345 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
    • 4.4 • 737 Ratings

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. 337: London Living with Simon Upton

    Ep. 337: London Living with Simon Upton

    Simon Upton, celebrated as one of the world's leading interior photographers, has spent the past 25 years capturing the work of the foremost interior designers. His work has been featured in The World of Interiors, Elle Decor, Architectural Digest, Vogue, House and Garden and more. In 2021, he published his first book, New York Interiors, and in September, he released his second book, London Living. In our conversation with Simon, he talks about the process behind his beautiful mastery of sharing the story of each homeowner, and the uniqueness of the different homes and stories that the spaces had to tell. Simon talks about the difference in his photography for London Living vs. an editorial magazine shoot, and why it was important to him to tell an honest story of London through his eyes. 
    What You’ll Here On This Episode:

    How Simon got into interior photography. 

    The importance of strong visuals in storytelling. 

    Simon’s process for the homes and rooms he featured in London Living. 

    Simon’s passion for scouting new locations and building relationships with those new friends. 

    Were the rooms styled? 

    Tips for getting the most out of your lighting for a photography shoot, and why it may be a good thing that it’s overcast! 

    The importance of passion in making a house feel like a home. 

    His Zen approach to appreciating and enjoying homes but not coveting them. 

    Learning to embrace your own individual style. 

    A tease for his next book in the making. 

    Also Mentioned: 

    Ballard Designs

    Simon Upton 

    London Living  


    Please send in your questions and decorating dilemmas to podcast@ballarddesigns.net so we can answer them on our next episode!

    • 57 min
    Ep. 336: The Life of Mario Buatta with Author Emily Eerdmans

    Ep. 336: The Life of Mario Buatta with Author Emily Eerdmans

    We're thrilled to be joined by design historian and author Emily Eerdmans, who opens up about her insights on the legendary decorator Mario Buatta (a.k.a. the Prince of Chintz). Emily first talks about the process of writing Mario Buatta: Anatomy of a Decorator, and how it’s different from Mario Buatta: Fifty Years of American Interior Decoration. And, yes, Mario fans should have both books in their collection.
    Emily then takes us through the fascinating journey of Mario, a trailblazer who incorporated personal branding into his design work, seamlessly adapted the English country house style to suit the American market, and crafted stunning designs using color and antiques. We dive deep into the heart of Mario’s design mantra with Emily, understanding the role of the four C's: chintz, curtains, color, and collections. 

    What You'll Hear This Episode:

    How Mario’s humble roots played into his design. 

    Why it’s so important for the next generation of designers to remember this icon. 

    The four C’s: chintz, curtains, color and collections. 

     The power of design history and how it shapes our choices when creating timeless spaces. 

    More about Mario’s ingenious use of color and antiques to create mesmerizing designs. 

    Some of the challenges in writing an intimate biography and working with strong personalities. 

    The importance of curtains in modern apartments. 

    Mario's love for the English country house style. 

    Also Mentioned: 

    Ballard Designs

    Emily Eerdmans

    Mario Buatta: Anatomy of a Decorator 

    Mario Buatta: Fifty Years of American Interior Decoration 

    Please send in your questions and decorating dilemmas to podcast@ballarddesigns.net so we can answer them on our next episode!

    • 1 hr 18 min
    Ep. 335: Holiday Decorating and Hosting Q&A (Part 2)

    Ep. 335: Holiday Decorating and Hosting Q&A (Part 2)

    Ribbons and garland and mistletoe, oh my! This week, we talk all about fall decor and transitioning from Thanksgiving to Christmas in Part 2 of our 2023 Holiday Hosting Q&A. We share our favorite traditions and how they have evolved over the years, when we start to put the turkey themed items away and put up the tree, and our favorite things from smaller ornaments to large decorations. We also get into some gift wrapping techniques (that even your dog will love), where to score some beautiful garland and mistletoe, and advice for creating a cohesive look in your holiday festivities. 
    Watch along with this week's episode here on the Ballard Designs official YouTube channel.
    What You’ll Hear On This Episode:

    How our holiday decor has evolved over the years. 

    Kid-friendly holiday craft ideas that involve the whole family. 

    Must-do’s for a beautiful ribbon that won’t be a hassle to work with. 

    What we’re adding in our Christmas collection this year, including gorgeous wreaths and Garnet Hill Mistletoe. 

    How to match your wrapping paper with your holiday decor - it’s possible! 

    Mixing modern vs traditional Christmas decor. 

    Okay, really how long should we keep the pumpkin for? 

    Great tips and tricks for holiday entertaining. 

    Mentioned in This Episode:
    Ballard Designs

    • 1 hr 4 min
    Ep. 334: Holiday Decorating and Hosting Q&A (Part 1)

    Ep. 334: Holiday Decorating and Hosting Q&A (Part 1)

    It’s a fun episode this week as we get ready for all things holiday. From large holiday parties to intimate festivities, we answer your questions about food, decor and hosting. We discuss how to set a beautiful table for the holidays, great food and drink that will wow your guests without costing a fortune, and setting up your home to welcome guests. We also share our checklist for when expecting guests to stay over and why it’s always more fun at the kids table. 
    Watch along with this week's episode here on the Ballard Designs official YouTube channel.
    What You’ll Hear On This Episode:

    Kids tables - yay or nay? And if yay, how to make them cute, decorative and easily cleanable after the inevitable mess has been made. 

    Setting a beautiful table on a budget. 

    Favorite dishes to bring to a holiday dinner. 

    Flow of the party: pacing the meals out correctly and making sure everything is served in the right order and in time. 

    Some suggestions for great table wine that won’t break the bank. 

    Getting creative with seating that will make your guests feel social and comfortable. 

    A check list of items to prepare for if you are expecting house guests. 

    Mentioned in This Episode:

    Ballard Designs

     Bunny Williams 

    Mr. T’s Pierogies 

    Barefoot Contessa 


    • 58 min
    Ep. 333: Defining Chic with Jesse Carrier and Mara Miller

    Ep. 333: Defining Chic with Jesse Carrier and Mara Miller

    We welcome Jesse Carrier and Mara Miller, a husband and wife power couple in the design world. For two decades they have designed chic, timeless, surprising spaces for their clients, some of whom you may recognize like Anna Wintour, Jessica Chastain, Annie Leibovitz, and more. They've been named to the prestigious AD100 list, and have been featured in publications like Town and Country, Vogue, House Beautiful and Architectural Digest. They've just recently released their second book, Defining Chic, and talk about embracing your personal take on luxury, designing for evolving families, and picking details that speak, scream or whisper.
    What You’ll Hear On This Episode:

    The inspiration for Defining Chic and why they chose the projects to showcase.

    How to create micro-environments and why they start with public facing rooms.

    Luxury doesn’t have to mean formal! In fact, they knock down the formality in homes with naturally welcoming materials.

    The Brooklyn brownstone that exemplifies that high-low luxury feel.

    How Jesse and Mara’s New York roots inform their design process.

    Tips for tying together separate rooms to create a cohesive feeling amongst the house.

    Ways to get your family and teens on board with defining chic - Pinterest and making sure they feel part of the process.

    How to pick design elements that bring warmth and joy to your space.

    What it was like designing Anna Wintour’s compound retreat.

    Mentioned in This Episode:

    Ballard Designs

    Defining Chic

    Carrier and Company 


    Decorating Dilemma:
    Follow Along with this week's Decorating Dilemma here.
    Thanks Jill! We have some ideas on how to achieve that harmonious and cohesive look you desire. First, for your flooring, Jesse and Mara suggest maintaining a consistent flooring material from your entryway through the dining room. This would involve replacing the existing laminate flooring with hardwood to match the wood floors in your entryway. This change can provide a more unified and visually appealing look.
    Consider more tonal or cohesive wall paint colors, especially in open floor plans. Transitioning from one room color to the next with paler or deeper shades can create a sense of continuity and sophistication in your space.
    To enhance the overall look and feel of your living area, adding a lighter rug in the living room may help create contrast with the dark cabinetry in the kitchen, along with introducing colorful cushions, accent chairs, or rugs to create a coordinated color scheme throughout the space.
    If you’re concerned about the rectangular rug and sectional sofa layout, there is the possibility of a custom cut rug.
    Jesse and Mara emphasize the importance of maintaining a consistent floor pattern in areas where the floor follows the shape of the island, or it has multiple angles. Hope this helps and keep us updated on how it goes!

    • 1 hr 4 min
    Ep. 332: Traditional Design with Hundley Hilton

    Ep. 332: Traditional Design with Hundley Hilton

    It was design love at first sight for Janie Jones and Elizabeth Miles, the designers and founders of Birmingham-based Hundley Hilton Interiors. In this episode, they talk about meeting each other and how they inspire one another as a professional duo, tips for bringing new life to antiques, and creating a color palette that is timeless. Janie and Elizabeth share some tips for creating a beautiful and unique entertaining space, having patience for making big design shifts, and the beauty of being your own art collector.
    What You’ll Hear On This Episode:

    Where did the name Hundley Hilton come from?

    Design tips to evoke formal flair, while still keeping it comfortable and welcoming.

    Their own methods for designing room by room instead of piece by piece.

    Working with colors that you love that will stand the test of time!

    Janie and Elizabeth’s collaborative approach to design.

    How to intentionally collect items you like.

    Slow down when choosing furniture! When you make sure it’s worth the investment, it will be loved for years to come.

    Tips for matching different patterns and colors when setting the table, and how to enjoy layering silverware with fine china and antique plates.

    Mentioned in This Episode:

    Ballard Designs

    Hundley Hilton

    Decorating Dilemma:
    Hi Karen! Thank you so much for writing. So, as far as Janie and Elizabeth’s recommendations, it’s all about investing in unique lighting such as lamps and lampshades that can serve as a cost-effective way to add personality to your space. When it comes to furniture, consider a dining room table and chairs that can easily transition to a new home. You can experiment with colors on window trims and explore the use of Roman shades to enhance your windows without a significant investment. Art can truly transform any space and you can always find a spot for it, no matter the size of the artwork. Pairing antique lamps with a console may be a great idea to elevate your decor. And… as Janie and Elizabeth mentioned in the earlier conversation, art doesn’t have to be acquired all at once. Collecting them over time can be a rewarding experience.
    About your sofa choices, an 86-inch size is a good way to go. It’s versatile and good with various room sizes. Opting for a queen-sized bed with a headboard can be a good touch of elegance while maintaining practicality. We are rooting for you!

    • 1 hr 15 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
737 Ratings

737 Ratings

Intelligent and Informative ,

Fascinating guests, excellent hosts

This is a fantastic podcast for novices and professionals. Great discussion, good questions, fun guests and hosts!

When there’s a guest who has written a book, I’ve often purchased the book after listening. I am very impressed with how well the hosts prepare for the podcast by carefully reading the guest’s book and asking thoughtful questions and pointing out the most interesting aspects of the book, and the most unique and definitive aspects of the person’s work. Very through preparation!

Would it be possible to post the pictures of the decorating dilemma in the podcast app? Thanks!

Ren Annette ,

Loved Joshua Smith

I always enjoy the podcast, especially enjoyed Joshua and his design ideas and perspectives. Please bring him back for more.

SabrinaJames ,

Too Much Immature Speech

I've listened to the How to Decorate podcast for awhile but I often turn it off because the hosts and guests speak so immaturely. There is a great deal of watered-down millennial speech. Phrases such as "sort of," "kind of," and "just" are used with great frequency. Apparently that is the modern version of "like." My 12-year-old daughter speaks much more maturely than the guests and hosts of this show. One guest used the term "sort of" four times in one sentence! All of the content went away and it made her sound unprofessional and unpolished. It was simply too distracting. Another guest said that she "sort of liked kind of using custom drapery in her products." Does she like using custom drapery or not? If it wasn't so annoying it would be funny. Cut out the filler words and speak maturely. You'll be much more effective that way.

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