Decorating Tips from HGTV Design Star Danielle Colding

So excited today to feature a conversation with Danielle Colding, our friend and winner of HGTV Design Star.  Danielle is the owner of the eponymous Danielle Colding Designs, a New York based interior design firm- though her work takes her well beyond the island of Manhattan.  Danielle is a Queens native, an alumna of  Stanford and FIT and the star of Shop This Room.  Her trademarks are high personalization and global influence.  Most recently she took her signature style and tackled holiday decorating in the HGTV special Celebrity Holiday Homes.

X: A lot of times, when couples first start decorating, in lieu of dis-agreeing, they tend to go beige and bland. How do you convince your clients to be more brave and bold?

D: That is a tough question and something that comes up quite a bit for couples. Neutrals are great but often leave rooms feeling dull and lifeless if no colorful touches are brought in. I encourage my clients to purchase versatile large pieces that will stand the test of time- generally in neutral palettes. The next step is to bring in some color and pizazz with the smaller decorative accessories and lighting- think colorful throw pillows or table lamps. For the faint of heart this can be a simple way to take some risks with items that are less of an investment.

X: What tips can you offer up to couples as they try and find their new, joint, personal style? Any suggestions on where to look for inspiration?

For couples seeking to merge disparate styles the main thing is to look for commonalities. Even if you can’t agree on furniture and accessory styles often there are colors that speak to both people. Looking for places to come together and coming up with some areas when you are willing to bend are key. Identify the most important elements to you and fight for those- be it comfy seating or a specific wall color. Then identify items you are willing to let go. Here, compromise is key. And often the best interiors are a melding of different tastes and styles.

The other thing I find that brings couples together is uniting on a special purchase- be it a piece of art or a classic modern lounge chair. A joint decision on an investment piece can be a good starting point for couples seeking to make a home together.

My favorite source of inspiration is travel. Have you as a couple taken a trip together that can serve as inspiration for your space? Fashion can be another place to identify personal style.

X: Must have Registry picks for a couple looking to make a statement in their nest?

My must haves for couples are to purchase items centered around entertaining. Think about things that will help you welcome friends and family to your home in a sophisticated way. Classic bar ware with a vintage flair is a must. And when purchasing bar ware don’t forget that a bar itself can be a place to display this collection. A ton of manufacturers have come up with amazing bar cabinets that are true show stoppers in any home. Think of all the items that will help you as a couple to bring the people in your lives into your home.

X: After a wedding, for a lot of couples redecorating (or decorating, period) can be a slow and steady process. Any insider quick tips on how to make your house feel more like a home?

D: One of the best ways to bring in a sense of home to a new house is by incorporating quirky elements. Look to inherited pieces and thrift store finds to add unusual touches. Ask friends with great taste to buy you something not on the registry… ask relatives for pieces you’ve been eyeing. A wedding is the perfect time to strike!

X: Some random, non-decorating questions. Favorite thing in your closet right now?

D: My favorite thing in my closet right now are my new gray Adidas, hightop sneakers. The older I get the more I want to dress like a teenage skate boarder.

X: Favorite thing in your house right now?

D: My favorite thing in my house right now is a blue glass with etched stars pendant light fixture I inherited from my Grandfather. Once finally installed it made a narrow hallway are feel special by casting an ethereal blue light on the area.

X: Last best thing you ate/ drank?

The Szechuan Lobster from Wo Hop in China town in the wee hours of the morning recommended by my cab driver that night. Yum! Gotta love NYC!

X: (Wo Hop is AMAZING.) Most inspiring restaurant or hotel?

D: I like to be in spaces that evoke a certain mood and notice when all elements in the space work together to create a certain feeling. I tend to avoid the pretentious and look for the comfortable and well designed. One of my favorite places that achieves this is Il Buco on Bond Street. What I love most is that the incredible food is paired with a warm eclectic space and servers who are completely unpretentious. All elements of the restaurant are in sync to make for an experience that is at once very comfortable and incredibly chic.

X: Thing you most want to find under your Christmas tree this year?

D: I am dying for a gold Nixon, man’s watch. Fingers crossed.

Danielle’s special “Celebrity Holiday Homes” will be airing on HGTV on December 24th at 5PM. Set your TIVO or watch while baking up some holiday cheer!

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