Podcast, Ep. 153: designer Jena Salmon

Atlanta interior designer Jena Salmon joins the podcast

Photo: Chucky Kahng

We kick off this week’s show with our favorite design books, and what better time to start reading then now, while we are all still at home? Then, we welcome designer Jena Salmon from Atlanta to talk about her style that incorporates classic and traditional with a little funk. Jena discusses her love of color, how novices can get started with bold choices that will stand the test of time, tips and tricks for wallpaper, and ways to mix in traditional older pieces with modern furniture and design.

What You’ll Hear on the Show:

  • Our top books in design for beginners, fancy homes, “normals”, and everyone in between!
  • Design books can be an investment themselves, but they are a great accessory and also make for great gifts and trading.
  • Jena’s style is funky, but also classic and traditional. She shares how just using one acrylic or contemporary piece out of context can make a big difference.
  • How to choose colors that are bold but stand the test of time.
  • An inner glimpse at a Frank Lloyd Wright inspired house that Jena is working on, and how she captures the client’s requests with the overall architecture of a home.
  • How we can save money and time by using wallpaper in the most efficient ways.
  • Why Jena chose blue and tile tile, and how this can create classic neutrality also found in plain white kitchens.
  • What happens with showrooms after they are done, and why a designer would want to do one.

Decorating Dilemmas:

Good evening ladies!

I loved listening to your newest podcast with Toledo Geller! I 100% have the problem of walking right into a large living room and into the back of a sofa. I have a small entryway that opens right into a vaulted living room.  My other issue is that the fireplace is on the wall that is NOT vaulted and makes it difficult to figure out a focal point.

In the small entryway area that I am debating putting a bench (like your Lonny storage bench) or a chest with a chair next to it to allow guests to sit to take their shoes off.  I’ve also played around with doing two seating areas in the living room since the room is very long (24 feet)  OR do I just go for one massive sectional?

Below are the photos from the living room. Our paint color right now is Repose gray.  I’m not loving anything in the room right now so I’m honestly open to any suggestions. I love the area rug since it is a family heirloom, so that’s the only thing that will likely stay.  It’s kind of a hodgepodge right now of items that worked in our old house. We have two young children, so I envision us watching tv, playing games, and eventually having their friends over to hang out in this room.

So here are my questions:

  1. Furniture layout… help!
  2. Should we do the TV above the fireplace and cover the fireplace in a different material?
  3. What do I do on the large vaulted wall?  How do I make it not feel so massive?

Thank you SO much!

Thank you for writing in! We would make sure everything is painted the same color and in flat paint so there is not a lot of reflection. Since you have young children, they are going to need a place to play and a TV above the fireplace will work here. Check out our Coventry Benches that would provide some great space for storage and also additional seating options. A solid tall piece of furniture could also be used for storage without competing with color. Behind the sofa, a drop leaf table could be a great option for eating and more storage. Great for kids and it will soon serve as your new dining room table/drop space for walking in the door, etc!

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.


  1. Reply


    April 15, 2021

    I’m looking for a jute rug

    • Reply

      Abbey Nolte

      April 20, 2021

      We have many jute rugs you can browse here.
      Happy Decorating!