How To Decorate Like Emily Griffin
A favorite in the pages of House & Home (and on our YouTube channel), designer Emily Griffin knows how to create spaces that beautifully blend old and new. Every room she designs has a sense of familiarity and patina, while also reinventing what traditional means in the 21st century (read: adding a dash of whimsy and playfulness). “It really isn’t about a look, it’s more about a feel,” says Emily. “The rooms I create always feel really lived-in, even before they have been lived in.”
From injecting a dining room with English antiques to mixing texture and pattern, Emily shares 10 secrets for achieving her covetable style at home.
Layer, layer layer. In this handsome living room, luxurious textures (think: velvet, leather, marble and wood) come together to create the ultimate gathering place. Plus, a hit of pattern from the plush curtains and pillows is a subtle way to keep things interesting. “There’s a sweet spot where a room feels warm and cozy without it feeling over-the-top,” says Emily (pictured).
Create the architecture you want. The rich millwork was all custom-made by Emily to give the room a cocoon-like comfort, while the black mantel and gilded reading light evoke elegance.
Masterfully mix old and new. Emily strikes the perfect balance between patinated and modern in this French Château-inspired music room. The grand piano is a family heirloom, and Emily found the ornate mirror in an antique shop. For an unexpected touch of modernity, she completed the look with lucite cocktail tables and a sleek, contemporary day bed.
Rethink the kitchen island. “That notion of a big harvest table smack in the middle of the kitchen just feels more inclusive [than an island],” says Emily about this classic cottage. Antique bronze hardware, old wood open shelves and spacious farmhouse sink make this space feel like a summer haven.
Say no to drywall at the cottage. Emily proves that budget-friendly can still be beautiful. She clad one wall of this guest bedroom in knotty pine from the local hardware store, which brings the outdoors in. White linens, lamps and an Ikea dresser — plus pops of orange — keep the wooden walls from feeling too dark.
Draw inspiration from the outdoors. Emily Griffin Design’s partner and senior designer Stephanie Houghton turned an empty wall in her living room into a lush decorative vignette. “She is the queen of whimsy,” says Emily. A painting by Scott McFarland feels like a window to the outdoors, while a damask bench and floral pillows adds to the botanical theme.
Opt for natural wood cabinets. In this principal bathroom, Emily transformed vintage Art Deco dressers with a contemporary vessel sink and polished nickel hardware. “It feels like a fresh take on traditional,” she says. Plus, marble wainscotting exudes opulence.
Antiques bring soul to a modern condo. Emily took a penthouse suite from builder-basic to beautiful with panelling on the walls and ceiling and rich wood antiques. She integrated the homeowners’ treasured items into their new space by reupholstering the dining chairs and adding modern accents, like a glistening chandelier.
Banquettes are always a good idea. “I always try to put them in where space and function permit because as everyone knows, the kitchen is really the most used space in a house,” says Emily. Striped velvet upholstery, ample pillows and storage underneath make this banquette ideal for casual dining, working and kicking back. Plus, wood panelling and playful “Eat” sign adds architectural interest to the nook.
Create little moments in your home. In this fashion lover’s front hall, Emily created an artful instillation out of a vintage Judy, antique painting from the homeowner and a modern light fixture hanging above. A frame adorned with red roses creates even more romance and grandeur.