A Look Inside Designers' Homes

In HGTV Magazine , three furniture and accessories makers share the insider tricks they use at home.
By: Steele Thomas Marcoux
Similar Topics:
Lauren Russell At Home

Lauren Russell At Home

Photo by: Trevor Dixon

Trevor Dixon

Expert 1: The furniture designer at her table

Lauren Russell, Maine Cottage
Best known for: Wooden tables, dressers, chairs and armoires painted in vibrant, eco-friendly finishes

Take it from an insider:

  • Secret color strategy: "If you're nervous about bringing in color, choose pieces in different shades of one hue. You can’t mess that up, I promise! That's why I have five shades of green in my dining room, including chartreuse chairs and a palm-colored table."
  • Quick cleaning trick: "Oil-based wood cleaners can leave residue and distort the color of painted furniture. Mild soap and water does a fine job of cleaning it."
  • People always ask me: "What's the best way to paint furniture yourself? Use a white sponge roller that has no nap (pile). It leaves the smoothest finish with no brush marks. For thin legs, like on chairs, use a small sponge brush."
Marlene Barnett Lounges on her Rug

Marlene Barnett Lounges on her Rug

Photo by: Nathan Perkel

Nathan Perkel

Expert 2: The rug designer in her living room

Malene Barnett, Malene B Custom Handmade Carpets
Best known for: High-quality rugs in a huge range of colors and modern global-inspired patterns, using materials like New Zealand wool and Chinese silk

Take it from an insider:

  • Rug color motto: "You don’t have to decide between bright walls and a colorful rug — do both! Pick one shade in a multicolored rug and paint the walls that color, like I did in my living room with teal. It makes the space look pulled together."
  • Most-common rug mistake: "The placement. People often put their rug all the way against the wall and their sofa right on top of it, also backed up to the wall. A better look is to leave about a foot of space between the wall and the edge of the rug, and rest only the front legs of your sofa on top of the rug."
  • People don’t know that: "You should rotate your rug 180 degrees every three to four months — that way it will wear evenly."
Judy Ross Relaxes at Home

Judy Ross Relaxes at Home

Photo by: Nathan Perkel

Nathan Perkel

Expert 3: The pillow designer on her sofa

Judy Ross, Judy Ross Textiles
Best known for: Graphic-print and hand-embroidered pillows, plus a line of scarves, rugs and fabrics by the yard in similar patterns

Take it from an insider:

  • Mix-and-match strategy: "I’m easygoing about picking pillows. I tell people just to find designs you love and choose a bunch of fun colors that work with the room. I do follow a simple size guideline, though: I almost always go with 18" x 18" pillows since they’re big enough to be supportive but never overwhelming on a couch or bed."
  • Buying secret: "Choose inserts that are two inches bigger than the cases. It gives pillows a fuller, plusher look."
  • People always ask me: "Whether the two pillows on the ends of the sofa have to match. The answer is no. Sure, you can do pairs, but I think an imbalance is more fun."

Next Up

Feng Shui Your Home With Simple Decorating Fixes

Stephanie McWilliams transforms your life with feng shui changes to your home! Choose the area to improve and see what decorating fixes enhance the chi of your space.

10 Tips for Designing Your Home Office

Work in style in a beautiful and functional home office.

Quick Tips for Home Organization

Try these quick home organization tips for maintaining a clutter-free home from basement to attic.

Make Your Home Winter Ready

Follow these steps to prep your house for cold winter weather.

10 Home Office Hacks to Get You Organized Now

Working from home sounds great — unless your home office is a disaster. Follow these 10 simple tips to help declutter your space.

Boost Electrical Safety at Home

Keep the lights on and the power flowing by maintaining your home's electrical system.

Setting Standards for the "Clean-Enough" Home

Establish a standard for household cleanliness that suits your family composition, cleaning style and personal preferences.

Home Office Organization Quick Tips

Follow these easy tips to declutter your small home office.

10 Home Maintenance Tips for Spring

A certified home inspector shares 10 home-maintenance tips for spring.

Chic, Organized Home Office for Under $100

Clear the clutter and create a beautiful and uber-organized desk area on a budget.


Shop This Look

Found a living space you love in HGTV's Photo Library? Get the look in your own home with products from Wayfair.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.