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Decorate Like a Design Boss

Mar 29, 2022

Kimberly Grigg brings listeners a solo episode inspired by Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s “Ten Stupid Things Women Do To Mess Up Their Lives” book title. Kimberly is sharing her knowledge and educating everyone on the 10 Simple Things People Do To Mess Up Their Homes. And she has expert advice on how everyday designers, like you listeners, can avoid these simple missteps in order to decorate like a pro.

The 10 simple things to avoid to “make your home magical”, to quote Kimberly, are these:
1) too much color, 2) not enough color, 3) too many picture frames, 4) too matchy-matchy, 5) no drapes, 6) drapes hung incorrectly, 7) souvenirs for accessories, 8) inappropriate scale, 9) incorrect artwork, and 10) not finishing. Don’t worry if these design points sound difficult to fix! Kimberly goes through each one and details why it messes with your decor and, most importantly, how to amend it. She has easy explanations and vital advice on how to create fixes and avoid these faux pas.

Jump into this episode knowing that at the end of it you will not only understand the 10 simple things to avoid, but you’ll know why window treatments are important, what size of artwork works best with that new chair, and how to include color without it overwhelming the room. Your photos and accessories are all going to be taken care of in ways that assist you in living beautifully, which is what Kimberly dearly wants for everyone to experience.

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Kimberly Grigg  00:00

Welcome to Episode 44 of Decorate Like A Design Boss. This one is a good one, we'll be diving into the things that people do that mess up their homes. I want you to live beautifully. So please indulge me and listen up as I go through 10 simple things that you can avoid to make your home magical. Get ready. Here we go. Welcome to Decorate Like A Design Boss, a podcast for design lovers who want to create beautiful spaces in their very own homes. My name is Kimberly Grigg, and I'm a professional interior designer who teaches design lovers like yourselves how to decorate. And when I say decorate, I mean decorate like a design boss. If you're ready to create a space that your family loves and your neighbors can't stop raving about, well, buckle up honey, because it's time to design.


Kimberly Grigg  01:07

Hello there design friends. So I've been interviewing a lot of great design guests lately. And I thought, well, maybe it's time to dive in to a solo episode on a topic that I tend to love. Quite a few years ago, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, a popular psychologist, a talk show host and an author, better known as simply Dr. Laura, wrote an interesting book called "10 Stupid Things Women Do To Mess Up Their Lives". Now I was a fan, especially of that book, and as Dr. Laura was publishing this book, I was this woman. We won't get into her 10 stupid things, but the title has always stuck with me because on a totally different level, I do spot 10 simple things that people do - and I don't mean stupid - but 10 simple things that people, not necessarily women, do to mess up their homes. So hence, Dr. Laura's book, while not quite old, even though I still recommend it as it was a juicy lifesaver for me at the time, the title just always grabbed me and prompted this episode. So let's get started. 10 things that people do to mess up their homes.


Kimberly Grigg  02:41

Number one: too much color. You know, I'm a color girl. And if you've listened for a while and/or if you follow my weekly show, It's Time To Design which airs every Thursday at four on Kimberly Grigg Designs Facebook page, then you know that I've been preaching that you should decorate with color. But to be successful, you'll want to limit your color palette. Sometimes the love of color can go wacky. Here's a better way to think about it: choose three colors that work well together. Choose one to be the main, another to be the supporting actor, and the final is just an accent. You can carry this theme throughout the main parts of your home and you will end up with a harmonious space that works very well together. I recently interviewed Edith-Anne Duncan and I discussed this in detail in Episode 43. Go back, take a listen if you haven't already, but the gist of the conversation is that you need to carry this palette, these three colors, throughout your spaces, but you vary the hero, the supporting actress, and the shining star in various degrees to keep each room from becoming the same. I also tend to throw in that fourth shazam. But again, I do have a daily practice and I am a professional. So if you feel very competent, you can throw a few shazams, but they can come in the form of, as mine typically do, as another color represented in artwork, as another color represented in some small way. And it just continues to layer the palette. But if you use the simple rule of three, I assure you, you will get results that tend to work, work together, and create a very harmonious space


Kimberly Grigg  05:00

The second faux pas that I'm going to mention is actually the opposite of too much color, and it's not enough color. This all white theme that is trending right now is beautiful, especially in the Pinterest pictures and on Instagram, but trust me, most of those spaces are well lit, or the photos are put through a photo app that can alter the actual state of the space. Having decorated my fair share of white spaces in the last few years, I am a fair activist for this scheme. But I have to say, most people forget about inserting subtle color and most people forget about how important the use of texture is in an all white space. And in fact, this use of texture actually ends up coming off as a color in and of itself. Yes, white works if you love it, not if you're just following the trend, forget about it. But it's super important to insert texture, and unexpected items such as art that carry a punch, a little more color, even if it's subtle, or perhaps it's a cognac sofa or a mustard pillow. Just remember, the same applies with a white palette as in any palette. It's still three colors, even if they are just shades of white.


Kimberly Grigg  06:34

Alright, number three is not only a faux pas, but it's also a pet peeve of mine. And it's something that I immediately change when I'm called to work in someone's home. It is simply too many picture frames: photo frames placed everywhere doesn't make a home a home, even if being surrounded by things that you value. It does seem to matter to you, if you do employ this technique, that your house feels like a home. But instead invest in beautiful accessories and artwork that is gorgeous and it speaks to you. Purchase no more than three frames per room and make them no less than size 8 by 10. Now if you're doing a photo gallery wall, this doesn't apply. But I'm talking about all those little bitty frames that you put on bookshelves and you put everywhere and they're on every surface, and they've got these little bitty pictures inside of them. I am telling you: stop. Get gorgeous frames and don't settle for cheapies at Home Goods - sorry Home Goods, no offense - I do buy frames there, but I buy big ones, and I buy gorgeous ones, or I don't buy them at all. Instead, opt for the creme de la creme and have photos in them that are sizable, no less than eight by 10. And that have an image that you can clearly see. Hint, no snap shots, please.


Kimberly Grigg  08:20

This moves us on to faux pas number four: too matchy-matchy. You don't need suits of furniture any longer. You instead need furniture that blends and creates a story, than the suits in your home, by mixing them up, paint some of them, or purchase new items. Blend it. A blended home is a more casual home and actually comes off as a more interesting space.


Kimberly Grigg  08:55

Number five: no drapes. Nothing pulls together a home better and faster than drapery. Yes, even if you have blinds and shades and a view, you're treating a window in a decorative way. In fact, you're not really necessarily treating the window, even though they're called window treatments, you're treating the walls beside the window. Blinds and shades behave in a functional way. Drapery and window treatments behave in a decorative way. They soften a space and they add a more polished look overall and in general. If you want your home to look finished, then you need drapery.


Kimberly Grigg  09:50

Number six: drapes hung incorrectly, as in directly above the window frame. I can't say enough about this. If you're not going to do drapes correctly, then don't bother. If you're going to have drapery, then invest in the proper length. Go all the way up about one to two inches under the crown. Yes, that high. If you don't have crown, then one to two inches right where the ceiling begins. If you place them right above the window frame, you're destroying the whole look. So raise them up, all the way up, and consider custom drapes in this case or a high quality lined drapery that is the proper length. Do not use unlined drapes unless you're using a sheer drapery. And do not, please, use a rod pocket. This all cheapens the whole aspect of why drapery does for you what it does. So I recently was at my oldest son's house, and my kids have been surrounded by some really pretty things growing up with a design mom, and I walked into the nursery and I knew, I knew that his wife was going to cringe because she could tell what I was thinking. So on a whim, they kind of waited to the last minute to decorate their nursery, and one summer he actually hung window treatments for me professionally. And he knows, really knows, better than this. But I walk into this nursery and what has he done, he has gone and bought ready made drapery. They were not rod pocketed, I'm happy to say. They were grommeted. But he hung those drapes one inch above the window frame. Alright, I had a really hard time with this. I was trying to be a good mom and I was trying not to interfere. But I'm just telling you, I couldn't stand it. Those drapes were too short to raise up that high. They bought them on a whim, they should have taken their time and carefully planned this. I mean, after all, I do have custom work rooms, I could have helped here. But I'm telling you what a difference when those drapes went up high - new drapes, actually - what a difference this made in the overall success of the space.


Kimberly Grigg  12:27

Now we're already up to number seven. And number seven is souvenirs for accessories. This is tricky. I love a well traveled look but keep in mind your style. If you go to Africa, and nothing in your home has this slant, well, you might want to really consider what your African memory is going to look like in your space. If you collect shot glasses, well unless you have hidden unlimited space in your bar, then stop please. These are not accessories unless you think of a creative way to house and display them such as put them all together, put seven of them together on a beautiful glass tray. Something like that is certainly acceptable. But just having a bunch of things that you've collected as you travel sitting on bookshelves and all around your house. Well, those are not accessories, they're souvenirs. One way that you can treat traveling and collecting is by creating photo books or photo boxes. You know, we've gotten away from creating photo books and photo albums since we all have our phones, but you know, wasn't it great when you could sit with someone on the sofa and you could look through a photo book? I say, bring that tradition back, bring it back into your home. You can store them in shelves or whatever, or cabinets, and you can pull them out when appropriate. But having your photos in a book, or making a book - those are fairly easy to do now with graphics - this allows you to collect the memories, which is what is important to you, and not necessarily save silly small paraphernalia.


Kimberly Grigg  14:30

Well, speaking of small, number eight is all about inappropriate scale. Most people don't understand scale, and, quite frankly, why would they? If you're ever considering a design consultation, then scale is the very best reason to do so. Even a lot of designers don't understand scale and I have to say one of the reasons I do, is I used to decorate hotels ballrooms professionally. And I had to take the same set of props in and out of different ballrooms that had different ceiling heights, and were different sizes. You learn really quickly what you have to do and how you have to adjust to make that set of prompts be as impactful in a large ballroom as it was, or is, in a small one. This taught me so much about scale. But in general, most people can go larger than smaller, but they don't believe they can. I can't tell you how many times I've shown a client a light fixture or an accessory and they say, what, no way is that going to work in my house, that's way too big. But when I end up taking it to their house, it's like, you were right, I get it. So scale is about 14 lessons long. And I can't present all 14 here. But getting scale wrong will throw everything in the space off. So here are a few simple tips that you can remember about scale. If you have tall ceilings, you need tall items. If you have a spacious room, you need items that have volume or have weight. Here's where it gets tricky: even if you have a small room, consider larger furniture pieces. It's a huge deception, but oversized items in a small room is actually a big win. Again, scale is complicated, but it's very important. This is one of the number one things that will ruin a room moreso than anything else.


Kimberly Grigg  16:54

Number nine: incorrect artwork. So people either purchase artwork that is too small, or they hang it too high or too low or not cohesively. Or, a piece - this is not that common, but it does happen - a piece that is too large for the piece of furniture that might be sitting underneath it. The piece of art should be smaller than the piece sitting under it. But there should be a relationship in terms of scale. So here's a few tips that you can use to get artwork right. Number one: hang artwork at eye level. Number two: scale your artwork correctly, probably go larger than you think but not larger than the piece of furniture that is underneath it. Number three: when you have a piece, as an art, that is too small, consider a grouping. Number four: make your groupings fairly cohesive either by way of frame choices or subject choices. Number five: abstract art works well in most settings. And number six, in this little artwork section: let your artwork create its own magic. It's a starting point. It's also a great finisher.


Kimberly Grigg  18:17

Okay, now we're nearing the end of the 10 simple things that people do to mess up their homes. And number 10 is not finishing. So I've seen so many people get a new home, get started with the decorating process, get a little overwhelmed. And the next thing I know they are living on "Someday Isle" - Isle being short for island and being short for "someday I'll get around to it". Someday I'll accessorize my home. Someday I'll decorate when my kids are older. Someday I'll get window treatments. Someday I'll accessorize. Get rid of Someday Isle. No matter what it takes, if you don't feel confident enough and skilled enough, then hire someone to help you. Start today. Take it on. You can decorate and you can decorate successfully, but again, if you don't feel confident, don't put off until the day that you feel more confident. It's never coming. Instead, hire someone to walk beside you to get you through this. But most importantly, live beautiful. You need to jumpstart your way to a beautiful decor. Or, if you need to take a look at these top 10 mistakes, well do so. Do it honestly. And don't be embarrassed. I've seen this over and over, I see it day in and day out. You're not alone. Now you know things and now you are armed with knowing what to do. So let's fix it. You deserve to live beautifully. You've heard all of these guests who come on my show and they all believe it is possible for everyday normal people to be able to decorate their homes. They also believe that it's important to do so. And I believe all of this so wholeheartedly that I continue to show up for you. And I continue to strive to think of ways to help you accomplish your dreams of being a better decorator. I'll tell you, it does take a lot of practice and a lot of trial and error. It also takes a good dose of learning to trust yourself. You've got this and now you have some good information. And if you are making these decorating faux pas, well, then it's okay. Just correct and realign with your newfound information. In addition, if there are things here that you would like to learn about, all you have to do is drop me an email or even drop in a review, and let me know what it is that you need and how you're responding to all of this information. Or, if you need a consultation, then I'm ready for you. You just simply hop online at, and book a consult that is appropriate for your needs. And while you're here, how about rate, review, and subscribe or follow our show. We'd love to know how you feel about it. And most importantly, please share our show with a friend who comes to mind who might benefit and enjoy it. I thank you so much for being here and I'll be back next time but for now, you know what I like to say: don't wait. Today is a great day to decorate. Bye for now.


Kimberly Grigg  22:09

Thanks for listening to Decorate Like A Design Boss. If you want more info on how to decorate your space like a pro, visit See you next week.