Podcast, Ep. 167 Nashville Week: Stephanie Sabbe

Stephanie Sabbe How to Decorate


Today’s episode comes to you from Nashville Week! We sit down with Stephanie Sabbe of Sabbe Interior Design. She started her career working in commercial and restaurant spaces and has transitioned to residential clients in her hometown of Nashville. We talk with Stephanie about how cozy her spaces make us feel, her love of traditional artwork, her favorite color palette and developing a flow to a room that feels personalized yet elevated!

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • Stephanie specializes in cozy and comforting spaces. She approaches design from a livable way and often works with families.   
  • How Stephanie pairs her unique curation of traditional artwork with fresh colors and clean lines to create a more modern look.
  • Stephanie tries to evoke motion as you move throughout a house; she wants a flow but for each room to feel like it’s a different space.
  • If there is a space in your house you aren’t using, you need to design it better.
  • Designing with kids in mind requires a great deal of practicality and thinking ahead.
  • A lot of Stephanie’s style was inspired from her time living and working in historic Boston.
  • Stephanie has an affinity for the autumn and earth tone color palette and often muted colors.
  • Stephanie talks about her widely shared image of a bookcase behind a tub.
  • Fun and personality are so important to Stephanie’s brand and her projects.
  • Second to natural light, Stephanie thinks sconce lighting is the best lighting.
  • Stephanie tried an old but new trick; painting the trim the same color as the wall.
  • Tips on designing the “dog chair”.

Decorating Dilemma

Hello Ladies,

I discovered your show about the time we moved to a new house. That was about 7 months ago. 
Quite frankly, your show has weaned me off Pinterest (still love it though) and the idea that everything in a room needs to have the same style. I love the personable flavor of your show combined with lots of great advice. 

Below are photos of our formal living room. The look I’m going for is classic with some trends mixed in to keep it fresh. We inherited the paint color. Perhaps it’s dated but I do think it works in here. The room has a walkway on each end (one leads from the kitchen/sitting area to the master and the other from the kitchen to the kids’ bedrooms).

I have slowly been collecting things for the glass shelves and have yet to style them.  I would love some decorating advice for these. Since they are so boxy (18” deep), they are daunting.   Since the shelves on the bottom have power, I am thinking of adding two lamps to the bottom middle alcoves on each side. 

My main question, however, is about furniture. The leather couch is from Ballard, purchased in March. We really like the grey wingbacks, but they may or may not stay.  What I really want to do is to add a second couch, forming an L shape—the second couch would have its back to the windows. I’d like some advice on furniture placement and also advice on what I should look for as far as fabric, height, and style for the second couch. I realize that it’s a little unconventional. We have another seating area with a sectional and I wanted to do something different with this room. If that is a horrible idea, I would love to hear your thoughts otherwise. For reference, there is 3 feet of walking space between the wingback next to the piano and the fireplace wall. This room is used for gathering (extended family can be up to 16 people), reading, music, and sometimes games. We watch TV in the other sitting area. The dimensions of the room are 14.5’ x 19.5’.

Feel free to give any other advice as well.  Thank you!


Hi Julie!

We love this sofa.  As far as furniture layout, we would pull the two wingback chairs back closer to the fireplace and flank them on either side.  If you use the storage below the glass shelving often, you could probably angle the chairs in a way so you can still have access.  You could definitely add a second sofa; something smaller like a loveseat.  Just be sure to consider back height and arm height on the sofa to make sure one doesn’t dwarf the other.  Since you already have so many solids, we would try something fun like a bold pattern to make that second piece pop.  We like the grey upholstery on the wingbacks and adding a patterned throw pillow.  The shelves are hard because of their differences; we like your lamp idea.  Another thing we would suggest is taking the art over the fireplace and replacing it with a mirror since you already have artwork over the sofa.  You might also consider painting the space; definitely the ceiling coffers.  We like creamy white for the whole room.  The fireplace has a lot of elements going on and we think if the room were all the same color, it would unify it. 

How about a rug to ground the seating area?  It’s not entirely clear from the pictures, but what if you centered the sofa with the fireplace?  You may have to move the piano to the other wall because it feels a bit lopsided having everything on one side of the room.  Stephanie agrees with moving the piano and then putting the bookcases behind the piano.  Then centering the art and adding two side tables, two table lamps will make that wall feel more symmetrical. If you move the piano and wingback chairs, you have room to put additional chairs in there, as well, to accommodate all the people. 

You have a great space and a great start; especially for only 7 months living there!  Keep us posted!

Mentioned In This Episode:

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Happy Decorating!

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Abbey Nolte

Abbey is a homegrown Georgia peach who loves a fresh take on Southern design. When she’s not working behind the scenes of the How to Decorate blog and podcast, you can find her cheering on the Appalachian State Mountaineers and spending time with her wheaten terrier, Charlie.