135 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

    • Design

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. 129: design duo Lathem Gordon and Cate Dunning

    Ep. 129: design duo Lathem Gordon and Cate Dunning

    Design duo Lathem Gordon and Cate Dunning from GordonDunning join the show this week to talk about their Atlanta based boutique interior design firm. GordonDunning was recently named House Beautiful’s Next Wave Designers, and we totally understand why. Lathem and Cate works with their clients to honor the story of the house, and this team has a knack for creating beauty in working both with the new and old. Lathem and Cate also chat with us about not worrying if you’ll get tired of a decision, how to use sectionals properly, and why things need to actually be comfortable instead of just looking that way.
    What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

    Lathem and Cate are very simpatico, but they do share what they disagree on including lights, and toilet paper display!

    What each of their go to’s are in terms of design and decor, and the inspiration behind them.

    What it was like to be named as House Beautiful’s Next Wave Designers.

    What things we should be hanging on to for antique purposes, and what relics we may be better off parting with.

    How their company GordingDunning works with clients to tell the story of the home, and weave it in with how they want their present and future to look.

    Ways that we can bring the spirit of an old home into a new house.

    A few examples of projects in their portfolio where the style ranged from playful and cheerful, mature and refined, to classic and southern.

    Let’s not make decisions based on fear that we will get sick of it! We are more likely to like our choices for a longer term when we finish it completely instead of stopping midway.

    What frames can make a house look more textured and charming, and how to bring proportion and scale into your frame choices.

    Things don’t need to look comfortable, they need to be comfortable.

    Mentioned In This Episode:
    House Beautiful
    Lux Magazine
    Gordon Dunning
    Decorating Dilemma
    Good for you for taking a risk, first of all! Your plan sounds like a good one, but it’s not the only option. There are multiple ways to tackle, and it really comes down to your budget and which one works best for you. We like the French Door idea towards the living room, and love your idea of closing the off arch to close off your office. You could do built in bookcases on the wall, and do something with the mill work to make the offset french door make sense. Since there is a lot of height, there’s an opportunity.  

    • 1 hr 7 min
    Ep. 128: floral expert Scott Shepherd

    Ep. 128: floral expert Scott Shepherd

    Scott Shepherd has worked in the floral industry for 27 years, and as the host of the very popular podcast The Flower Podcast, he is the go to guy on all things floral. He shares his expertise to talk with us about how we can tell if a flower is fresh, what goes behind the cost of flowers, how we can utilize our local farmer’s markets, and tricks and tips to keep our flowers fresher and more beautiful for even longer!
    What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

    Trials and triumphs on a romantic rosemary hedge, Ninja air fryers and crispers, important dermatologist news, growing plants from seeds, and some drapery workarounds.

    More about Scott’s podcast The Flower Podcast, and some of the super cool takeaways he has from interviewing people all over the world in the flower industry.

    How social media has affected the flower industry, and what we now expect from our florals.

    What it’s really like to work in a flower shop when you have high volume clients mixed with individual personalized orders.

    How Scott and his team find flowers, and how he finds brokers and importers for rare yet important flowers such as autumn eucalyptus.

    The most popular flowers and greenery for both high end and affordable weddings.

    What really goes behind the cost of purchasing flowers from a florist, including transportation, inspection, and details you may not have thought of that adds to the expense.

    A step by step method of what to do should we buy flowers from our local grocery store to keep them fresh and beautiful for as long as possible.

    Why hydrangeas are Scott’s favorite flower, and the lowdown on how we should actually cut them.

    Why we use floral film, and how to use it properly.

    How we know what type of vase to use with our flowers.

    Mentioned In This Episode:
    Ninja Air Fryer
    The Flower Podcast
    Faith Flowers
    Syndicate Sales

    Decorating Dilemma
    If you are open to moving the tables, flanking them with matching lamps and botanicals with a large print on either side would add both symmetry and drama. If you paint the banister black, that could look fresh and modern!
    You may want to move the console to where the TV is, and put the little leggy chair under the TV, push it all closer together and that way it opens it up for comfortable seating and opens up the options to make the room appear even bigger. Buy yourself those great chairs that you love, or at least start making a plan using our room planner tool!

    • 1 hr 17 min
    Ep. 127: Lighting Basics

    Ep. 127: Lighting Basics

    This week, we switched it up to take a deep dive into lighting with Ballard lighting experts Valerie and Roger. They answer all our lighting questions including, how many light sources we actually need, the rules for wattage and color that can help us get the best brightness and not waste money, and why light fixtures are like the jewelry of a home. They also give their personal picks for the type of lighting that works best in a space, share rules for using shades and finding the right lamp height, and common mistakes we make that can make a huge difference in creating a simple yet beautiful mood in a room.
    What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

    Valerie handles the “pretty” part of lighting at Ballard, and Roger hands the technical.

    How Valerie and Roger work together to make things both as functional and aesthetically pleasing as possible, and what a day in their work life looks like.

    How we know if a room is under lit, and if there is a thing as too much lighting in a room.

    The rules of thumb for hanging lights at different levels, and the most important rules of can lights.

    Why we shouldn’t rely on one fixture such as a chandelier to be our main source of light.

    The many different ways light bulbs can make or break a room, what exactly wattage is and how we are paying for it, and how to know which LED colors to pick.

    Why Roger loves incandescent lighting, and how we can use the Kelvin temperature scale on the Ballard website to better understand which type of bulb to pick.

    What a humming sound inside our bulbs means, and what we can do about it.

    How to check to see if a light meets your “CBD” needs - Color, Brightness, and Dimmable.

    Pleated, paper, and printed textures are in, so bring those shades on!

    How to best match the lamp with the appropriate piece of furniture, and how to know what height and width works best for picking lamps.

    What makes some lamps more expensive than others, and how to get the right deal when paying for a lamp.

    If we should or should not put shades and chandeliers, and the rules surrounding it regarding functionality.

    The true confessions of how often we really clean our ceiling fans.

    Mentioned In This Episode:
    Ballard Designs Lighting
    Ep 122: Tom Scheerer

    • 1 hr 12 min
    Ep. 126: designer Kevin O’Gara

    Ep. 126: designer Kevin O’Gara

    Design blogger Kevin O’Gara joins the show this week to discuss the inspiration and background behind his traditional yet youthful style. Kevin is a rising superstar in the world of design, and talks about his blog Thou Swell, the inspiration behind his new maze inspired rug collection, and what trends he is most excited. Kevin also talks with us about using contrast and color in both traditional and modern, how he took his design skill to his very own dorm room, and what it was like working with Suzanne Kasler.
    What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

    Trials and triumphs including water leaks (yes, a new one!), garbage disposals, and why you should leave it to the professionals to do the fixing. Also, a search for the perfect lamp, the Margot Slubby Velvet Quilt, and finding the right box that is both beautiful and functional.

    Kevin has always found ways to turn things he is interested in into a business or entrepreneurial venture. He started his blog, Thou Swell, in high school, and mixed his interest in design, photography, and graphics.

    Kevin’s design style is rooted in classics with a playful twist. He grew up with traditional design, but found balance between that and modern while spending time on Pinterest and blogs,

    What it was like for Kevin to work in Suzanne Kasler’s office, and the biggest things he learned throughout his experience.

    Some do’s and don’t of wallpaper that Kevin has learned, including accent walls and how to get over the feeling of intimidation when starting with a blank slate.

    Kevin’s rug collection, and how the color choice was inspired by nature.

    The Invitation Homes show house that has been one of Kevin’s favorite projects, where he got to be playful and step out of his comfort zone.

    Why working on tiny spaces such as a dorm room has been one of Kevin’s most fun challenges and how they are a great creative experience.

    Kevin’s biggest tip: focus on textiles and invest in comfortable bed linens and lots of throw pillows and blankets.

    How Kevin’s blog name “Thou Swell” mirrors the traditional and modern aspects of his design.

    Mentioned In This Episode:
    Kevin O’Gara | @kevinfrancisdesign
    Kevin Francis Design
    Thou Swell
    Double Gourd Lamp
    Margot Slubby Quilt
    Suzanne Kasler
    Ep #115 with Tammy Connor

    • 1 hr 25 min
    Ep. 125: Carson and Thom are back!

    Ep. 125: Carson and Thom are back!

    Carson Kressley and Thom Filicia, Emmy winning style makers, designers, and stars of the original Queer Eye for the Straight Guy join the show this week. These super fun and successful men answer some of our burning questions including who their design idols are, what has been the bargain of a lifetime, and the last time they got starstruck. Thom and Carson both give an update on what’s next for them professionally, and we chat about design and lifestyle at any budget!
    What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

    Trials and triumphs about Staghorn ferns, old doors, a tricky IKEA bookcase and some heavy duty man cave organization

    Thom Filicia Inc. is one of today’s most influential and respected interior design firms. Hear more about their projects including residential, hospitality, and commercial

    Carson’s upcoming appearances on RuPaul’s Drag Race, and Couched on The Design Network

    How we can let our interior design reflect our authentic story, and create a home that feels both personal and chic

    Thom and Carson’s design idols, and the last book they each read

    More about Thom’s Home Collection, featuring wall covering, furniture, drapery and much more

    The story of how Thom modernized a family heirloom painting in his New York place

    The best bargains of their lifetime, from cars to accessories and just how dedicated they are about getting that great deal

    • 1 hr 5 min
    Ep. 124: designer Jade Joyner

    Ep. 124: designer Jade Joyner

    Athens based designer Jade Joyner joins the show this week to talk about Metal + Petal, the full service interior design firm that she and her husband own and operate. We hear the inspiration behind Jade’s use of bold yet tasteful patterns and textures, and why she believes sometimes less is more. Jade also gives her advice on where to splurge and where to save, why she loves a good console table, and designing living rooms and kitchens for big families.
    What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

    Where Jade developed an eye for the bold and sculptural pieces we see on her blog and social media

    Jade’s use of unique silhouettes to create interest in a room

    Jade’s work with the Alpha Phi sorority to renovate a historic home into a residence for the group of young women

    Why Jade suggests carrying some aspect of a room’s color all throughout the house, whether it is in an accent piece, paint color, or accessory

    Don’t be afraid to edit. Jade reminds us that often, less is more.

    Some of Jade’s tips for using custom tables and sofas in living rooms, and why a great sofa that stands the test of time is one of her top items to splurge on.

    Hear why Jade loves a beautiful console table, and quite frankly — we agree!

    Our realization that ranches may be the next big dream home. They are spacious, more affordable, and offer things traditional houses may not.

    What projects Jade has now, including the Golden Pantry Market where she works with local artisans based in Athens.

    Behind the scenes of what really goes through a designer’s mind when their home is part of a photoshoot or magazine spread.

    • 1 hr 11 min

Customer Reviews

_dontcarebear ,

Love love love!

There is not an episode where I don’t learn something from these ladies and their guests!

Inkspot04 ,


These women and their guests have provided me with a completely new way of looking at what I can do in my home without the investment of professionals (though they have great advice about having professionals do work I don’t have the skill set or time for)!
I am loving having them join me on my 40 minute drive to and from work. They have energy, enthusiasm and honesty — and really great ideas!

reymac525 ,

Love and I can’t get through my week without y’all

I truly LOVE Karen, Taren, and Caroline!!!! I have learned so much listening to you sweet ladies and guest. So glad y’all are publishing new episodes weekly now. Every two weeks just wasn’t enough. Keep up the great work. Side note - LOVE the trials and triumphs and decorating dilemmas.

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