10 Decorating Tips from Interior Designer Nicole Gibbons

Whether you live in a massive mansion or a tiny urban apartment, decorating your home usually isn’t as easy as it looks. Everything from choosing pillows to painting walls requires attention to detail and a lot of work — it’s not for the faint of heart!


Photo courtesy of Nicole Gibbons

But interior designer Nicole Gibbons has mastered these challenges with excellent taste and a flair for the unexpected. That’s why we chose her for our In the Spotlight designer for February. This week, Gibbons did a Facebook chat with our fans to help them out with their design dilemmas and share some of her top decorating tips. We’ve compiled some of our favorite tidbits below — take a look and get inspired for your own home!

1. Don’t be afraid to mix materials in your kitchen. “Just make sure you contrast colors. For example, you could use a dark black granite on your counters and a white quartz on the island. If you’re going to use two different materials, use the same color on your cabinetry.”


2. Design your wall display to suit your style. “You can take different approaches when hanging a gallery wall. One is to hang your photos so that they’re all aligned in a symmetrical fashion. I like a more eclectic approach so I left a 3-inch width between each photo on at least one side in my living room.”

Tip: “I like to leave at least 10 to 12 inches of space from the top of the sofa to the bottom of the frames.”

3. Get creative when decorating a rented home. “I love stenciling walls in rental homes and apartments particularly because it’s super easy to do and paint over later, unlike wallpaper.”


4. Don’t toss an old chair — reupholster it! “When choosing your fabric, don’t be afraid to do something a little out of the box! Look at the color palette of your room and try and pull out one or two colors that work with your space. Or do a solid, fun, punchy color that’s a nice contrast to the rest of your decor.  If you’re afraid of color, you can never go wrong with a neutral. Try adding fun details like nailheads!”


5. Even if you love white, embrace a little color. “If you love all-white, choose white bedding that has an embroidered detail on it in a bright color. I love crisp, monogrammed white bedding with colorful embroidery. The Grand Embroidered Collection from Pottery Barn is great — I actually have it in Porcelain Blue, which is really soft but adds a subtle hint of color. It can really liven up a space. “


6. Think outside of the box for wall art. “If you’re not into traditional artwork like paintings or photography, try framing a textile. That can be really interesting. It can be a piece from your travels or just something you love. Or you can use a sculptural art piece or a large mirror. Mirrors are great for brightening up a room because they reflect light and make a space look larger. “

7. Mix and match your furniture styles. “I like to balance traditional pieces with more modern elements. So when you’re decorating around your mother’s sofa, try incorporating pieces that offer a nice contrast in style with cleaner lines that help create balance to the more ornate details of the sofa. “

8. Switch it up! I love changing things around. I think it’s really fun to change things around pretty frequently. Even if you don’t change your entire arrangement, maybe you swap out chairs. Take chairs from your dining room and switch them with chairs in your living room. Or restyle your table top. I change my coffee table styling almost every week, with different books, flowers and trays.

At the minimum, I’d suggest doing something at least every couple years to liven up your space. Get new curtains or a couple new throw pillows to switch up your look.

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Photo courtesy of Nicole Gibbons

9. Mix silhouettes. “So if you have a more angular sofa, try to use chairs with a more rounded silhouette or vice versa. And vice versa. If you have an old roll arm sofa, try to choose chairs that are more angular. The contrast is much more interesting.”

10. Edit, edit, edit. “A little editing can never hurt! The less is more approach can often be more impactful. But, if all else fails, hire a decorator!”

Read more about Nicole Gibbons at Pottery Barn. Plus, check out her blog for even more great design tips.

A few years ago Pottery Barn decorated a wall in a kitchen with several pictures of a variety of old stoves. These pics were in black and white. Do you have any idea where I could purchase a set of these pictures?

Love these tips. They are so helpful. Love Pottery Barn!

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