1. Be yourself. “You can’t have an interior design identity crisis,” Jamie points out. “You can return a fuchsia scarf, but you can’t return a purple sofa with polka-dot pillows!” Stick to your personality and colors; straying from them can lead to inconvenient and costly mistakes.
2. Research your designer. “Don’t hire someone who’s willing to take on any project,” Jamie advises. “That’s like hiring a French chef to make fajitas. Since no one can design in every style, you need to understand how a designer thinks and evaluate if he or she can develop a platform that will fit your lifestyle and utilize his or her talents.”
3. Read your magazines. “Shelter publications have become so good,” Jamie laughs, “that homeowners don’t really need designers anymore! Use your favorite magazine’s photographs as recipes and follow them closely.” Follow Jamie’s advice and get ours here!
4. Work with neutrals. “It’s easy for color to become garish. But you can make your favorite color comfortable to live with if you just add white. If you love purple, decorate with lavender in a natural, tactile material.”
5. Add texture with lush window coverings. “Multiply your window width by three and buy that much fabric for thick panels. For a budget option and a neutral look, buy a sheer, outdoor fabric.”
6. Accessorize with color. “Think about your bedroom as you would an outfit. Your foundation pieces are your bed, dresser, chairs. Since you can’t change them cheaply, keep them neutral. Your accessories, however, are more changeable, so use them to add color.”
7. Decorate with flowers. “You can change a room’s look from romantic to casual just by changing the flowers. You can display flowers with long stems in an elegant, architectural vase, or a handful of lilies in a white ceramic bowl. It’s a lot more fun and inexpensive than investing in a strong color scheme.”
8. Balance fantasy and function. “Always keep mystery and romance in your room, but remember: there is no romance in scrubbing the floor.”
9. Shop smart. Take advantage of online vendors like jamieshop.com to get “designer pieces at wholesale prices.”
10. Don’t give up. “Your budget doesn’t have to dictate your look. Today, everyone wants an elegant but casual space, which means you can buy a beautiful crystal chandelier for $15,000 or $1,500.” With a strong sense of your own style and a bit of patience, you can find the perfect piece at the perfect price.
Written by Elaine K. Phillips
Photographed by Patrick Cline and Peter Rymwid