What is a design “rule” that you love to break?
* I love to break the ‘matching rule’! I am constantly mixing colors and patterns that are not conventionally used together. At first clients are hesitant to approve these schemes, but in the end they marvel at how wonderful it is to live with. I find by doing this people enjoy their interiors for much longer. -Sara Bengur
* Using small pieces in small spaces. -Maggie Cohen
* That everything has to be perfect and symmetrical. -Frances Palmer
* I love making chic objects and settings out of discarded or overlooked materials that are not generally thought of as chic. -David Stark
* I like to look at reverse side of fabrics to see if it might be a better visual option (as long as there are no stability issues). -David Kaplan
* Combining modern chairs with your great grandmas favorite kitchen table. -Audrey Sterk
What are some and décor tips for hosting parties or entertaining at home?
* This is something I always tell my clients...if you want guests to use the living room, put the hors d'oeuvres in the living room. If you want them to use the library, put the bar in the library...and if you are not certain, go sit in the room you want them to use.
* Also, I always advise clients if they are doing a big party to hire a professional to take much of the stress off of themselves and I will recommend the best person to fit their agenda and budget. Hospitality always is the most important, so if you are throwing a party, make sure you have the correct liquor, wine and mixers you know your guests drink...nothing worse than a party where you can't get what you prefer. Invite your designer to help you, they will at least ensure your home looks it's best and the lighting is balanced. -John Cannon
* Set the table the night before your party and lay out the platters and put post it notes on them. Have a signature drink to welcome your guests and break the ice. -Kriste Michelini
What is one item or action that can change the entire feel of a room?
* A comfortable furniture arrangement that makes good use of the space feels right and promotes conversation. -Claudia Juestel
* Floor Coverings.Maybe you need a brighter one or perhaps none at all. These serve as the base layer of all room designs but are often taken for granted. A bold rug will instantly breathe new life into a room while removing one will create a more subtle design. -Joel Robare
* Change the color of a room’s visual elements such as artwork, mirrors, pillows, accessories and flowers often to reflect seasonal changes and your mood. -Karen Robertson
* When finishing a room I always look to finish with one bit of whimsy, or contrast of color. It may be a pillow, vase or a small unusual rug or piece of art. Think of finishing dressing in your gown or suit with that special piece of jewelry or tie. -Les Bernabi
Want more? Meet the esteemed members of the Garden Design Advisory Board and check back regularly for tips, product recommendations, and more.