Podcast, Episode 24: Interior designer Nancy Braithwaite

Atlanta interior designer Nancy Braithwaite joins the ladies of the How to Decorate podcast to talk simplicity, scale, proportion, and much more

Atlanta interior designer Nancy Braithwaite stops by the podcast to talk about her signature style, her book Simplicity, how she trained her eye to see rather than just look, and of course she helps us answer your decorating questions. 

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • Nancy talks to us about her style, how she zeroed in on it, and what steps she takes creating it
  • Nancy talks about seeing vs. looking
  • Nancy compares dressing a room with dressing yourself, and why accessories sometimes take away from your design
  • Why proportion and scale are crucial to creating a well designed room
  • She tells us a story about being mesmerized at a decorators showhouse in New York and how it changed the ways she decorates
  • We ask Nancy how we can train our eyes to see instead of look
  • Nancy tells us about working with Deanne Levison, one of the top American antiques dealers in the country
  • How Nancy and Deanne came to work together and their adventures at antique shows all over the country
  • How to compose your room — start with large pieces then add what makes those large pieces feel better
  • We talk slipcovers, which ones Nancy likes, and why she uses them so often in her spaces
  • She tells us about staining the floors in a recent project black and why it transformed the space
  • We talk about how she helped her daughter decorate her home which was featured in Cottage Living
  • How you can learn from the best by studying their work and learning to see rather than look
  • We talk about when to stop
  • Nancy talks about when she started to really understand her own style and aesthetic
  • Why it’s so important to just go for it — try something and move things around if they don’t work
  • We discuss one of the pillar’s of Nancy’s style — whimsy
  • Nancy chimes in about where you should invest your decorating dollars
  • When to use symmetry and when to use asymmetry

Formal dining room by Atlanta interior designer Nancy Braithwaite

Decorating Dilemmas

Hi Ladies,

I love your podcast.  You are so much fun to listen to and have great ideas.

I am redoing my dining room (pictures of current room attached), and I would like to get a softer, more inviting look, but I’m not sure how to work with my formal furniture.  Is there any way to redo this room without replacing all of the furniture?  Maybe I could get upholstered chairs for the ends of the table and take away one of the side pieces?  I have space in front of the bay window, which is not shown, if something there would help?  Any recommendations would be appreciated, including suggestions on furniture, fabric, wall color or window treatments.

Thank you so much!




We have lots of ideas for you! Nancy recommends slipping your dining chairs for a more casual, lighter look like you’re wanting. Your idea about adding some different end chairs would be lovely too if you have the budget for it. Another thing to consider is painting the wainscoting the same colors as whatever your wall color. When wainscoting is a very contrasted color from the wall, it often makes the room feel smaller by breaking it up. The same goes for your rug. Consider something like a sisal or seagrass that goes almost completely to the wall, maybe leave 2 inches of space.

We also talk about how you could maybe mix up your furniture by possibly moving either your sideboard or breakfront into another room of your house, or if you’re up for it, painting one of them. Nancy also suggests either swapping your chandelier for something more casual or adding lampshades which will help loosen it up.

One last suggestion, consider removing the leaf in your table for everyday and maybe add a large table cloth or a pretty tablescape. If you pick up Nancy’s book, you’ll see how she creates table scapes in her client’s dining rooms so that the table makes an impact when they’re not set or you’re entertaining. More modern accessories will help freshen up your space and soften your dining room.

Overall, you have a great foundation and lots of ways to create a more inviting dining room! Good luck!

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


    July 10, 2017

    Dovetailing on the use vinegar in the laundry, we’ve kept a spray bottle of white vinegar in our laundry room for years to keep perspiration odor and stains at bay; baking soda in the wash water also helps tremendously. You can use both in the same washload. We recently had an “indescretion” committed by our cat on a pile of laundry. Apple Cider vinegar is the key to pet urine odor removal. We also keep a spray bottle of hydrogen peroxide near for any stains from shaving mishaps, etc.

    • Reply

      Caroline McDonald

      July 12, 2017

      Oooh, all great tips, thank you! I’ve never tried baking soda. Like Karen, I’m a big oxyclean fan, but it doesn’t always help with smells. Thank you!!