Podcast, Episode 64: designer Bunny Williams

Bunny Williams joins the podcast to talk about her new upholstery collection for Ballard Designs

Design superstar and podcast fan favorite Bunny Williams joins us to talk about her new studio and creative getaway, her new upholstery collection, how to change a room with a simple few statement pieces, and a whole Living Room 101 lesson.

Bunny's Connecticut studio featured in Elle Decor

Bunny’s Connecticut studio featured in Elle Decor; Photo: Carter Berg

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • Bunny’s new office that is adjacent to her home and how she converted a four bedroom house into one giant room with a beautiful view
  • A glimpse into her busy New York office and how she finds time and space to get inspired
  • Her new book “Affairs with Other Houses” due in the spring
  • How Bunny Williams Home started 10 years ago, built out of a need for certain products for Bunny’s design projects and how it grew into upholstery, lighting and accessories
  • The optimum size and height of a drink table and why no guest should ever be without a place to set their drinks
  • The addition of modern fixtures in a traditional home and the ability to mix contemporary with antique
  • Bunny’s tips for organizing things by groups to create an interesting statement
  • Break up the finishes, textures and colors so each piece stands out on it’s own
  • How to know what brown furniture to keep as is and which to paint
  • Why pieces should move around throughout the house over time, even as your tastes change
  • Why we should invest in wonderful furniture pieces as a lifetime purchase
  • Why the furniture has to fit the scale and proportions of the room it is going in, so you may want to opt for the 7 foot couch vs the 9 foot couch
  • Her new upholstery collection, including a scallop backed sofa, chairs and casegoods
  • The origin of the name of ‘slipper chairs’
  • Raffia as a great way to provide a clean and streamlined texture to a room
  • Lighting options including standing lamps, and lighting fixtures on an end table
  • Why your collection of items should be personal to you and not something you have someone else purchase just to fill the room
  • How studying magazines will give you the confidence to make decisions in your own home

Decorating Dilemmas

I am looking for some advice on choosing a new rug and window treatments for my living room. The room feels very blah to me. I’m NOT afraid of color and pattern but I have a hard time making a choice with the many options available and am never sure if what I like will look good together. I recently repainted the room a light gray but am not really loving it and am open to changing that. The furniture has to stay for now with the exception of the current recliner – I am looking for a more streamlined version, but I would be willing to change the layout.

Any suggestions to update my room would be welcomed.  Thank you so much!


Most people railroad their furniture against the wall, and Bunny suggests putting two chairs facing each other on either side of the sofa and adding a coffee table. Pull the furniture almost in a square, with each seating option having a definitive place to put their drinks. Bunny thinks you would be better off with plain curtains, possibly off white linen panels and maybe buying some colored upholstery for your French chair. Definitely add a larger rug, for inspiration check out the ones on Ballard Design of course. Group the little small things together by the TV wall. If you can’t move the piano, get two column lamps on either side. We would paint the window white.


Hello, ladies — A Ballard super-fan here. I recently moved into a three-story townhouse in Houston, and I’m having trouble with furniture on the second floor, the primary living space. This floor of the home is living, dining and kitchen and is basically one big rectangle.

My first dilemma is what to do for a focal point when there’s no fireplace and a TV on the primary wall. I’ve thought about making a gallery wall around the TV, but I’m worried that might look too busy. I’ve also thought about a vertical piece of art to the left of the TV, but then I’m afraid the balance of the room will be off.

My second dilemma is what to do in the cased area along the dining room table. I have a fair amount of china and such that could go in a cabinet, but like the TV space, I’m worried about making the overall space too cluttered looking if the piece is large. I love the Greta Fluted Sideboard (thanks to you for mentioning it on the podcast). I’m also considering something larger like Ashton servers.

I appreciate your advice on these dilemmas or anything else you notice. Thanks for your help and for making the podcast! My one-year-old and I listen to it in the car on the way home from daycare all the time— he loves it 🙂



We are admiring your space, and especially your orb Chandelier! :-). Bunny feels like maybe the TV isn’t centered over the cabinet, and it would be better if the cabinet was centered on the wall. Can you push the sofa back, center the cabinet and center the TV over the cabinet? Bunny would remove the corner piece and add some big pieces on the wall.

Show Notes

Please send in your questions so we can answer them on our next episode! And of course, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes so you never miss an episode. 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.