“Start with a beautiful rug, as large as you can fit, to ground the room.” Cheri Martin, Cheri Etchelecu Interior Design
“Don’t design spaces that will go unused.” Paul Draper, Paul Draper + Associates
“Do go slow and buy the best you can afford, such as a fine rug or a great painting. Leave a wall blank until you find just the right thing.” John Phifer Marrs, John Phifer Marrs Inc.
“Don’t purchase the wrong-size rug for your space. A rug that is too small makes the entire room look like an afterthought.” Abbe Fenimore, Studio Ten 25
“Design and draw spaces before purchasing anything. Have a plan!” Cheryl van Duyne, CVD Interior Design
“Make your home livable and functional, but don’t forget to add things you love that make your home a reflection of your personality.” Carolina V. Gentry, Pulp Design Studios
“Do not order furniture without measuring and laying it out to scale in your space.” Jen Mauldin, Mauldin Designs
“Let the architecture take the lead.” Pam Kelley, Pam Kelley Designs
“Buy well-made upholstery. The items may be more expensive on the front end, but you will never regret buying high quality. You will keep them much longer and can always reupholster.” Lisa Henderson, Lisa Henderson Interiors
“Use custom window coverings. Ready-made curtains always look off.” Samantha Fisher, Samantha Fisher Interior Design
“Plan for great lighting before anything else.” Stephen Dunn, Stephen Dunn Designs
“Include lots of windows. Natural light is key to happy and healthy living.” Michael Turner, Classic Urban Homes
“Don’t slavishly adhere to a photo.” Barry Williams, Williams Design
“Mix personal pieces with new and custom, vintage and antiques.” Carrie Hatfield, Carrie Hatfield Interior Design
“Use as many antiques as reproductions. There’s no substitute for the soulfulness they can add to a space.” Sara See, Sees Design
“Layer everything—patterns, finishes, lighting, art, pillows. The ability to layer is key.” Janelle Burns, Maestri Studio
“Freshen up your pillows and throws each season in main living areas. It can completely change the look of a room without breaking the bank.” Denise McGaha, Denise McGaha Interiors
“Incorporate symmetry.” Todd Shaddock, Shaddock Caldwell
“No fake flooring.” Susan Newell, Susan Newell Custom Homes
“Don’t do the same thing twice.” Todd Shaddock, Shaddock Caldwell
“Don’t buy art just because it matches your pillows. Complementary color will take you much further in layering your space. Art can be all different types of medium. It doesn’t always have to be a painting.” Carrie Hatfield, Carrie Hatfield Interior Design
“Never stagger pictures except on a staircase.” Joe Minton, Joseph Minton Inc
“Always think of the sightlines through a space and take advantage of maximizing and strategically placing windows.” Eddie Maestri, Maestri Studio
“Eye-level lighting is the most important element in making humans look their best.” Jan Showers, Jan Showers & Associates
“Don’t use texture on walls.” Lisa Henderson, Lisa Henderson Interiors
“Don’t be afraid to splurge on a quality or unique piece for your home. Homes are investments, and your furnishings should be no different.” Carolina V. Gentry, Pulp Design Studios
“Don’t listen to too many people.” Michelle Nussbaumer, Ceylon et Cie
“Pattern and color! The more, the better.” Amy Berry, Amy Berry Design
“Stretch beyond your comfort zone.” Dona Rosene, Dona Rosene Interiors
“Don’t be afraid to purchase art or accessories that you don’t have a plan for yet. If you love it, buy it, and there will be a place for it in your home.” Denise McGaha, Denise McGaha Interiors
“I prefer a monochromatic look, so the texture of the trim becomes the surprise element.” Sara Sees, Sees Design
Why Upholstery Weight is Important
30,000 Double Rubs
Every time you sit on your sofa, you cause a tiny bit of damage. That’s why designers care about double rubs, which are a measure of how many times a fabric can be rubbed before it starts to show wear. For an upholstered sofa that is likely to see continual abuse from several active children and a big dog, Pulp Design Studios co-founder Carolina V. Gentry chooses fabric with at least 30,000 double rubs. How do you discover the double-rub count of a fabric you adore? It’s right on the label.
Fit and Trimmed
In the 1980s, you could hardly swing a lamp base without hitting a fringed pillow or a tasseled drape, but trim fell out of fashion for a good long while. Now you can thank your lucky pom poms: Intriguing embellishments like beads, braids, and cords are back in style.
The Whole Nine Yards
Brenda Baxter of Custom Drapery Designs tells us how much fabric to buy for a few common items.
Three-Cushion Sofa: 19 yards
Wingback Chair: 7 yards
Stationary Drapery: 19 yards
Queen-Size Headboard: 7 1/2 yards
(All measurements are for 54-inch-wide fabric.)
M&M Upholstery demonstrates different types of pillows and trims.
A decorative cord, or welting, hides the seam of a knife-edge pillow.
A front, a back, and four flat sides create a true box shape.
Front and back edges taper together sharply.
Fabric extends beyond the seam to create a fluttery edge.
Just Stuff It
Down holds its loft and is very soft. Feathers are stiffer and cheaper than down but also heavier. Cotton is hypoallergenic but eventually compacts. Polyester fiberfill is less expensive but clumps. Foam rubber holds its shape but crumbles in time. Your best bet? A down-feather-cotton combo that is at once voluptuous and practical.