10 Expert Designer Tips from Jeffrey Alan Marks

Jeffrey Alan Marks is no stranger to design dilemmas. One of Hollywood’s “most wanted decorators” and a frequent star of Bravo TV’s “Million Dollar Decorators,” Marks is familiar with virtually every problem — big or small — that can arise in interior design. That’s why we asked him to share his expertise during a Facebook chat with our fans. Take a look at his top 10 tips from the chat, below!

JAM2Photo from Jeffrey Alan Marks, Inc.

1. Look for easy ways to update your bedroom: “Use throw pillows and new sheets. I love all the Pottery Barn sheets, especially the summer sheets this season —they’re amazing. And if you can’t afford all new sheets, just buy the pillowcases.” sheets

2. Be playful and surprising: “I always throw in an unexpected element in the room. There’s always a color that’s a little bit shocking that gives a room a little personality. Things that are too matchy can feel like a model home. Every room should have a happy accident. “

3. Don’t be afraid of a white sofa: “I use a lot of slipcovers. Often white can be the easiest fabric with kids — I think that’s why bleach was invented! A little bit in the water when you’re washing the slipcover will help. And you can wash a slipcover over and over again.”

white sofa

4. Use new hardware in rental kitchens and bathrooms: “I’ve lived in rentals where hardware can transform the entire space.  I love Pottery Barn’s Ella Hardware and I also love the Modern Sink Console hardware from Pottery Barn. It would fit in with any house!”

ella hardware1

5. Consider sofas without skirts: “The PB Comfort Square Upholstered Box Edge Cushion Sofa doesn’t have a skirt, which is nice, since that can cause problems with dogs and kids. Something with its feet off the ground makes the room look bigger too, so you’re killing two birds with one stone. “

6. Grays go best with cooler colors: “A soft pink and a dark gray is beautiful because it mixes the masculine and feminine. I also like grays and blues and gray and coral.  I stay away from warm tans and reds with gray, I tend to like cooler colors with gray.“

7. Don’t use too much gray: “I also think you need to use gray sparingly. For example if I use a lot of gray on the wall, I won’t use a lot in decorating. But if I use a lot in the decor, I’ll use a light pink or blue on the wall. “

8. Keep family photos in private spaces: “I tend to frame family photos down private hallways to the bedroom. I like to do a collection from floor to ceiling of all the family and friends photos. I think it’s a nice way to honor memories, but it’s not right in your face in the living room.”


9. Two is better than one: “In long hallways and entries, use two long runners with a break in the middle. A pair of anything is always better! It will draw you down the hallway — one runner will just stop you.”

10. Use paint to make a room feel cozy: “Use a Sherwin Williams color from the Pottery Barn palette and paint low ceilings. When you have a ceiling that low, I find that painting it is the best way to go to add intimacy.”

Don’t forget to read Marks’ new book, The Meaning of Home. And if you’re in the Orange County Area, be sure to visit him at our South Coast Plaza store for an in-person book signing at 2PM on May 10th, 2014.

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