Podcast, Ep. 154: designer Tish Mills

Atlanta interior designer Tish Mills joins the podcast to talk construction

Photo: Chris Little

Tish Mills is known for creating peaceful yet livable spaces that reflect the homeowners personality. She joins us this week to talk about her love of construction, how a great design team makes the whole thing seem effortless, and ways we can create peace and harmony in our busy homes and lives. We also reminisce about the showroom we worked on together in 2014, and draw from that how to take pieces and customize them in a beautiful way that is meaningful to you.

What You’ll Hear On This Episode:

  • Trials and triumphs on good neighbor relations when it comes to painting, a fun pastel door color, the wrong sized curtains (take two), and a few of the best options for good ergonomics when working from home until who knows when. 
  • The difference between console and desks in terms of height and surface working area.
  • Why Tish used the word “peaceful” when it comes to her design, and examples of projects that fit this description perfectly, including a home with fluted kitchen cabinets.   
  • How a great team in design can make a project seem effortless.
  • More about Tish’s love of construction, and how it’s like a mix to go through labor and to therapy when doing a major remodel.
  • Tish’s dad was one of the four major developers of Hilton Head, so construction is in her blood.
  • Why planning ahead and knowing our traffic patterns can help make the best decisions in every aspect of design, as early as we can. 
  • How Tish works with her clients to use pieces that are personal and meaningful that they collect over time, rather than feeling like they need to furnish and decorate in a hurry.
  • How we can use earth tones correctly.
  • More about the Not Your Average Downsize project which boasted a 30,000 square foot incredible home.
  • Using metals as the base for your interiors, and options that you may not have otherwise thought about.
  • More about the showhouse we did together in 2014 at the Atlanta Symphony Showhouse, and what we can learn about taking objects and customizing them to make them feel like your own. 

Decorating Dilemma:

Your podcast is amazing! I feel lucky to have stumbled across it at the same time I purchased my first home, an 1885 Victorian in Mobile. (Shout-out Caroline). Binge listening to all of the episodes has been a joy.

My design dilemmas are many but I will start by asking you for advice regarding a puzzling master bedroom layout.

The intended look was the bed in front of the windows with chandelier (from Ballard, love it) above to be a dramatic focal point upon entering the room.  However, the chandelier is not centered to the windows/bed and the windows are not centered to the back wall. I THINK this will not matter much once I have drapes, rug, lamps, and artwork in the room but if I need to move things around I want to do it before I purchase those things as that will change what I need.

The other layout option is to put the bed with headboard to the left wall and foot towards the fireplace (fireplace does not work so no worries about space around it).  This is a functional layout but less pretty/dramatic.

The door behind the mirror goes to another bedroom and does not open due to furniture on the other side .

Any other suggestions welcome. The bed and armoire are staying but all other pieces are remnants from prior homes and can be moved elsewhere. Any suggestions for drapes/rugs/etc also welcome.

Do I need to have the chandelier moved? That sounds expensive.

Love the show,

Fireplace in Liz's bedroom

We love this question, and love that you are up for a change. Tish agrees 100% that the bed facing the fireplace is too expected, and doesn’t feel that you need to move the chandelier. Do some floor to ceiling panels, and weight the treatments slightly more to equalize the windows. Do complimentary tables on the side, and they do not have to match. The part of the door to the right of the fireplace that you don’t use, the mirror feels a little out of place, so you could find another place for it. You can also put a nice comfy chair there and create a seating area or cozy reading nook. Art is important in this space, and Tish would float a piece of art over the headboard. There are also some “lazy” options that we suggest, and we won’t tell anyone if you decide to go for them!

Mentioned In This Episode:

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


    March 3, 2021

    What a fabulous episode! When discussing the window treatments no one talked about the view out the windows. I definitely agree with Tish about using sheers and especially because they would let in the light while also blocking the view of the house next door.

  2. Reply

    Shawna Vordokas

    November 30, 2020

    I want to see Caroline’s house before and after.

    • Reply

      Caroline McDonald

      December 8, 2020

      You’re so sweet. Still working on the after 🙂 We’ve made some progress but still a LONG way to go!