Inside Jeffrey Bilhuber’s Pinterest-Inspired Book, Everyday Decorating
Design books are typically grouped house by house, but New York designer Jeffrey Bilhuber bucks the trend in his new book, Everyday Decorating. Aimed at those who turn to social media for endless inspiration and design knowledge, this tome is organized like a Pinterest board. Chapters illustrate how to make your home more charming, cozy, comfortable and more. Scroll down to get inspired!
Color should flow from room to room, according to Jeffrey. “Color represents confidence. Wimpy people don’t paint their walls persimmon or hang yards of cinnabar curtains, but it doesn’t take as much guts as you might think,” he says. “First of all, there’s no such thing as colors that don’t go together.” A striking blue entrance seamlessly connects to a white living room thanks to the painted floor.
Pattern is a shortcut to charm, but it’s not always Jeffrey’s weapon of choice. “I’m at my zippiest when pulling colors together because I love them — not simply because they’re a small part of some larger multicolored chintz… Don’t drive yourself mad trying to find the blue that’s in that print. Strike out on your own and watch how strong a room becomes when you pick the colors you love.”
According to Jeffrey, there’s no question that black is a color. “These painted floors anchor the room and provide a foil for pattern, which would be only half as strong without it. As an added bonus, light bounces off the dark floor and makes the hall even brighter.”
The joy of an all-white room can be heaven, or it can come off as empty and anonymous, explains Jeffrey. “What fills the void here is personality. You have to enliven the room with furniture and objects that shine. So, go ahead and paint the walls and floors white, but know that the burden falls on you to populate the space with striking pieces.”
English rooms tend to be filled with furniture, notes Jeffrey, but in this Brit home, an American family brought some edited clarity and comfort. “The primary goal of upholstery is comfort, so proportions should be a direct response to who is going to sit in the furniture and what the purpose will be,” he says.
For those wary of pattern, Jeffrey suggests trying something in blue and white. “Whole books have been written about the power of this color duo,” he explains. “Whole careers have been based on its allure. This particular chrysanthemum pattern even has its own presidential history — the original version was made for Jacqueline Kennedy when she refreshed the White House with legendary decorator Sister Parish. If that isn’t a seal of style approval, I don’t know what is.”
Too many urban outdoor spaces suffer from being overly formulaic, according to Jeffrey. “The little reed-and-pole structure adds a bit of architecture without any fuss, extra pillows from inside connect the two spaces and groupings of garden seats and planters are just more fun than one big cocktail table,” he says. “Creating a sanctuary isn’t so hard after all.”
“Remember that there’s no rule that every chair around the table has to match, if you even have chairs at all,” explains Jeffrey. Plus, don’t make the mistake of only using your dining table for formal dinners, he adds. Use the surface to set out a buffet for an outdoor meal. Find a way to incorporate this piece into everyday life and always dress it with decorative elements like vases, flowers or bowls of fruit.
Sexy makes you look twice, so if the goal is to up the sensuality of a space, take a page from this bedroom. “Romance resides in every detail of this bedroom,” says Jeffrey. “From the light green accent on the leading edge of the curtains to the abundance of nailheads on the headboard, everything here is designed to draw you in for a closer look.”
“I simply cannot get enough of this chair. I love its patina, but it’s the expert upholstering that sends me over the moon,” says Jeffrey. “Plus, the single welting with a contrast biased tape absolutely sings. This isn’t just a decorative flourish; a welt actually hides the seam.” He cautions agains double welts, terming them sloppy and amateurish.
“There’s something very friendly about a bench at a table. An armless, backless picnic bench is fine if you need to suddenly flee from a charging bear while having a sandwich in a national park, but really, a bench should provide comfort. This is a job for upholstery,” he explains. “Adding a bench with a seat cushion and throw pillows is just the ticket for a super relaxed breakfast or lunch. This makes those meals so much more convivial and charming.”
A canopy bed is cozy, but not every client is on board with that style. “When my clients are resistant, I’ll start with just the structure of a tester bed,” says Jeffrey. “From there, I’ll layer in a roof and a back panel before going for the full canopy with sides. Nothing makes for a better night’s sleep than a roof over your head.”