Podcast, Ep. 365: Timeless Design Advice with Robert Brown

Interior Designer Robert Brown

This week, we are joined by award-winning Atlanta based designer, Robert Brown. Known for his tailored and highly edited spaces, Robert shares some great tips for blending vintage pieces with a modern aesthetic, finding the right balance of traditional and contemporary, and using antiques in a way that feels fresh and exciting.

We also chat with Robert about the similarities between the fashion industry and interior design, tips for navigating the antique market like a pro and how the storytelling aspect of antiquing is just as important as the design.

What You’ll Hear This Episode:

  • Tips for reimagining antiques to bring character to your space.
  • How can you tell when something doesn’t work?
  • Robert talks about a historic house in Atlanta and how it exemplifies starting with the architectural envelope.
  • Some insider hints for navigating online auctions, and the importance of always doing your research.
  • How to overcome insecurity about asking questions regarding antiques and making sure you stay informed.
  • Sourcing antiques based on client design needs.
  • Why you shouldn’t be afraid to mix periods.
  • More about Robert’s career journey from fashion to interior design and how the two industries are related.
  • Robert’s recommendations for the right pieces, materials and furniture to invest in for beauty, functionality and comfort.

Decorating Dilemma:


My daughter suggested that I send in this question, along with these photos.

My dilemma is the rugs for this living room. This is a farmhouse (not farmhouse-style, but actual working farmhouse) that was somewhat renovated a couple of years ago. As you can see, it is a long room, with two distinct areas.

I don’t even know why I chose the shag (probably too many decisions overload) but everyone, including me, hates them and they are extremely impractical. This room gets a lot of use from adults, children and dogs. The big carpet is 10’ x 14’ and the smaller one is about 8’ x 8’.

I am at a loss- can I go a little smaller with both rugs? Should I try to get the same rug for both places? I’d like some color in the rugs but how will that be with the patterns in the chairs?

Window coverings are also an issue. I have roll down shades on all the windows, which I like, mainly to block the sun at certain parts of the day. The shades are almost all the way up because the views are so pretty and privacy isn’t an issue. But, maybe, it would look more complete and finished if I did put some curtains, and, if so, what?

Thank you,

– Nancy

Hi Nancy,

Thank you for your question!

So, Robert wants to do the opposite of what you were thinking and to replace the two smaller rugs with one large area rug that spans from the baseboards to under the furniture. This will help unify the space visually. Have the rug custom cut from wall-to-wall carpeting for the best fit.

Consider rearranging the furniture to open up the room even more. For example, you could swap the sofa and chairs by the fireplace to draw the eye in that direction. Add side panel curtains in a complementary color to the walls. Mount them outside the window frame and let them graze the floor for a polished look. This will enhance the acoustics and add visual interest without blocking the views.

And, lastly, choose a durable, low-maintenance performance rug that’s suitable for high-traffic areas with pets and kids. Look for tone-on-tone patterns that disguise dirt.

Thanks for writing in!

– 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.