Have you ever looked at a picture of a room and just felt like it “worked”? And then wondered how on earth to recreate it? If you’ve flipped through home design magazines and scrolled through Pinterest thinking, “I can never make a room look like this,” don’t despair. I have four letters for you: ONBB.
It’s my secret method of breaking apart a room to see how it works. It’s my foolproof go-to, my design formula. It’s the way to get the Whitney English look in your home!
First, some definitions.
- Old: This includes antiques (100+ years old), vintage items (50+ years old), items with an original design (i.e., good enough to have been knocked off), good reproductions, iconic pieces.
- New: This is usually something in a more modern style, with cleaner lines. It’s shiny, polished perfection. These pieces are typically recently purchased and might be produced in mass quantities.
- Borrowed: Here, we are looking for things that add layers to your room. Items that tell stories. Things you picked up during travel, items that come from a different culture, or that have special meaning to you. You want to add texture to the room through your “borrowed” items.
- Blue & Green: This includes the entire spectrum from lime to cornflower. When I’m looking for the perfect shades for a room I gravitate toward what is soothing and organic.
When I’m looking at a room, I ask myself what fits into each of those four categories. I’m checking to see what is lacking or what a room has too much of. I’m grabbing a pen and paper to write it all down, because you know I love to make a list! Once I’ve figured out what fits into each category, my next steps are:
- Figuring out what absolutely has to stay in the room. Knowing the nonnegotiables helps me to plan everything else.
- If painting the space is a possibility, I try to pull from paint colors I have experience with. Sometimes paint colors don’t turn out how you think they will, so I prefer to use colors I know when I can!
- Add a rug—this is a great way to bring in texture and start layering.
- Now it’s time to figure out what furniture needs to be added to the space. Furniture is expensive, so I often make do while I’m saving up or waiting for a sale on what I really want. Don’t underestimate the power of rearranging furniture—sometimes a different location can make a piece seem brand new! And don’t be scared of a thrift store find and a can of paint—sometimes these turn out to be the stars of a room!
- Once I’ve gotten all the “base” pieces in place—wall color, a rug, furniture—it’s time for the best part: getting the right mix. It’s like putting together a puzzle: old, new, borrowed, blue and green. Play around with rearranging, with layering in art and accessories, and remember—be patient! You can’t rush good design. It’s going to take time to get the right mix.
If you are ready to jump in on trying my magic four letters, you won’t want to miss my upcoming Home Meets Heart workshop. I’ll be going even more in-depth into the ONBB method, plus so much more. You can register here (and if you are a Style & Story member, it’s included in your membership!)