Don't get stuck with crappy seating! Here's what I wish I'd known about buying accent chairs.

Confession time: I’ve made some major interior design mistakes before. Instead of letting them bum me out, I’m choosing to learn from them and share them with you so that you don’t make the same mistakes I did! I’ve purchased a lot of furniture for myself and my clients over the years, and here’s what I wish I’d known about buying accent chairs.

Confession time: I've made some major interior design mistakes before. Instead of letting them bum me out, I'm choosing to learn from them and share them with you so that you don't make the same mistakes I did! I've purchased a lot of furniture for myself and my clients over the years, and here's what I wish I'd known about buying accent chairs.

What I Wish I’d Known About Buying Accent Chairs

See these beautiful cognac leather wing chairs? I LOVE THEM. The leather is buttery soft and perfectly distressed, the nailheads are antiqued just enough to look legit, and the high back and wings are beautifully proportioned.

All of those things I was able to discover with material samples, online images, and detailed dimensions.

But what I didn’t do before buying these chairs was butt test them.

No Butt Test = No Bueno

While I thought I did my due diligence by ordering samples and confirming measurements, what I didn’t do was get my body into a showroom or store to actually sit in these chairs.

What I would have discovered is that while beautiful, they’re very upright – and I was hoping for a chair that was a bit more relaxed and slouchy. The nailheads down the wings and arms look great, but they hurt a bit when you rest your arms on them! While these chairs would be amazing for a more formal living room, I like to curl up and read and these chairs don’t quite do it for me.

How to buy the perfect accent chair for your living room!

I always recommend trying out seating in person before purchasing.

If you’re buying accent chairs, or a sofa, or another piece of upholstery, it’s worth the time and effort to see if a local store or showroom has one on the floor that you can test before purchasing. Everyone likes different things about their seating – firm or soft seat cushions, loose or tight back cushions, a square or scooped arm. The best way to tell if a piece of furniture is right for you, your lifestyle, and your needs is to sit in it and see how you feel. You’ll know right away if it’s the right piece for you.

But what if a Butt Test Isn’t Possible?

I’ve purchased most of my furniture (and so have most of my clients) without getting to sit in it first. It’s not always possible to get your booty into a furniture sample, especially if you don’t live near the vendor you’re ordering from, or the piece is being custom-made for you. Here’s what I recommend instead.

3 Tips for Buying Accent Chairs Online:

  1. Carefully read reviews. Look for comments that talk about fit, comfort, and durability of the piece. Take outlying complainers with a grain of salt – but if you see several comments about one particular aspect of the chair, pay attention.
  2. Measure an existing piece of furniture that you have and love, and compare measurements. If your current accent chair has a seat depth of 22″ but the one you’re planning to order is only 20″ deep, it might be too shallow to be comfortable for you.
  3. Pay attention to how the chair is constructed. Quality construction often means a more comfortable piece of furniture (although not always, as some of that is just personal preference about measurements and proportions). Here’s a quick guide to common terms you’ll hear when it comes to upholstered furniture construction.
Don't make the same mistake I did! Here's what I wish I'd known about buying accent chairs.
5 Questions to Ask an Interior Designer Before You Hire Them

Thinking it’s time to bring in a kickass interior designer to help you bust out of a boring home?

It’s crucial that you totally jive with your designer, share similar values, and that you trust her to push you a bit outside of your comfort zone. After all, why else would you hire a designer if you could have done it yourself?

Here are 5 questions to ask an interior designer before you hire them to make sure it’s the right fit (and I’ll just go ahead and answer them right now for you, too):

Can you help me figure out my design style?

You got it! In fact, you can get started discovering your true design style LIKERIGHTNOW with this awesome quiz. Helping people bust out of boring and discover their true style is a crucial part of our design process, and as I get to know you and your tastes we’ll create a design plan that makes your heart totally sing (belt out Whitney Houston tunes, even!).

Can you work with my budget?

Aaaah, budget. The short answer: YES. If that’s what you really, really want.

The long answer: it’s your home, your investment, and ultimately you as the client decide what to spend. I have never worked with anybody whose budget matched their wishlist. That’s human nature. Think of it like buying a car. You might only want to invest in a Kia but everything you want is a Mercedes. It is totally in your power to decide if you want to scale down your wants and needs to the Kia, or if you want to up your budget to meet your Mercedes dreams.

(Here’s a deeper dive on how to keep an interior design project in budget, if you’re interested.)

5 Questions to Ask an Interior Designer Before You Hire Them (including a biggie: "Can you work with my budget?")

What design package is the best fit for me?

I’m so glad you asked! There’s a reason we don’t list the details about the interior design services we offer online and we ask new clients to book a complimentary consultation call first. It’s amazing what we can uncover on a 20-minute call together and by learning more about you, your wants and needs, and your budget, I can recommend the most ideal package that’s going to get you a kickass end result (ie. your dream living room you can’t wait to invite your girlfriends into for a wine and cheese and gossip sesh!).

We have several awesome design packages ranging from a 2-hour Design Jumpstart session (where you’ll get lots of high-level ideas and a ton of resources to make things happen on your own) to full-service Design Comprehensive (where we do all the heavy lifting and wow you with an HGTV-worthy reveal) as well as several options in between.

Depending on how much you want to be involved and how much you want to invest, we’ll recommend the design package that will best rock your world.

What if I don’t like something you’ve selected?

Girl, it happens. We usually knock it out of the park with our design plan and furnishings selections, but occasionally there will be one or two things that just don’t do it for you. And that’s okay – please speak up! We want you to be over the moon with your room design, and we allow time for reselections.

Nothing will be purchased on your behalf without your approval (and without a check from you) so no worries. We’re not gonna go rogue and put something in your home you’d rather pass on.

5 Questions to Ask an Interior Designer Before You Hire Them (including a biggie: "What if I don't like something you've selected?")

If I find a better deal on furniture, can I buy it on my own, instead of through you?

There are a lot of designers with their knickers in a twist over this one. “Clients are shopping me! They’re buying the same things behind my back that I proposed to them!

I’m going to be super candid here, as I know there’s a lot of chatter about this between designers, but not in front of clients. So, dear reader/potential client/curious observer of the design industry, here’s how it works if a designer proposes something (say, a sofa) and you buy it through her firm. Designers do get a discount off of “retail” pricing, and those discounts vary from vendor to vendor. If a designer is selling something to you, she likely has a margin on it and YES, WILL MAKE SOME MONEY BY SELLING IT TO YOU. Interior design is a business, not a hobby! And selling furniture and decor is one revenue stream for designers.

Just because a designer is making some profit on the items she’s selling doesn’t mean you’re not getting a great price on it. I try to match MSRP or even offer clients a lower price than they can find online. But ultimately, Lesley Myrick Art + Design isn’t Wayfair or Amazon – and I just don’t have the buying power that the retail giants do to offer crazy discounted prices.

The reality is, I’m procuring items less and less frequently for clients these days. Sometimes a 10% off coupon is all it takes for a client to be able to get a better price than I can offer.

And that’s okay! Wayfair and Amazon aren’t going away, and I’m not going to fight it. It ain’t worth my time to sell products at bottom dollar. I’d be broke-ass and a pretty sad designer. Nobody wants to hire an interior designer that lives in a cardboard box because she can’t afford her mortgage payment.

So here’s the deal – for projects at a certain budget level, I am happy to take on the workload of procuring furnishings and decor as part of a full-service, we-do-all-the-work-so-you-don’t-have-to project. For busy clients who don’t want to spend their time shopping with 10% off coupons and dealing with the headache of lost deliveries and damages and assembling furniture, they LOVE that we can take care of all this crap for them.

But as the interior design industry changes and becomes more accessible and affordable, more and more clients want to buy things themselves. I am totally down with that, and because of this shift in the past few years, most of our design packages are now design only – we’ll do the awesome creative stuff that only we can do (really, that’s what you’re hiring Lesley Myrick + Design for!) and you pull the trigger and make it happen on your own.

PHEW. End of soap box rant.

Is there a question you’d love to ask Lesley Myrick Art + Design?

If it’s pertaining to a design project in your home, I’d love to chat with you on a complimentary call – book yours right here. If it’s a general interior design question you’re curious about, please email me and I’d be happy to help!

A quick lesson on understanding color and undertone in beige paint colors by interior designer Lesley Myrick

It’s true – I may have gone on record stating that my mission is “to banish beige from Waco.” I’ve been pretty verbal about my distaste for ubiquitous neutrals that have taken over this town, along with fake farmhouse style and faux shiplap.

I see soooo much beige used as a fallback color. Beige is safe. Beige is agreeable. Beige is boring, baby.

But that doesn’t mean beige is bad. In fact, the right beige with the right undertones can create such a fab backdrop for color, pattern, and texture. Sometimes – shhhh – beige can actually be an awesome color choice.

Here’s where beige is a problem…

It’s because beige is not just beige. Beige has so much color in it – and if you’re not trained to see the undertones in a color, it’s easy to make a mistake choosing the wrong beige:

Here’s a quick color lesson for you on Mass Tone and Undertone.

Color is never just one color. Gray is not gray, beige is not beige. Color has two components. One is the mass tone. So that is the main color, like beige or gray (and I’m using neutrals in this example just because they are the clearest to see undertones in, at least for me). So basically, you’ve got mass tone. You’ve got your beige paint, you’ve got your gray paint.

Here’s where it gets crazy tricky. Colors also have an undertone. That’s like a sneaky little color hanging out underneath that can rear its ugly head in the right light. This is why understanding color is so important when you’re choosing paint colors, because if you look for a gray, and it just looks like gray, but it has a purple or violet undertone, it is not going to look gray on your walls. It’s going to look purple – and I have made this mistake before.

A quick lesson on understanding color and undertone in beige paint colors by interior designer Lesley Myrick

Beige can have one of four undertones: pink, orange, yellow, or green.

That’s really the basics. You’ve got your mass color, beige, and then it has an undertone; either pink, orange, yellow, or green.

Here’s something I see all over Waco, and it makes me crazy. It’s when builders build new homes, and they think all beiges are the same. So they pick a beige granite, and a beige backsplash and a brown paint color for the cabinets, and a beige travertine floor.

But me? Ohhhh girl. I walk in and I see yellow-beige countertops, a pink-beige backsplash, orange-beige walls, yellow-beige floors. So. Much. Color!

When you’ve got the wrong undertones together, they only emphasize each other.

Even some “experts” like home builders are picking colors and materials just assuming beige is beige and all neutrals go with all neutrals – not understanding that all the colors have undertones to them.

So, take a look around this week when you’re looking at neutrals, see if you can spot the undertone happening in it. You’ve got your main color (the mass tone), and it’s always going to have a sneaky color underneath it (the undertone), and that’s the key for successful color pairings: is making sure your undertones are consistent and all make sense together.


DOES YOUR HOME REFLECT THE TRUE YOU?

Take our fun quiz to discover your true design style – and get a personalized, shoppable style board curated by Lesley to help create a kickass home you love.

What's In My Styling Toolbox? 6 must-have accessories for taking a room from unfinished to unbelievably awesome.

Every designer has their go-to styling kit – those must-have accessories to finish off a room and add the final decorative touches. So what’s in my styling toolbox at Lesley Myrick Art + Design?

Here are the accessories that I use regularly to style a room for photography and finish it off beautifully.

What's In My Styling Toolbox? 6 must-have accessories for taking a room from unfinished to unbelievably awesome.

Fresh Flowers + Vases.

Girl, fresh flowers just can’t be beat to make a room look amazing. I never want a floral arrangement to be a scene-stealer though. Flowers are there to complement the design and bring a natural, organic element – not be the center of attention. For a photo shoot I like a low, wide arrangement in a vase with cool texture or detail. And you’ve gotta have a little greenery sticking out.

What's In My Styling Toolbox? 6 must-have accessories for taking a room from unfinished to unbelievably awesome.

Candles.

Want a room to look beautiful? Light a candle. They bring a special sparkle and warmth that just can’t be beat, both in real life and in photographs.

What's In My Styling Toolbox? 6 must-have accessories for taking a room from unfinished to unbelievably awesome.

Magazines + books.

Stacks of books and magazines are an interior designer’s best friends. Need a little texture and color? Add a row of pretty hardcover books. Need a platform to raise an accessory up higher so things feel balanced? Place it on a stack of magazines. Seriously, books and magazines are indispensable when accessorizing a room and help a space feel truly lived-in.

What's In My Styling Toolbox? 6 must-have accessories for taking a room from unfinished to unbelievably awesome.

Trays.

I love to corral allll the things. There’s no better way to create an intentional grouping of accessories than by gathering and arranging them on a tray. A tray can serve as the centerpiece on a coffee table; as a way to create a mini bar on a sideboard; or as a pretty option to organize toiletries on a bathroom counter.

What's In My Styling Toolbox? 6 must-have accessories for taking a room from unfinished to unbelievably awesome.

Decanters.

Glass and crystal decanters bring a hip element and just a little sparkle to a space. Even if you don’t drink, they sure look pretty! I have a collection of vintage decanters that belonged to my grandmother, and I love using them for the vintage vibe they bring to a modern space. And I totally love this decanter with the word “booze” emblazoned in gold script.

What's In My Styling Toolbox? 6 must-have accessories for taking a room from unfinished to unbelievably awesome.

A sheepskin.

Draped over a metal chair or layered on top of a patterned rug, I’m a sucker for a good sheepskin. You can use them anywhere! I have one on the back of a wing chair in my living room, under the dresser in my bedroom, on the armrest of the upholstered glider in my kids’ room…you get it. They’re versatile. And chic. And furry!

Now that you know what the 6 go-to accessories are in my styling toolbox – flowers and vases, candles, magazines and books, trays, decanters, and a sheepskin – you’ll probably spot them in just about every photo in my portfolio! Busted.

I’ve got a printable freebie for you with 7 Designer Styling Secrets to help you take your room from unfinished to unbelievably awesome. Grab it right here.

What an interior designer does that you never know about! #truth from designer Lesley Myrick

Interior designers are a sneaky bunch. I mean, there are all sorts of things that an interior designer does that you never know about.

Wait…whaaa?

Don’t worry – I’m not talking about bad stuff. I’m actually talking about really good things! Specifically, handling a whole bunch of crap behind the scenes to make our client’s lives easier and to make major design magic happen. Check out what happened with one of my clients behind the scenes…

Can’t view the embedded video above? Click here. Prefer to read? Transcript is below.

Hey everyone, Lesley Myrick here, interior stylist and owner of Lesley Myrick Art + Design where we create some pretty fantastic interiors with an offbeat edge.

And, part of how we do that is by taking care of all the crap behind the scenes so our clients don’t have to deal with it.

If you’ve ever tried to manage your own home decorating project,

you know there is a ton of minutiae that has to happen between making selections, picking the right finishes, fixtures accessories, and fabrics; purchasing things, ordering, tracking; dealing with things that come in damaged, or broken, or just come in completely wrong! And by the time you’re done a room, you almost can’t appreciate it because you’ve spent so much mental energy trying to get there.

This is why people hire interior designers.

I love that stuff! Or at least, I’m really good at that stuff and I can make amazing design magic for my clients.

So, I just want to tell you today a little bit about what it can look like behind the scenes of an interior design project.

Our job as designers is to make things smooth sailing for our clients.

I want them to be completely wowed by the design, the process, and just the fact that it looks so easy to make it all happen for them.

That’s the goal.

But there is a lot that happens behind the scenes.

For example, I had a project last year where we had this beautiful brass sideboard. I was obsessed with this piece of furniture! It was just stunning.

Now, this wasn’t a huge room. This wasn’t a “huge design project”. But this piece of furniture was the bane of my existence for about 6 months.

Basically, we specified it and it went on backorder before we even placed the order. That’s normal; things move quickly in the design world.

We waited for it, we finally got it sent to our receiver. It was damaged. We sent it back. They sent another one. It was damaged!

We were getting closer and closer to our big reveal, our big install date,

and we didn’t have the focal point of the room. And finally, with hours and hours of work on our back end, we had the vendor rush ship it to our receiver who unpacked it, inspected it, assembled it, made sure it was all phenomenal. It got on the truck in time, it got delivered, and my client got to have that “wow”, like HGTV reveal moment when she walked in to her space.

It was amazing! And she had no idea that that one piece of furniture took about 40 hours of our team’s time to deal with behind the scenes.

And that’s the point!

My clients don’t want to deal with that. It’s so much headache. We love to do the hard work behind the scenes so our clients can have those magic moments in their new spaces and completely lose their sh*t.