225 episodes

We want to teach you how to decorate! We'll help you unleash your inner decorator with interviews from interior designers, sharing the trials and triumphs from our own homes, and answering your burning decorating questions. Brought to you from the Ballard Designs team.

How to Decorate Ballard Designs

    • Arts

We want to teach you how to decorate! We'll help you unleash your inner decorator with interviews from interior designers, sharing the trials and triumphs from our own homes, and answering your burning decorating questions. Brought to you from the Ballard Designs team.

    Ep. 218: Dutch interiors w/ Barbara de Vries

    Ep. 218: Dutch interiors w/ Barbara de Vries

    Our guest today, Barbara de Vries, has a most impressive and varied background as a creative. Her prolific career includes launching CK at Calvin Klein, working on projects for Ralph Lauren and Pantone, creating her own fashion line, and co-founding her own publishing and media company. She also worked as a model and an environmental activist. Today we talk to Barbara about her new book, Coming Home: Modern Rustic, Creative Living in Dutch Interiors.
    What You’ll Hear on This Episode:


    Barbara’s adventurous career path.

    How Barbara’s Dutch lineage has inspired her philosophy and style.

    The difference between using the old and the new in the US vs. Europe.

    How the work from home movement is evolving our spaces.

    Cultural differences make a big difference in kitchen size and design.

    Why we all can benefit from using more daily conservation efforts.

    A Decorating Dilemma about the power of well-adjusted drapes.

    What can we learn about Dutch Interior Design to take into our own homes?

    Barbara was a model and an environmental activist?


    Decorating Dilemma 
    I must say I have never seen a house with all the ceilings painted before and I understand that not being your style. Ideally, you would paint all over everything. If your budget doesn't allow it, though, then I would advise painting the ceilings white. Your house would immediately come much lighter and bright. Going room by room, I would buy 2 paintings and a mirror for the dining to the wall to the left of your window. I wouldn't worry about a rug because the light reflects beautifully on the natural wood floor. Drapes could also make it look cozier in there. I would get large vases and keep fresh flowers in there. I would also paint the wall below the staircase and the hallway ceiling white. I would live with the terracotta in your living room and maybe add some pieces that reflect that color. If there isn't a rug in there, I would get a rug that picks up on those colors. And if you don't want to paint, maybe try tile underneath the cabinets.
    If all the suggestions are too much work, I would definitely start with the white ceilings, white dining room, and white panel on the stairs. It's a great, sunny space! We would love to see the after photos!


    Mentioned in This Episode:
    Barbara de Vries
    Going Dutch Interiors on Instagram
    TED Talk - Plastic is Forever
    Coming Home: Modern Rustic, Creative Living in Dutch Interiors

    • 53 min
    Ep. 217: designer Philip Mitchell

    Ep. 217: designer Philip Mitchell

    We are so excited to welcome back one of our favorite guests, Philip Mitchell, of Philip Mitchell Designs to the show! He is a Toronto and New York-based designer with a full-service firm. He has been featured in House Beautiful, Better Homes & Gardens, House & Home, Veranda, Architectural Digest, and more. His upcoming book, Collected Interiors: Rooms That Tell a Story, is available for pre-order now. We talk about Philip’s love of storytelling, finding joy in the unexpected, a commitment to loving your space, and ART!
    What You’ll Hear on This Episode:


    Discussing Philip’s new book and his belief that a house should tell a story.

    Philip’s two questions he asks all clients.

    What are some exercises we can do to edit our own design ideas?

    How Philip breathes new life into old pieces.

    Philip’s philosophy and approach to art.

    Why Philip thinks loving a piece is more important than style or investment value.

    Philip loves unconventional places to display art.

    When does Phillip like to place lighting on art?


    Decorating Dilemma 
    Hi Sarah,

    Your space and your view are extraordinary! These are all great questions. For me, the number one thing regarding the paint is that Northern rooms are tricky. It looks as though you are in a very tropical location. I would tend to go very neutral, use one of the whites you have because then it will not fight with all of the colors that will change throughout the day with the light. Regarding the shelves, I agree with all of your suggestions. I love the idea of doing a new pair of chairs. I would also add a third chair by the fireplace. I love the family gallery wall, but I would move it to where you have that contemporary piece of art. Then you can move that piece to the “gallery” wall. Just swap them! It’ll be a great focal point. I know you are on a budget, so I would find similar fabric drapery panels to match what you already have on some of those bare windows. I don’t feel that your lamps are too small, but I would probably move the side table with the lamp over to the sofa backing to the dining room. Then I would look into adding another small side table where we are taking that one away. Then possibly a floor lamp there and over by the small chair next to the fireplace. Instead of having a giant ottoman in that big floor space, how about more than one thing? Maybe a rectangular ottoman (forget the tray...it always falls with kids!), round table, and square table. It will add some flexibility and practicality with a room that the family uses often. Let’s also toss some color in here with pillows, drapery, or other accents.

    We are so jealous of your view and think buying this place was the RIGHT move! Thank you so much for listening and please send us some after photos!

    Mentioned in This Episode:
    Philip Mitchell Design
    Philip Mitchell Design on Instagram
    Pre-order Collected Interiors: Rooms That Tell a Story
    Ep 54. with Philip Mitchell

    • 51 min
    Ep. 216: designer Ashley Whittaker

    Ep. 216: designer Ashley Whittaker

    We loved our first episode with Designer Ashley Whittaker so much that we are thrilled to have her back this week to talk about her new book, The Well-Love House: Creating Homes with Color, Comfort, and Drama. Ashley talks about her love of natural and durable materials and how we can have an indestructible yet elegant home. She shares tips on adding some beautiful pieces to keep things fresh and happy, how to tell if your furniture is talking to each other and what’s going to make a room feel inviting vs. off-limits. Ashley also shares some stories behind the photos in her beautiful book and a few client success stories that we can learn from in undertaking our own design adventures.
    What You’ll Hear on This Episode:


    Ashley’s goal of “set it and forget it” when it comes to designing well-loved homes.

    The ingredients of a comfortable family room and how to still add elegance and beauty.

    Examples of natural fabric and textures that can take some wear and tear but still hold up beautifully.

    How to know when you have the right furniture plan.

    Why Ashley recommends starting the design process with the walls.

    If your walls aren’t finished, your house does not feel finished.

    A few of the homes featured in Ashley’s book include a Connecticut estate, a chic Manhattan home and a beach home, along with a fun special story about each client.

    How to make rooms not feel so seasonal so they can flow from season to season.

    When it comes to styles like midcentury, a little goes a long way.

    Ashley’s imaginative use of lampshades, and how we can use lamps and lighting to create beauty in our well-loved home.

    Decorating Dilemma
    We admit this is a little bit of a challenge to wallpaper a room like this. If you were to paper, it may be more than just this one room and you will have to figure out where your wallpaper ends. Also, there’s not a ton of walls in this room so you may not get the biggest bang for your buck. How can you get an even bigger and better wow factor? Well, maybe you could paper the ceiling or even add textured grasscloth. Painting the ceiling a sky blue may be able to work in a beautiful reflective way. As for the wall color, I would get a more creamy or modern white. That would be a great contrast with the sky blue.
    Thank you for writing, and good luck!

    Mentioned in This Episode:
    Ashley Whittaker Design
    Ep #93 - Ashley Whittaker
    @ashleywhittaker
    The Well-Loved House
    Michael Smith
    Jeffrey Bilhuber

    • 54 min
    Ep. 215: designer Kimberley Seldon

    Ep. 215: designer Kimberley Seldon

    Our guest today, Kimberley Seldon, does a little bit of everything in the design space. She’s a designer, TV show host, business coach for interior designers, keynote speaker, and a design podcast host. Kimberley takes us through the evolution of her journey in the design world, her “3-legged stool” approach, tips for the business of design, and more. We also take a Decorating Dilemma where we discuss the importance of being clear on your vision before you go into any big project.

    What You’ll Hear on This Episode:


    Trials & Triumphs in construction, landscaping, keeping a tidy house, and working from home.

    How did Kimberley go from the TV world to the design world to the business coach world?

    What is Kimberley’s client process?

    How Kimberley turned her speaking engagements into a brand.

    Business lessons that Kimberley has learned.

    Kimberley believes in staying mostly in a style without doing a “theme”.

    What is Kimberley’s 80/20 rule?

    What is Kimberley’s approach to mixing woods?

    Final thoughts on the “3-legged stool” inspired by Yellowstone.




    Decorating Dilemma
    Hi Kat,

    Here’s my opinion...even though I’m not sure you’re going to like it! Because the windows are narrow, I wouldn’t draw attention to it by setting the drapery outside the frame. I think the house needs it, maybe in a beautiful pattern, but I think they should fall exactly as they should. You could do an outside mount, soft Roman shade with the draperies floor-t0-ceiling on top of those, but you could absolutely skip this to save money and just go with the drapery.

    In terms of furniture, you want it to support the function you want the room to accomplish. Since we aren’t sure of that from your email, our rule is to use the largest furniture possible to make the room cozy and functional. And be sure to consider flexible seating for visitors if you plan to entertain often. I always approach with a plan of, “What do I want this room to do?” Keeping in mind how you actually live.

    We think you need to really come up with a vision for the house! Pick a paint color last to highlight the rugs, drapery, etc. In other words, don’t pick the lipstick before you pick the outfit!

    Good luck, Kat!

    Mentioned in This Episode:
    Kimberley Seldon Design Group
    Business of Design
    Kimberley Seldon on Instagram
    Business of Design on Instagram
    Business of Design Podcast
    Cityline
    “At Home in the Woods”

    • 1 hr 6 min
    Ep. 214: designer Erin Gates

    Ep. 214: designer Erin Gates

    We are so excited to welcome back Erin Gates, of Erin Gates Design, to the show. She joined us for an episode back in 2017 at the beginning of the podcast days! Erin is a true Renaissance woman in the design world. In addition to running her design firm, she has authored two bestselling books, has an extremely popular blog, “Elements of Style”, several product collections, a personal home renovation, and is raising a family! We discuss how to decorate with family in mind without sacrificing style, the resurgence of the home office, and other tips from Erin’s wealth of knowledge.
    What You’ll Hear on This Episode:


    Trials & Triumphs about grading the backyard, rodents in the house, and toddler “remodeling”.

    How did Erin make her way into design?

    What’s next for Erin?

    What are some misconceptions and tips about decorating with family in mind?

    Which performance fabrics does Erin recommend (and not recommend)?

    What does Erin look for in rugs?

    How has the pandemic impacted home office design?

    What are Erin’s best tips for a home office?



    Decorating Dilemma 
    Hi Stephanie,

    I think with a space like this the most important thing is to create some symmetry so the layout you have is perfect. I would probably do a sectional that has another arm rather than a chaise to get more seating towards the TV. I would also do a 76-80” media console, to not limit your TV size, and hang the TV. Then add a matching pair of taller bookcases on either side. On the taller wall to the left, you could do a really nice symmetrically hung gallery wall or one giant piece of vertical art. You could do anything for a coffee table, but if you wanted to soften up you could try an oval shape. There’s also room to add an accent chair to use when entertaining. You also need some lighting in here! Think all different levels; wall sconces, hanging fixtures, table lamps, floor lamps, etc. We also think you need to pop some color in here! If you really prefer the neutral, definitely use texture and tones to create contrast. Definitely need some window treatments (functional or not) on the sliding doors to soften it up.

    Lastly, we also noticed that little niche above the doorway. You could totally ignore it, or ideally fill it in with drywall.

    Good luck, Stephanie! Thanks for listening and send us the after photos.

    Mentioned in This Episode:
    Erin Gates Design
    Erin Gates on Instagram
    “Elements of Style” Blog
    Elements of Style
    Elements of Family Style

    • 1 hr 11 min
    Ep. 213: designer Gray Walker

    Ep. 213: designer Gray Walker

    Our guest today is Charlotte-based interior designer, Gray Walker, of Gray Walker Interiors. She’s a 20 year industry veteran known for her feminine design that mixes both modern and antique elements. Her work has been featured in publications such as Traditional Home, House Beautiful, Southern Living, and many more. Gray shares tips on how she manages to create a fresh look while showcasing heirloom pieces, where she makes bold choices, her love of outdoor lighting, and more.
    What You’ll Hear on This Episode:


    When did Gray first know she wanted to be an interior designer?

    How does Gray begin the discovery process for her clients?

    How is Gray’s home decorated and what is her current home project?

    What is Gray’s philosophy and approach to using colors throughout the house?

    The importance of outdoor lighting.

    How Gray uses upholstered doors and where to get one.

    Where does Gray like to take risks in decorating?


    Decorating Dilemma 
    Hi Bethany,

    I think you could do the quartzite countertops like in the kitchen or choose a marble where the stone color pulls from the adjacent room. I would definitely extend the cabinets all the way to the ceiling. In terms of paint, I wouldn’t use 3 colors. For the cabinet exterior would use a different finish of paint, maybe in a high gloss, that matches the wall color. For the inside of the cabinet, I would pull a soft color from the quartzite. You could also change the hardware and go for longer pulls on the uppers and/or consider centering the hardware on the lower cabinets and drawers. I would also mirror the backsplash--like use actual mirrors--that can extend the look you have from your Ballard mirror! You could definitely use some softness like a rug or curtains. The rug should match the interior color of the cabinets. And you need a WAY bigger chandelier. Think massive! Let’s add some lamps on that back buffet, too.

    We aren’t sure exactly where you live, but that view! You have a beautiful space. Good luck, Bethany, and we’re so glad you found us!

    Mentioned in This Episode:
    Gray Walker Interiors
    Gray Walker Interiors on Instagram
    Kate’s House
    “Outdoor Lighting Ideas to Make Your Yard Look Like a Luxury Resort” -The Wallstreet Journal

    • 43 min

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