Podcast, Ep. 198: designer Roger Higgins

Designer Roger Higgins

Photo: Quinn Ballard. Designer Roger Higgins.

Today we welcome the delightful Roger Higgins to the show. Roger is a Nashville-based designer that has been creating classic and timeless spaces for his clients for over 25 years. His work has been featured in Traditional Home, Architectural Digest, Style Blueprint, Nashville Lifestyles, and more. Roger takes pride in creating spaces that can not only be admired but lived in. We talk about his love of patterns, dining rooms, breaking the rules, and more. And why he doesn’t sweat the small stuff!

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • Trials & Triumphs about Caroline’s basement project, another baby joining the HTD family (which also means a nursery!), and all about Karen’s trip to Scott’s Antique Market.
  • How Roger is able to pull off a loose and casual style.
  • Roger loves a neutral couch with patterns and texture.
  • Our strong feelings on throw pillows.
  • Why Roger loves his books—especially Elements of Style.
  • Is painting the walls, trim, molding, etc., all the same color classic or trend?
  • How to work with couples who have different styles.
  • Roger’s tips for picking fabrics.
  • Why does Roger love a dining room so much?
  • Shedding light on a go-to way to quickly update the look of a room.
  • Why Roger doesn’t sweat the small stuff.
  • When is it better to recover or reupholster a piece vs. replace it?

Decorating Dilemma

Hi ladies! I love love love your podcast with all of your amazing guest, decorating tips, and inspiration! I especially like that I take something away from every episode. Im hoping you can help me out with some chair drama, a drama-less kitchen, and a bar makeover.

To start with, I’m not sure what to do with this chair in my living room. It was the very first piece I bought, then ended up taking it a different direction. I don’t know if it will help if I spend the money to reupholster and refinish the chair, or will it still not work with my other furniture in the end?  While you are looking at photos of my living room, do I need window treatments? They are not necessary for privacy since our neighbors are quite aways from our house. I’m not certain how window treatments will work on our door wall. The working doors are the doors on the ends. There’s not much room (12”) from the moldings at the top of the window and the top of the built in that holds the TV for the curtains to hang while open. Would it look odd if I had window treatments on all other windows with the exception of that wall?  With an open floor plan, is it all or none?

And then my kitchen…it feels very blah. There is nothing for eye to rest on. It’s very “cream” I know that window treatments in here is a must but what else can I do add some drama?!

And finally the bar. Do you recognize it? I had our trim carpenter replicate your Salerno console table to fit perfectly in that opening.  I change the décor theme on the bar top seasonally. The  color of the stain on the top and the doors is not the right shade. Should I just paint the entire bar to match my trim or should I try to fix the stain by sanding and refinish with a different stain? The wall behind the bar also needs something. There is 18” x 57” of wall on either side of the window.  Maybe some wallpaper, or a tile backsplash? Shelves?  I was also thinking about adding a timber across the top soffit to match the timbers we have throughout the house. The bar itself is 68”w x 42”h x 32” d.

Thank you so much for your help! I look forward to any advice you have, including areas I didn’t ask about! Please don’t hold back!😜


Hi Jenn,

I personally think the chair can work just as it is. I will always go to draperies because I think they finish the room. The big-ticket items are the probably the rug and the upholstery and because they are neutral and soft enough, I would be more inclined to pull a color from the rug and use it in the drapery panel; you only need one long rod along the wall for the panels and place the panels in between the glass sections.  They don’t necessarily have to function—more for the aesthetic! The blue color from the rug is really nice. Also, I would change up the warmer toned pillows like the burgundy and blush. Or find a bridge fabric that has those colors as well as the colors of the rug in it.  It’s a very inviting aesthetic you have! So maybe the find something with all of these colors that has a fun pattern. There might be a bit of a sticker shock on the drapery, but it will be SO worth it.

In the kitchen I would maybe put some faux Roman or valance in the window over the sink. On the wall opposite the sink with the mirror, that would be a great place to maybe install panel molding and paint inside of that the color of your drapery. You could even upholster in there with the drapery fabric. It’ll be a very impactful statement and will tie everything in. I would love to see some kind of large lantern for a lighting fixture or just something heavy over the island.  Even one with a shade the color of the drapery like the Margot could be perfect here!

For the bar, if you’re open to painting, I love that pale grey-blue accent color from the rug like I talked about. You could do the cabinets on the bar that color. So, it would be the same color as the drapery and the panel wall in the kitchen. A lamp would also be pretty in there, too. We would take all of the small things out and slowly add them back until you get to the look you want.  Caroline likes the idea of tiny art on the wall…almost like wallpaper out of art. Roger and Karen are open to that, but not as sold!  Roger is more apt to paint the back wall the same color as the cabinets, stopping the paint on the inside corners just at the top of the window molding. Not on either of the sidewalls; just the back wall.

We know we’ve given you a ton of different ideas here, so we can’t wait to see what you do. But we already love this room. The big stuff is mostly done here; you just need a few tweaks. So great job, Jenn!

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!

Subscribe in iTunes | Stitcher | Google Play | Spotify

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.


  1. Reply


    November 7, 2021

    What is the baby book that Caroline was plugging?

    • Reply

      Caroline McDonald

      November 8, 2022

      Hey Carol,
      It’s Hunt Gather Parent by Michaeleen Doucleff. Hope you enjoy it!