A Designer’s Eye

The Importance of Décor Styling

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The importance of decor styling is a topic of conversation we have often. One question that many of our clients ask is, “How do you coordinate all the little details and finish the space off so well?” The answer lies is creating a careful balance between the principle components of the home (larger items or influences), with the smaller components (décor and accessories). Examples of the principle components would be the rug, couch, accent chairs, coffee tables, dining tables, paint colors and the tone/stain of the flooring and cabinetry. Examples of the smaller components would be lamps, art, table accessories, pillows, curtains, wall décor and plants. The principle components are what grounds a good design, whereas the little details are what bring a space together, and creates the “pop” in the room. We call this décor styling.

Décor styling is what creates character and interest in a space. We always strive to pick pieces and concepts that speak to the client, their lifestyle and what is most important to them. I’ll start with saying that coordinating pillows, rugs and curtains in a cohesive manner is one of the biggest ways to make a room come together.  We suggest buying the rug first, and then selecting pillows and curtains thereafter. The second most influential decision in décor styling is selecting the proper artwork. Especially If the client’s artwork is priority, strategically selecting pieces of sculptures or wall artwork first throughout the home is necessary. If artwork is a priority for you, I would suggest selecting a piece first, and then basing the rest of the room off of the colors and feel of the art piece.  Pay attention to the stronger tones/colors in the art piece, and also the secondary colors of the artwork.  I recommend using the artwork’s secondary colors as a main color in the home such as in the wall paint color, color of couch, or curtains/rug.

For smaller décor pieces, if the client is a reader, stacking books on shelving and coffee tables would be appropriate. With families, we typically use a lot of picture frames to give color and personality to the home, which also allows them to display family photos. We also highly recommend adding plant life to areas. It immediately creates of homey, soften feel.

In conclusion, the best advice we can give you is to mix elements when styling. Use tall pieces mixed with foliage, books, and decorative sculptures. Use modern pieces with traditional pieces. Use bolder colors with lighter colors. Don’t be matchy-matchy. Use all different tones of a color to prevent it from looking like a “model home”.  Mix wood tones, and neutral colors (blacks with browns, crèmes with whites, grays with blacks, etc). Most importantly, go out on a limb, and don’t play it super safe. Our best designs have come out when we took a risk. It’s worth it! See a few examples below of how to implement décor styling.

Check our website,, for how we implemented “decor styling”!

Happy Styling!



Choosing Paint Colors & Decorating with Color

By | A Designer's Eye, Great Decorating Ideas, Interior Design & Decorating Inspirations, Interior Design and Decorating, San Diego Design & Decorating | One Comment

Picking paint colors, and creating a color scheme for your home can be one of the most difficult tasks in decorating. However, it does not have to be! As long as you have a few rules of thumb and education in color, you will be fine! My biggest advice: Don’t be afraid to take a risk. Are you unsure if those burnt orange accent chairs will go with your sage wall? Well, try it! You won’t know unless you try. Also, it always tends to be those things you aren’t sure about, that end up being the best element in the room.

So, here is a brief summary on color theory: Color harmony in a space is the ultimate goal, which is the pleasing arrangement of colors, creating a balance in the visual experience. This can be achieved through several types of color schemes. Analogous colors are any three colors which are side by side on a 12 part color wheel. Contrasting is adding a pop of color from the opposite side of the wheel. We typically call these our “accent colors”. Monochromatic is simply just tints, tones, and shades of a single hue (everything of the same color). Now that you’re an expert in color theory it’s time to get started!

1. First off, keep in mind that when using a fan deck, the middle color is the true color and then moving outwards (up or down) is either adding black and/or white, or just increasing/decreasing the pigment in the original color.

This picture is a good example of complimentary colors working together. The blue and red are opposite on the color wheel, yet they work together very nicely. Other examples of this would be burnt orange and turquoise, plum and yellow, sage green and red, blue and yellow, etc. Complimentary colors always work together if done correctly.

2. Be sure to consider variety in your space. If you have brown floors, furniture, and trim, mix it up by choosing a paint, or other pieces of furniture with gray or black undertones to avoid too much of the same thing. Black, white, grey, and brown are all considered neutrals so feel free to mix them in accordingly in your space. You do NOT have to stick to just one of them. Boring…..

2. A small paint color sample can look extremely different covering a complete wall. To remedy this, paint the samples you are considering in a sizable patch on your wall (2’x2′ squares do the trick). Be sure to do this on a shadowed wall as well as a wall that gets natural light, as the color will look different depending on light quality. Look at it for 1-2 days, noticing the changes in color through the hour changes.

3. Remember to consider your lighting. Different types of bulbs flatter different paint colors and shades. What may look great under an incandescent light source might not look the same under a fluorescent one. To get an accurate view of the actual color, take it outside into natural light.

4. Consider VOCs (volatile organic compounds) when choosing a brand. VOCs are solvents that get released into the air as the paint dries and even long after it dries. These compounds can cause headaches and have also been linked to other heath issues. Luckily, a wide range of low VOC or VOC free options are now available from many brands. We typically use Dunn Edwards; they carry a great no-VOC product. Considering these options is especially important for spaces with small children, pregnant women, the elderly, people with allergy issues or anyone that wants to improve their overall indoor air quality.

Still stumped over choosing a paint color, or decorating with color? Give us a call for a consultation! 619-718-0647

White: Not As Boring As You Think

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Painting or leaving your walls white could be one of the most underestimated ideas in Interior Design. When choosing a paint color, many times we don’t really consider sticking to white for creating a particular look.  White is especially beneficial in creating nautical, beach, modern, shabby chic, or minimalist, clean styled homes.

Not only are white walls clean and classic, but also an easy option for those who are renting and cannot paint their space or just don’t feel like painting. Here are some tips to making white rooms look “designed” by adding the right everything else.

  1. Reflect:  Add glass and mirrored elements to make the space clean and contemporary
  2. Go for the gold: Gold accessories and furnishings make a white space look expensive and elegant if you are going for that look
  3. Lighting: As you know, lighting is everything; let it do the talking. Point the eye to interesting pendants, chandeliers, or even just clean recessed lighting.
  4. Plants are your best friends: Use plants to liven up the space. The vibrant colors really pop against white, and immediately create a warm, cozy feeling. Nothing is more beautiful than nature itself!
  5. Opposites attract: Use black and white to create an monochrome space for an artistic vibe. Add 1-2 accent colors for more interest
  6. Go all the way: There are no limits to where you can use white (cleanability lifestyle to take into consideration). White window treatments, draperies, bedding, couches, etc. can all be used against a white wall. An all white space can look bright, clean and breezy if done right.

Still struggling with how to use white? Give us a call to see if we can help! 619-718-0647

Black: An Ode to the Color That Never Goes Out of Style

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Whether it’s an outfit, or a room, black is notorious for creating an instant sense of elegance, contrast or sharpness. While this is easy to incorporate into your wardrobe, it can be a little trickier to incorporate in your home. Here are some tips for making the trend work in any space:

  1. Start very small: Start using black accessories, or main components of a room to ensure you like the bold look in your home. Try it for 3-5 days and make sure you don’t get tired of it.
  2. Getting comfortable: Painting a smaller space (like a powder room) can give you a good idea if you will like the look in a larger (and more public) area. **Important: Always take lighting into consideration. I don’t suggest painting dark colors in dark-lit rooms. Make sure you have proper lighting
  3. Avoid the Morgue look: Bring in plants in to liven up the space, lighter colors as accents, and lighter trims
  4. Go glam: A high gloss paint is sophisticated and reflects light beautifully. This is typically most popular on doors, hallways, or very glam-contemporary rooms/ceilings
  5. Stay true to your style: Whether you’re contemporary or traditional, incorporate black in a way that’s authentic to you. Black works anywhere with any style if done correctly
  6. Putting lipstick on your room: Black baseboards and black crown molding (versus the everyday white molding), really can transform a space. I LOVE this idea for certain looks. Don’t just assume you have to use white on your trim and moldings
  7. Make magic in the kitchen: Glossy black cabinetry is sleek and unexpected if you are going for a glam or contemporary look


The “How-To”: Creating a Picture Wall Collage

By | A Designer's Eye, Decorating Quick Flip Tips, Great Decorating Ideas, Interior Design & Decorating Inspirations, Interior Design and Decorating, San Diego Design & Decorating | One Comment

We have been hanging pictures for decades, but it seems an old trend is dissipating and a new one is emerging! The trend is this: there is no end to ways you can hang wall collages, but there is definitely a formula to this task.

The key to having a successful wall collage is to make sure you take the time to lay out your collage before hanging the pictures. Lay all your frames on the floor to configure which frame goes where. The best way to achieve an organized  look is to have the same distance between each frame all around. You can also develop a formula to where just the widths between photos are the same, or just the heights between photos are the same. The key is to create a calm chaos. You want to arrange the photos in a manner that is different and achieves interest, but also has uniformity to the layout, or else it may look unfinished or too chaotic.

To hang the photos, always take a picture of how you laid it out, because you will forgot. Start with the frame in the middle. Hang it on the desired location of the wall. Next, choose a second frame that is adjacent to the middle frame. Start working your way out and around until they are all hung! A level, pencil and wall laser are your best friends. The wall laser especially is incredibly helpful to hang pictures in a straight line, horizontally or vertically.

Lastly, there are endless things to items you can put in the frames. You don’t have to put anything in the frame, achieving the shabby sheek, minimalist look. You can put scrapbook paper, stretched fabric, sentimental items such as movie tickets, love letters, or post cards or even paint the wall behind the frame.  Here are some great examples of how to hand a collage of photos!

Check out a few different wall collages below:

You can have a playful look to your collage or a more refined look. To get a more refined look, change the prints to all black and white photos with a thick matte frame,  and organize frames into a very clean layout such as the idea below…

Some like their collages more playful! It’s always fun to grab multiple different styles of frames for a more eclectic feel.

Behind the Scenes: Eastlake Home Decorating

By | A Designer's Eye, Bedrooms, Great Decorating Ideas, Interior Design & Decorating Inspirations, Interior Design and Decorating, J Hill Interior Design News, Offices, San Diego Design & Decorating, San Diego Design Inspirations | 2 Comments

J Hill Interior Designs had tons of fun decorating this Eastlake newly purchased home for a referral client. This young family moved in a few weeks prior to us arriving, and was in a very motivated mind set to get it furnished, decorated, and  start feeling like a home. We decorating everything from scratch, with the only per-existing item being their cat tower (diverting the cat’s attention away from the newly purchased couch they would love to set their claws on).

The client originally expressed their interest in a very neutral color scheme design; mainly browns, cremes, beige and grays. The originally color of all walls was an odd brown color, with the kitchen being a beachy, light blue. We immediately knew the blue had to go, and replaced it with a calm sage that corresponded with a refreshing gray main color throughout the rest of the living area.

Over the course of a month, we fully decorated the home from head to toe. The one particular room we had fun with was the patriotic guest bedroom. Our client loved white, crisp, ruched bedding (which we also used in the master), and wanted a room designated specifically as a patriotic room. They had a massive sentimental flag to be custom framed, but didn’t know how to tie it all in without looking cheesy. We felt like going the country style route would be rest, sourcing a red rocking chair, with the soft grayish-blue wall paint, and multicolored distressed bed frame and furniture.

Other favorite areas of the home are the massive built-in that we had fun decorating. It was easy to accent, as it is at the top of the stairs and viewable from the entrance of the home. We sourced most of these fun trinkets from World Markets, Home Goods, Pottery Barn and other major retailer stores.

In summary, most of the home décor came from Ballard Designs and Home Decorators . Some bedding and other small accents were sourced from  Anthropologie. As time became a crunch, we went with Bed Bath and Beyond for window treatments (custom takes 6-8 weeks typically), and the couch was from a local custom store here in San Diego. As a reminder, custom anything takes 4-10 weeks, so if you are on a time crunch, let it be the first thing you order!

Hope you enjoyed our post.

Cheers – J Hill Interior Designs






Behind the Scenes: A Look Into an Office Makeover

By | A Designer's Eye, Bedrooms, Behind the Scenes, Great Decorating Ideas, Interior Design and Decorating, Offices, San Diego Design & Decorating | No Comments

The kick-off of Fall has been quite busy here at J Hill Interior Designs! We just finished up this office Quick-Flip for one of our clients and want to give you a quick peek into the project.

For Quick-Room Flips, we figure it would helpful to tell blog readers where we sourced a few key items, where we drew inspiration, how the project evolved and how the final product was created.

For this particular client, the client initially expressed his liking for the traditional Spanish style. To convey to us the style of his choice, he showed us a commercial that was shot in a southern California Spanish mission-styled home. The initial idea was drawn from the look of that house and eventually ended up more eclectic/Mediterranean. What we pretty much drew from that conversation was that he liked neutral colors, and small pops of color.

Because this was a Quick-Flip, everything we bought were from major retail stores. The desk was already in the office, but nothing else. Most items came from PotteryBarn, World Market, HomeGoods and even Target.

A few classic pieces that we would highly recommend are:

  1. Manchester Swivel Chair, Pottery Barn
  2. Indonesian Day Bed, World Market
  3. Gray rug, Target
  4. Wall Organizer, PotteryBarn
  5. Ralph Lauren Oversized Throw Pillows, HomeGoods

The biggest piece of advice I can give to readers from this project, is to NOT be afraid of mixing several different wood stains and hues. If you notice carefully, the room is a large conglomeration of grays, blacks, browns and creams. There are black wood stains, gray wood stains, brown wood stains, and distressed stains. Take home advice: Don’t be afraid to take a risk and not be so “matchy-matchy”. Having different elements, patterns and textures always adds more interest.