Design Tips for Success

Four interior design pros, Kelly Butler, Ragan Wesson, Ellie Christopher, and Caylee Stefanek share their design tips for success.

Photo by Jean Allsopp

Enlivened Interiors

Kelly Butler, of K Bulter Interiors, shares her top tips for updating any home.

Think It Through.

It’s important for a home to meet the everyday needs of a family. To ensure a plan achieves that goal, spend time in the beginning thinking through the function, layout, and aesthetics to define exactly what is needed.

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Mix Finishes.

Plumbing, hardware, and light fixtures are great places to mix and match. “Using a polished nickel finish for your bathroom faucet with satin brass fixtures adds warmth and sophisticated shine,” Kelly says.

Color Cues.

“Choose a color or two that speaks to you, and repeat it in different ways throughout the home for visual continuity,” says Kelly. For balance, add color in small, subtle doses in some spaces and go bolder in others. For dimension, use varying, complementary shades of the same hue such as the blues she used on walls, cabinets, and accents throughout the house.

Add Depth with Texture

“Hard and soft surfaces are great ways to play with texture,” Kelly says. “A woven chair, linen window treatments, a glossy lamp, a velvet pillow, layered rugs—these different textures add drama, create visual interest, and give your space a lived-in feel.”

Pull from the Past

Incorporate pieces that tell your story. Family heirlooms hold sentimental value and serve as great conversation pieces,” Kelly says. “Mixing old with new also helps strike a visual balance.”

No-Fail Guidelines For Successful Interiors

Photo by Shelby Willoughby

Ragan Wesson shares her tip for creating a successful interior.


It grounds a room and provides visual peace in a way that nothing else can.


A piece of furniture or art that is the wrong size (too big or too small) for a space can destroy the atmosphere.


Furniture and accessories should always be placed in a way that allows the room to breathe while also serving the people using it.

Color and texture.

An artist once told me that every room should have a touch of red. I also think every room should have a bit of black. And I will never stop telling my clients to add texture. A wooden coffee table looks a thousand times better when it is placed on top of a soft rug that is covered with a fluffy sheepskin. Then layer with a collection of earthy olive jars, and finish with books, antlers, and fresh greenery.

Creating & Collecting

Photo by Mary Margaret Smith

Insights from Ellie Christopher on creating an eclectic home collection.

Buy one great piece each year.

Filling a home can be overwhelming, so take your time to invest in an outstanding chest, a piece of art, or a rug per year.

Don’t be afraid to break the rules.

Sometimes the old ways need an update. It can be fun!

Buy art that evokes an emotion or memory.

It’s important to live with pieces that bring you joy.

Collect, collect, collect!

Find something you love like vintage linens, glassware, or books. I adore my collection of sterling napkin rings. They’re all different but look amazing all together.

Don’t let kids or pets stop you from having beautiful things.

The design world continues to adapt to our busy and messy lives. Performance textiles are life-changing!

Details That Make a Difference

Interior Designer Caylee Stefanek, of Logos Interiors, knows how to make the most of a room.

Photo by Jean Allsopp

Accentuate a room’s attributes.

Sheer curtains aren’t only meant to soften windows. Hang them just below the trim to give the illusion of higher ceilings.

Add contrast between open spaces to change the mood.

Whereas the dining room and kitchen are light and airy in appearance, the intermediate sitting room is much darker in contrast. “Here, the walls, trim, ceiling, and doors are all painted in the most beautiful, enveloping way,” states Caylee.

Distinguish each room from the other.

Another way to visually separate rooms is by installing beams or architectural features that create distinct boundaries.  Once I opened up the kitchen to the adjacent family room, I added a pecky cypress beam, which creates just enough definition between the rooms, and dressed up the necessary support we needed.”

Turn a seemingly inadequate factor into an opportunity.

In the family room, because there wasn’t enough space between the shelves of the built-in bookcase to display the client’s existing intaglio collection, the interior designer simply hung the engravings on the face frame itself.

Design for daily living in mind.

Because reaching for a bottle of shampoo or other bathing essentials from a freestanding tub can be a hassle, Caylee added a built-out ledge just beyond in the master bath. Not only is it handy to keep a phone, book, or glass of wine nearby, but it’s also a convenient place to add a vase of flowers or an antique mirror.

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