Elizabeth Lavin

Interior Design

Try These Designer-Approved Finishing Touches to Round Out Your Room Redesign

From metal accents to paint finishes, these tiny touches can make a huge impact.

This story is part of The Best Designers in Dallas 2021 feature. Click here to see the 2021 winners.

As any good designer will tell you, the smallest details can make a big difference in a room’s look and feel. Here, the Best Designers in Dallas 2021 share their go-to metals, paint finishes, and fabrics for making a statement.

Metal

When choosing fixtures or hardware, which metals get the gold, silver, and bronze? Regardless of their favorites, designers agree that mixing a variety of metals yields the best results—and, notes Josh Pickering of Pickering House Interiors,  ensures your interiors “can weather the passing of trends.”

  • Unlacquered Brass This was by far the no. 1 vote-getter. “It is a living finish, changing over time in interesting ways, yet it can be brought back up to natural polish if you prefer,” says Sherry Hayslip of Sherry Hayslip Interiors. The only downside? It requires maintenance.
  • Matte Black “Matte black is contemporary, but we think it’s a classic,” says Traci Connell of Traci Connell Interiors. “It can create a more casual appearance in a space.”
  • Nickel “I love nickel in bathrooms and kitchens because it is durable and warm,” says Jan Showers of Jan Showers & Associates. It’s available in polished or brushed finishes, though the latter is much easier to keep clean.
  • Alloy Alternative “Copper actually has anti-microbial properties and kills 99 percent of bacteria within two hours.” —Kathy Adcock-Smith, Adcock-Smith Design

 

Paint

Whether you dress your walls in soothing white or bold blue, the finish you choose can take the same shade from subtle to glam. We asked our winners for a paint primer.

  • Flat The matte finish is most forgiving of wall textures and imperfections, not to mention easy to touch up—but difficult to clean. “They can be tricky with children in the house,” says Carrie Hatfield of Carrie Hatfield Interior Design. Philip Thomas Vanderford of Studio Thomas James says, “I find myself using almost all paint finishes on most projects. The beauty is the tension between the varying sheens.”
  • Eggshell “Our go-to for kids’ bedrooms and bathrooms,” says Traci Connell of Traci Connell Interiors. “It’s not as matte as flat, but it’s as close as you will get and still be able to wipe off sticky fingerprints!”
  • Semi-Gloss A go-to for millwork and trim. Cheri Etchelecu Martin of Cheri Etchelecu Interior Design suggests choosing sound-absorbing fabrics and rugs if going with glossy walls, as it “can cause a lot of sounds to reverberate, especially if the floor is also a hard, reflective surface.”
  • High-Gloss Designers love the grand effect that high-gloss paint brings to walls and ceilings, but warn that any imperfections will be magnified. “You will need tip-top prep on your sheetrock,” says Kathy Adcock-Smith of Adcock-Smith Design.

 

Fabric

We’re living in a material world—just ask our designers. They take us to school on which textiles are best for certain applications, and why they love them.

  • Linen “Linen is not my favorite for window treatments, as it is always wrinkling and expanding and contracting.” —John Marrs, John Phifer Marrs Interiors
  • Silk/Satin “Silk is a very expensive choice that has a ton of upkeep, but it is a very rich and beautiful fabric that has a hand like no other. We use it in very specific places that are far from children, pets, or everyday wear and tear.” —Traci Connell, Traci Connell Interiors
  • Leather “I love to use leather in unexpected ways—for welt trim or rug binding.” —Janelle Burns, Maestri Studio
  • Performance “Performance fabrics have protectants within the fibers, so you can clean them with soap and water and don’t have to worry about anything staining them. Such a relief!” —Christina Garcia, Layered Dimensions Interior Design
  • Wool/Mohair “Mohair, a wool, is a great choice for its subtle shimmer and luxe feel. Also, it’s surprisingly durable.” —Susan Bednar Long, S.B. Long Interiors

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