Podcast, Episode 20: interior designer Lisa Mende

Interior designer Lisa Mende joins the podcast to talk paint, color, and much more

Lisa Mende’s room in the Traditional Home Southern Style Now Showhouse stopped us in our tracks, so we knew we had to get her on the podcast. Her spaces are bold, jubilant, and inviting, and we quickly learned that she herself is too. If you’ve ever had questions about paint, then this is an episode you have to listen to. We talk about choosing paint colors, paint finishes, fan decks, why you can’t just look at the paint chip, and Lisa gives us all her favorite paint colors.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • I talk about Tom Sheerer’s book Tom Sheerer Decorates which I devoured over Memorial Day weekend
  • Taryn talks about her leaky roof and how the dry cleaner got out the stain in her blue dress (which she discussed in the last episode)
  • Lisa tells us all about her ‘she shed’ in the Traditional House showhouse in New Orleans
  • We talk about her guest house becoming the center of the party during the showhouse opening
  • We talk about showhouses, how designers are paired with sponsors, and why we love showhouses so much
  • Why ‘the mix’ is so important
  • She tells us about the questionnaire she gives potential clients
  • We talk about the importance of getting to know your own likes and dislikes before decorating your home
  • She tells us about her new house and her plans for decorating it
  • Why she decorates her own house in stages
  • A great rule she has for splurging on a piece of furniture — how can you use it three different ways
  • Why you might want to coordinate your dining room and living room upholstery
  • How she’s working around the 80’s fireplace in her new house
  • We talk about striped rugs and outdoor rugs
  • We talk about white paint colors, why they’re complicated, and why they work
  • I share how I picked Benjamin Moore’s Chantilly Lace for my dark little craftsman
  • We talk the pace of a room, and why it’s an indicator of how much color you want in your space
  • My mom’s recent paint mistake
  • Why you can’t just ask your neighbor the color they used for their house
  • We talk paint finishes and why they’re important
  • We talk lacquer — this is on Lisa’s list of Don’t DIY
  • She shares some of her drapery tricks for getting a designer look on a budget

Decorating Dilemmas

I feel so peaceful and comfortable in other people’s homes but not my own. How do I get that same feel in my own house. Is it a paint color? What is it? Help, Kathy

It’s probably not a paint color, it’s probably a combination of lots of small things that can be fixed. First, address your layout. Do you have lots of comfortable seating areas? Are you fabrics and rugs and art pieces coordinated? Don’t start with paint. It’s much easier to match a paint color to your rug or art or fabric. Paint should be your last choice.

It could also be that when you come over, there’s a candle lit, the lighting has been dim, there are fresh flowers out, turn on some background music, and tidy up. Start treating your own home like guests are always over. Burn a scented candle, dim the lights, and create a mood. It’ll help your home feel serene.

Kathy, you may also be more relaxed because someone else is looking after you and being your hostess. That’s normal. We all feel comfortable in other people’s homes, especially someone who’s a great hostess.

Show Notes:

Please send in your questions so we can answer them on our next episode! And of course, please subscribe to the podcast in iTunes so you never miss and episode. Of course, you can always check back here to see new episodes, but if you subscribe, it’ll automatically download to your phone.

Happy Decorating!

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Caroline McDonald

Caroline lives for pairing together patterns, mixing furniture styles, and oogling over our newest furniture pieces. As you can imagine, her little 1920's craftsman is in a constant state of flux. Here on How to Decorate, it's her goal to help you turn your home into your own little slice of paradise.


  1. Reply

    Vanessa Darezzo

    June 7, 2017

    This is my favorite podcast, wish you did one every day. It’s like spending an hour with friends who share the same passion for decorating.

    • Reply

      Caroline McDonald

      June 13, 2017

      Thank you so much for listening! I’m so happy to hear that you enjoy the episodes. It really means so much to us that you’ve taken the time to leave this comment.
      Happy Decorating 🙂