Podcast, Ep. 117: designer Janie Molster

Interior designer Janie Molster joins the How to Decorate podcast


Richmond, Virginia interior designer Janie Molster is known for her fun and light-hearted designs, mixing the beautiful with the well-choreographed messy. She joins the show this week to talk about her love of pink, decorating for the holidays, and why we don’t always have to go with the traditional red and green. We also all talk about decorating with comfort in mind first, when twin beds may be the way to go and creating symmetry that is pleasing to the eye.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • More about Janie’s style, recently described as “pretty, happy, and layered.” To some, it may look like it’s done with abandon, but really it is choreographed with a ton of thought.
  • The juxtaposition between the old and new in a home, and Janie’s suggestion that people mix and match objects they most love together even if it’s different style-wise.
  • Janie’s top tree decorating tips including ribbon, colors, and not worrying about blending homemade with fancy.
  • Janie’s love of pink since she was little, and ways we can create a Christmas-y feel without having to be tied to the traditional red and green.
  • What a story about Disney cartoons with hairy arms has to do with design!
  • New idea: Christmas trees that come with a remote?
  • When twin beds and be engaging and pleasing, especially for people like Janie who do a lot of hosting.
  • Why she loves pairs to create symmetry that is pleasing to the eye, and constantly recycling and swapping items from room to room.
  • Janie explains her love of an upholstered headboard and gives some unique design thoughts on using them to spruce and liven up a room.

Decorating Dilemma

Hello, hello!

Ballard has been my guilty pleasure since I was a little girl, stealing and folding down the corners of my mother’s design catalogs. I longed for the day when I could decorate my own home!

Well, that day has arrived! This first house of mine has presented a few design challenges, but none so challenging as the bedrooms upstairs. Why? Dormer windows. And not the cute kind with the window seat where one might read a book all day. The wall-obstructing awkward kind that make having a headboard nearly impossible.

Since I’ve come to terms with tossing my cast iron headboard, I need help with what to do next. Do I go bold and wallpaper all of those awkward angles, embracing the choppy space? Or go neutral to smooth out and distract away from the lines? And window treatments… where do you even begin! I’ve scoured the internet for inspiration photos to no avail.

Any insight from my favorite Ballard gals would be of great assistance. I should note that the pictures below only show one side of the master, but the opposite wall poses the exact same issue. The bed pictured is a king.

All the best,

Bedroom with dormer windowsIf your budget allows, Janie loves your idea of wallpaper. She would not only wallpaper the walls, but the ceilings as well, wrapping front to back. A stripe or vertical pattern can be really fun, and you can run it up the eaves vertically and across on top to create a cabana tent effect. The funky trimmed doors are so fun and filled with personality, and they could be so fun to accent as well. Great job and we are very impressed by you! One final note: Janie also thought having a custom headboard made could be really cool to get the feel of an arched headboard.


Hi ladies!

I recently discovered the podcast and IT. IS. EVERYTHING! 

My family and I moved into our new house (a 1970’s build) about 6 weeks ago and I’m itching to make it ours. The room I’m currently struggling with is the family room. It opens on one side to the entryway and on the other to our dining room. The furniture in there now is stuff I had on hand already from our previous house, but none of it feels right. We have a small list of to-do’s like re-tiling the fireplace, adding built ins around it, and possibly closing off the space above it.

Would love your thoughts on furniture (placement and/or new pieces), drapes, etc. I’m itching to get started but feeling stuck. Help!

Thanks so much!


If there is room on the other end of the sofa, a chair could go nicely there. Janie recommends creating two seating arrangements: one that is oriented to the TV and the other one under the windows. If you layered a room size rug and your current rug on top, it could hide a little of the asymmetry. If you are looking to fill up some wall space, more artwork or mirrors can look great — and only get a bookshelf if you are really needing space for more books! Our final thought is that adding some drapery could be great for adding some softness to the room.

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!

Subscribe in iTunes | Stitcher | Google Play | Spotify

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.