesn’t only involve changing the outer fabric; the upholsterer also has to tighten the frame and change the springs, padding and cushion inserts as needed. What you end up with is essentially a new piece, and in some cases, this could still cost less than buying brand-new. If you’re unsure whether your piece is in good enough condition, ask for your upholsterer’s opinion and weigh the benefits of reupholstering versus buying new. If your sofa wasn’t high-quality to begin with, there’s no sense in throwing good money after bad.” Designer Cameron Macneil

Color, Where is the best place to use it?  “Color is best used in small spaces that you pass through. A dramatic color in a room where you’re going to be spending a lot of time might feel too heavy or dark, but if you use it in a foyer or pantry, it makes the whole house feel colorful It also makes the house feel bigger, because it turns a space you might not notice into one that catches your attention.” John Barman

Don’t Be Afraid Of Having Too Many Chairs -“Today everyone likes rooms sparse, but for a living room, you need the sorts of chairs people can pull up together, so that they want to come into the room and sit down and chat.” Paula Perlini

Showcase Your Favorite Finds “A photographer I worked with taught me the importance of the axial view. When you’re looking down a corridor, you want a wonderful object at the end of it to draw you forward—a sculpture, a chandelier, anything to define the space and pull you in.”Nancy Braithwaite

When Renovating or Building -“Spend the money to make openings between rooms as high as possible—anything to get away from the standard, squat 7-foot-tall door. It really creates a sense of openness, lightness, and grandeur in a space.” Suzanne Lovell

Outdoor porch curtains?  Special material needed?   I also love the look of drape panels on a porch — they’re perfect for privacy and blocking out the sun, and I find they have a certain romance to them. A lot of people use inexpensive ready-made cotton drapes, usually with a grommet or tab-style heading. These work fine, but can easily get stained or fade from exposure to sunlight. I’ve seen more and more outdoor drapes made of acrylic or polyester recently. They’re softer than the materials used for awnings, but are still stain- and mildew-resistant and won’t fade. I’ve kept mine up through the winter without any problems. West Elm has woven-polyester grommetted outdoor drapes in solid white or flax, either of which would look quite dreamy on a veranda. Treated outdoor drapery rods are available, but I’ve simply used a black indoor one. You may have to touch it up with spray paint if any rust appears, which is easy enough to do. Install the rod so that the panels hang about 1 and a half off the porch floor to prevent the hem from getting dirty” Designer Cameron MacNeil

Breaking Up Sets Of Furniture One thing you will never see in a Nate Berkus interior? “You’ll never see a set of furniture. Ever. I think we can all do better than that. I know instant interiors are tempting, but it goes against my entire philosophy: that a room should evolve over time, and a good interior is assembled and feels layered and collected. I have no problem with clients who buy sets of furniture, but I will always break them up: use them in different rooms, paint or refinish some pieces or add different tops. Put a nightstand in the family room as a side table, or try a dresser as a serving piece in a dining room. I think that if you use a little creativity your home can feel much more personal. Designer Nate Berkus

What furniture piece always looks more expensive than it is?– “A classic Parsons table is pretty universal. You can dress it up with a pair of lamps or drape it. It can be used as a desk, sideboard, entry table or nightstand. Those are the kind of things you don’t have to spend a lot of money on”  Designer Nate Berkus

Knowing Where The Fine Line Is “One of my mentors always said, ‘Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Great projects are the ones that show a little restraint”. Heather Hilliard

Espalier wallpaper from Pierre Frey

Espalier wallpaper from Pierre Frey

 

 

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