Podcast, Ep. 209: designers Mark Williams & Niki Papadopoulos

Mark Williams & Niki Papadopoulos How to Decorate Podcast

Photo: Rob Brinson. Designers Mark Williams & Niki Papadopoulos

Our guests today are Mark Williams and Niki Papadopoulos, partners at Mark Williams Design. They share with us their thoughts on how homes are changing with their clients’ changing needs, how to approach design challenges, and more.

What You’ll Hear on Today’s Episode:

  • How Mark and Niki got their starts in the design industry
  • How homes have been evolving over the last couple of years
  • Why it’s important for your home to bring strength and optimism to your life
  • Challenges their clients’ have had that have influenced their architectural and design choices
  • Why it’s important for all of us to look honestly at our daily lives and address challenges with design
  • How Mark and Niki work antique pieces into their clients’ homes

Decorating Dilemma

Hi Girls!

I love the podcast and look forward to Tuesday when a new episode comes out! I have a decorating dilemma that I would love y’all’s help with!

My husband and I got married and purchased our first house about a year ago. I am almost “”done”” with our main family room and am starting to move on to our dining room/living room/bar area. Our home is about 1,500 square feet, so we have to make every inch count. The space is about 11ftx20ft, and I would like to have a dining area and a lounge/bar area. We do not have a table in our kitchen, so our dining room table serves the purpose of everyday meals and more formal occasions. I love a traditional look but hope to add some more modern touches to make it seem a little more fun. In the pictures, please excuse the very makeshift set-up we currently have! The only items that will stay are the dining room table, china cabinet, dining room chairs (They were my grandmothers, but I plan to have them painted to break up the wood tones and recovered in a fun fabric.) and the recently lacquered bar cart (I love the classic shiny black!). We need a new couch, coffee table, lounge chairs, art, etc.

 A couple of my questions are:

  1. What do I do about an area rug? I like the idea of one larger rug, natural fiber type filling the whole room and then layering a vintage Oushak in the bar area. The space is not a standard size though, so after taking advice from y’all, I went to a carpet store to see how much it would be to have carpet cut and surged to size, and it was much more expensive than I was expecting to achieve the look I’m hoping for. Another idea I had was to get two natural fiber rugs for the two separate spaces and then still layer another Oushak type rug in the bar area? The cost of this would be significantly less than the custom cut which would allow me to spend more money elsewhere. You can see where I taped out this idea just to mock it up. Do you think that would work? If I do the two separate rugs, how much hardwood should show between them in the center of the room? And how much hardwood do you typically want showing around the perimeter? I know in the dining area, all dining chair legs should be on the rug, and it’s okay to have front legs on the rug and back legs off in the bar/lounge area.


  1. Window treatments. We love the bay window on the front of the house, but have some awkwardly placed small/tall windows on the side wall. What do I do about these to make them less awkward? Should I do panels on either side of both the bay window and the small windows? Panels for the bay window, something else for the small windows? Help!


  1. Lighting. There is currently no chandelier above the dining room table or wiring for one. There is recessed lighting throughout the whole room, on a dimmer! Do I need a chandelier for the dining area? I am hesitant to add one because the dining room table does have leaves, but it makes it so it is no longer round, more of a rectangle with round ends. If we had a big party, the table would expand into the lounge/bar area and then the chandelier wouldn’t be centered. Would that be weird?


Other thoughts: I love the idea of a velvet (performance!) sofa in front of the bay window and a big piece of modern art above the bar. We did paint the walls when we moved in, and they are the same color as the entry hallway, family room, and back hall that all sort of flow together, so I’m leaning towards keeping them this warm white (BM Linen White), but also not totally opposed to changing them either. The colors in our family room (you can see slightly peeking through the doorway) are soft green, blue, and pink along with plenty of neutrals so I want to make sure everything flows. Also, what do I do about the area in the bay window behind the couch? It’s a bay window but there is a “”shelf”” so it is not open in the bay. Any other tips, tricks, or advice would be greatly appreciated! I can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

Thank you for all your help!!


Show Notes:

Please send in your questions so we can answer them on our next episode! And of course, subscribe to the podcast in Apple Podcasts 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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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.