4 Essential Decorating Tips from Mrs. Howard
The interior designer known for her stunning Southern style shares a few must-know pieces of advice from her book, Mrs. Howard, Room by Room
The biggest mistake you can make in any bathroom, and the one I come across most frequently, is inadequate lighting. In my experience, you need three sources: makeup (or shaving) light in the form of scones that flank the mirror (or a horizontal tubular fixture above it); recessed lights above the vanity; and a chandelier or pendant to produce even overall illumination.
Image: Photo credit: Lucas Allen; from
Mrs. Howard Room by Room, Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2015
Text excerpted from Mrs. Howard, Room by Room: The Essentials of Decorating with Southern Style Copyright © 2015 by Phoebe Howard. Reproduced by permission of Stewart, Tabori & Chang an imprint of ABRAMS.
Curtains should break like the cuffs on a pair of pants—not too short, as floors are invariably uneven, nor cascading into big puddles of fabric.
Photo: Josh Gibson; from Mrs. Howard Room by Room, Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2015
Comfortable dining chairs, of course, remain essential, and you will need to have at least eight of them. Never more than twelve, however, or your welcoming dining space will start to resemble a corporate conference room. [...] Make sure you have at least 36 inches (91 cm) of space in which to pull back the chairs, and that your rug extends at least the same distance beyond the table.
Image: Josh Gibson; from Mrs. Howard Room by Room, Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2015
The experience of the bed is no less important than its appearance, and a number of considerations go into perfecting it. It begins with a mattress precisely tuned to your ideal of comfort, fitted with the finest bed linens you can afford; it should be roughly 30 inches (76 cm) high and finished with a custom dust ruffle and two or three Euro shams, depending upon the size of the bed. Not too many pillows, however—if they are sticking out three feet from the headboard, you've gone too far.
Image credit: Josh Gibson; from Mrs. Howard Room by Room, Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2015