Two special guests you may already know are joining me today, Kelly Wilkniss and Anita Joyce, from Decorating Tips and Tricks Podcast. I love their podcast, and the information they share is so harmonious with what I share with you. With this being such a natural connection, it was a no-brainer for me to have them on the show to share about themselves and give some of their favorite tips and tricks for decorating.
This episode, we discuss…
[2:07] Kelly and Anita share their lives before design + how they go into interior design
Before Kelly reinvented herself by going into the interior design space, she was an attorney. She had just moved from New York to California but didn’t want to retake the California bar in 2013. That’s also when she began her interior design blog, as she had always loved interior design and garden design.
She didn’t know much about the blogging space when she started, but that is how she and Anita met, and she met other incredible women from the community she had created. At the same time, Kelly started taking private design clients in her neighborhood. Everyone who saw her work for her clients was very impressed and wanted her to help them in their own homes. Finally, it became clear to her that she might have a business. So in 2017, Kelly and Anita joined forces to start the Decorating Tips and Tricks podcast, and they haven’t looked back since.
For Anita, she started her interior design blog in 2011. Like Kelly hadn’t started with interior design as her career, Anita was an engineer because her dad convinced her she needed something more practical. It was a rough and tumbled kind of career. However, this wasn’t her passion like design because she would spend her time sewing curtains on the weekends.
When her kids were born, she stayed home with them and started focusing on her home and working at a furniture store, where she learned much. From there, that is when the blogging began, and as Kelly said, they started the podcast in 2017.
[6:16] Creating a more personal connection with podcasting + how they co-host together
It’s impressive how portable such a visual topic is in an audio format like podcasting. When people are listening to the topics being discussed by Kelly, Anita, and myself, people are better able to picture their own pieces in their homes and not be locked into pieces that are in a visual format and thinking that the said piece doesn’t resonate with them in some way.
I always thought that audio formatting was an obstacle to understanding what was being discussed. Still, it makes it more accessible for people and their perspectives of their homes.
Podcasting is a more intimate way to connect with your listeners, which Kelly and Anita know a blog cannot fulfill. The number one comment they receive from their listeners is that it feels like you have coffee or wine with your girlfriends who are good decorators, designers, or have a savvy knack for decorating. It warms their hearts to know that they are like friends to each one of their listeners on the podcast.
[12:44] Using photographs to capture a different view and the evolution of a space
There are some amazing tips that Kelly and Anita have to share with us today so let’s dive in.
Before you start decorating any space, take a photograph of your room. Sometimes you may miss specific things about a room, especially when you see it in person. Your brain is used to seeing the room. You will notice that when you take a picture, you can better notice what is wrong with the room.
Kelly and Anita have seen this with clients where they can finally see what is off about a space once they see the photo they have taken. For example, your sofa may be too big for that room, or your artwork may be too high.
Another reason that photos are great is that you can see the evolution of your room. It helps you to see where your space has started and how it has changed over the years. If you love decorating, this is one of the incredible ways to see that evolution over time.
[14:59] The three crucial lighting sources you need for each room
Kelly’s favorite tip is lighting because it is essential to your space. When the lighting is wrong, your room can be stunning, but if your only light source is this glaring light coming down from the ceiling, it looks like you should be performing surgery, not relaxing or having dinner.
You should have three sources of lighting in each room. Of course, if you have some overhead lighting, it has its place, but you also want to incorporate dimmers to control the amount of that lighting, along with task and ambient lighting. The secret tip about getting great lighting is by yourself a case of pink light bulbs. Many years ago, pink light bulbs were made in America and were better, but the ones you can get now are still much better than the blue light. So if you can get a hold of some pink incandescent lights, it will help give off that soft pink hue, which makes everyone look fabulous.
[18:24] Artwork sizing for the focal point of a room
Another tip from Anita is the sizing of your artwork. People start out with a small piece of artwork on a big wall, which doesn’t look right. Then, what they do to try evening everything out is they just add more until it’s too much. It can look confused and cluttered. The best thing to do is to take it down and just put up a few substantial pieces of artwork. Understandably, larger artwork is more expensive and harder to find, but just a few pieces allow you to see where the focal point is, and it’s big enough that you can see it without standing five inches away from it. So much better.
[22:53] Leave room for negative space instead of cluttering things up
Clutter makes Kelly twitch, so something she loves to do instead is to leave room for negative space. Don’t be afraid to have negative space. Not every single wall corner needs to have something on it, in front of it or hanging on it. It’s like how someone would try to fill up the space in a conversation. Sometimes it just needs some quiet. Start thinking about that in your house when you’re deciding to add some artwork, a gallery wall, something like that, or even an additional piece of furniture. An area with this negative space is okay because it allows you to appreciate the other things more. Let your space tell you over time what pieces to add versus investing $600 to $1,600 into a sofa that you turn right back around to get rid of.
[25:38] Limiting your color palette to just a few cohesive colors
Limit your color palette. When she first started decorating, Anita found many years ago how limiting your color palette to a few colors makes a space more cohesive and complete. Over time, she also realized how that wasn’t a fluke accident. This is an excellent tip for people because if decorating is not your thing, this little cheat makes it look pulled together. That’s not to say that you can’t make a space look great with lots of colors, but every additional color you add requires a higher skill level. If paint color is your thing, you can certainly get away with adding different colors; otherwise, keep your color palette to two or three colors if you are uncomfortable.
[27:06] Create a sense of flow from room to room
If you’ve got your limited color palette, which Kelly and Anita love working within their homes, as well as advising it to clients at any level of their experience or willingness to work with their interior design on their own or with someone to create the flow from room to room.
If you have been to or seen a showcase house, you know that every room looks different. For example, one room looks like a jungle room, then a black and white room, and then there are polka dots in the guest room. Each room may be beautiful, but that’s like a runway for decorating. It is supposed to wow you, and you will never find that flow in a decorator’s show house in most cases.
Every decorator showcase Kelly has ever been to is like that, but you don’t want your home to look like that. You can swap colors in different rooms when you have a limited color palette. The accent color in the living room might be the dominant color in your bedroom or something like that. So you see these colors, and maybe even shades of it pop around rooms, which creates the flow from room to room. Not only is it beautiful to look at, it’s very soothing.
[32:17] Avoid the trendy designs you see all over the place online
It can be challenging for people to avoid the trendy things they see on Pinterest, Instagram, or blogs. You may think it looks fantastic, but without realizing it, you want something because you see them everywhere. However, two years from now, that sign you loved may not be in style anymore. That trendy stuff you saw isn’t being used anymore because it’s been moved to the garage or given to a thrift store by those people on Instagram, Pinterest, or blogs. From there, you realize that to say on trend, those pieces have to go.
That’s not to say that you have to keep everything you buy and rotate it, but you want to keep in mind how those pieces will look over time and if they will have longevity. What’s essential for you is to stick to things that you love and that you will want to keep. You don’t want to spend money every few years and waste your money on more things.
[37:28] Finding your style and aiming for a collected look that resonates with you
What is your style? Some people stress out about this. You could say so many things, so the term Anita uses is collected. It means that you find something you love and put it together over time. Just wait! The pieces you want will find you. Anita and Kelly encourage people not to go to HomeGoods with two shopping carts, stuffing it all in and doing their house in one day. That doesn’t feel good. A collected look, no matter what your dominant look will be, whether it’s traditional or mid-century modern, but within that, make it collected. Find things that will last and resonate with you.
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