Next Up

Collegiate Design Inspiration Sure to Earn an A+

By: Amanda Lecky

Send your room to the head of the class by displaying a well-curated collection of art and artifacts against a muted backdrop. Mix in some warm metals and moody patterns and you’ve got a composition sure to impress.

1 / 11

Rich in Character

To give a small bedroom an outsize personality, designer Lisa Burdus created a dramatic backdrop with a coat of navy blue paint behind the bed. An eclectic group of artworks—bound by a single natural theme—surrounds an antique mirror (an old decorator's trick that bounces light around a small room, making it look larger). More objects and keepsakes add interest on the bedside tables. And, finally, the bed itself, though only a single, lives large, thanks to its upholstered headboard, layered patterns, and rich textures.

More photos after this Ad

2 / 11
Photo: John Miller, Hedrick Blessing Photography

Reading Room

Large, open spaces can be wonderful, but they're not always easy to manage: too often, they feel empty and cold, without any sense of definition. But not this multipurpose family room, which is reminiscent of the reading rooms of grand European estates. Designer Stephanie Wohlner says, "by adding the bookcases, a tall storage unit, ceiling beams, and three seating areas, we were able to change the dynamics of the entire room, adding layers of warmth and a sense of cohesiveness."

More photos after this Ad

3 / 11
Photo: Jessica Klewicki Glynn

Personal Space

Of the process of outfitting this powder room in her own home, designer Alison Jennison says, “I was truly free to do whatever I liked. One detail from this space that I love is that we painted the whole thing one color—the walls, trim, wainscoting, and doors are all in the same color and finish. I love how that lets the floor pattern have its moment.” Edwardian-style fixtures and a photograph of an open book infuse the space with an antiquarian edge.

More photos after this Ad

4 / 11
Photo: Tim Williams,

Going Clubbing

To give a bachelor's industrial downtown-New York City loft the " rich elements of a membership club," designer Brad Kreftman set an appealing mix of furnishings, vintage finds, and custom-designed pieces against a backdrop of exposed brick and pipe. "The result is an eclectic, inviting space," he says. " The study easily converts from a sitting room to an extra bedroom with a couch that folds out into a bed and a closet space in the corner for hanging clothes."

More photos after this Ad