MyHomeIdeas (MHI) What’s the most common mistake people make when they’re decorating their home?:
Gia Russo (GR): They take on too much. Concentrate and budget one room at a time. I recommend starting with the room that is the most important in your home, because you can take the time to buy furniture and accessories and get an end result you’ll love. Buying home decor is an investment, so it’s important to take the time buying these pieces, not buy them all at once.
MHI: How do you deal with a combined living room/dining room?
GR: Combined living and dining rooms are easy to make functional for both uses. When setting the rooms, think of them separately, but make sure the space for furniture will work together and create good flow. Create an area within the space for the table, chairs, and a great lighting fixture. Across from the dining room, set the sofa, coffee table, and so on.
Before placing your furniture, look at the empty space and sketch a few different layouts that will work for your family. This is important because you want to make sure you don’t get stuck with furniture that is too big for the space.
MHI: What colors do you love for interiors?
GR: There are many colors that I love right now. Two of my favorite color palettes are grass green, taupe, and white and pale yellow, grey, and white. They are sophisticated, fresh palettes that will look great with many design styles―and the colors are timeless.
MHI: When you’re starting a room from scratch, what’s the first thing you choose?
GR: The first thing I suggest is to create the overall color palette of the house. Pull paint chips, fabric swatches, flooring samples, and wood tones before you purchase anything. This will help create an overall design flow within the house.
Another great way to visualize your options is to tear pictures of room designs from magazines or look online for rooms you love. If you’re redecorating a space, keep in my mind what you don’t like about the old design and jot down a list of the changes you want to make.
MHI: Where are your favorite places to shop?
GR: I live in Los Angeles, and there are so many great places and neighborhoods in which to shop for home design. Calypso Home has beautiful accessories, textiles, and furniture. Empiric has great vintage accessories, furniture, and lighting―I bought one of my favorite lamps in my house there. OK offers amazing modern accessories and fun gift items. And I’ve purchased classic, simple furniture pieces for my house at Weego Home. Plus, I shop online a lot―particularly at Arcadia Home and Viva Terra.
MHI: What is your current favorite kitchen countertop material? Cabinet finish? Flooring choice?
GR: I love white Carrera marble―it’s clean, timeless, and looks great with any style. I like many cabinet finishes, but I prefer white or painted semigloss cabinets because they’re classic and look great with any style. For flooring, I love dark stained walnut wood floors―they’re timeless and make a strong statement.
MHI: What current trend do you think we’ll be so tired of five years from now?
GR: Hollywood Regency. I respect this design, but it’s very fussy!
MHI: What motifs/movies/cultural influences are currently influencing your style?
GR: Vintage fabrics influence my style. I’m drawn to patterns from the 1950s through the 1970s. Marimekko is one of my favorite textile design companies because of its fun patterns and colors.
MHI: What’s the thing people should splurge on? Where can they save?
GR: I think people should splurge on the finishes for their home. You can save on the accessories. There are many accessories available in the marketplaces that are beautiful and affordable.
See more from Gia Russo on RealSimple