Podcast, Ep. 354: Common Decorating Pain Points with Colleen Simonds

Interior Designer Colleen Simonds

This week, we address frequent home decor challenges through the creative lens of designer Colleen Simonds. Colleen’s playful portfolio spaces have been published in top outlets and she offers practical tips for navigating choices, layouts, color selection, art sourcing, window treatments, and establishing focal points.

Colleen gives us some great strategies for transforming common pain points into imaginative designs tailored to one’s lifestyle, including approaches for maximalism, small spaces, and connected rooms.

A living room designed by Colleen Simonds

The “Salem Living Room,” decorated and designed by Colleen Simonds Design.

What You’ll Hear This Episode:

  • What are some of the most common pain points when it comes to decorating and design?
  • How to fix pain points in layout, color, lighting, and scale.
  • Tips for finding your focal point and then creating supporting characters around it.
  • Sometimes it’s just about time and patience to fix your pain points, so take a deep breath!
  • How to activate a small space rather than trying to make it look bigger.
  • Why art tends to be a pain point, and how to find your personal art that feels collected rather than all over the place.
  • Suggestions for simpler window treatments like woven wood shades.
  • Editing a space with clean lines and limited pieces rather than overcrowding a space.

Decorating Dilemma:

Hi, Loving your podcast!

I have a 1940s 1400 square foot cape in upstate NY. In the front of the house there’s a white kitchen, then a white dining room, then an off white living room.

There’s a lot of natural light in the kitchen and living room, but not so much in the dining room which is in the middle of the house and the front door opens up to the dining room.

Could I do something different in the dining room and how different?  I’m a little afraid since it’s in the middle and u walk through the dining room to get to all the rooms in the house.  Attaching some pictures.

Thank you!

– Kim

(P.S. — the blue wall is the hallway!)

Thanks for writing in, Kim!

First, what a charming space! And your art and decor already feel very well collected. Colleen’s first suggestion would be wallpaper.

You may consider a lighter-toned grass cloth to add warmth and texture. Or, if you want a pattern, a vertical wallpaper pattern can be a great way to lengthen the room and add some pop of color.

A round table with a leaf can also open things up but still serve as a way to keep the flow between the rooms.

How to Decorate

Also Mentioned in This Episode:

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Happy Decorating!

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Kelley Bostian

Kelley enjoys a light and livable home and is always searching for that perfect finishing touch. Here on How to Decorate, it's his goal to help you bring your own unique design vision to life.