A large portion of my time is devoted to doing home makeovers on television. From The Bachelorette’s Ashley Hebert and J.P. Rosenbaum’s first New York pad to a man cave on VH1, I’ve done it. What a lot of people don’t know, though, is that I am also a TV set designer, responsible for styling the three sets on the daily lifestyle program The Better Show. As we began this season’s revamp, I got to thinking about how simple principles from set design could help people decorate their homes with more ease. You’re not a professional designer? It doesn’t matter! Stop drooling over glossy, touched-up photos on someone else’s pin board—you know, the type labeled Dreamy Spaces or some such—and start working on your own fabulous little space. The key is just to start!
Need a few more pointers? I’ve got you covered. Check these out:
1. How Much Money Do You Have?
TV productions are sticklers for budgets. For some reason, the budget is almost never enough for what you need to do. Sound familiar? The good news, though, is that smaller budgets breed creativity never knew you had. Whether your budget is slightly depressing or you’re a total baller, it actually makes less of a difference than you think. The important thing is to be realistic about how much cash you have and operate accordingly. Can’t afford that totally amazing mid-century desk from that slick showroom? Dig a little deeper. Hit up consignment shops, eBay, flea markets and the Craigslist “free” section. You might be surprised at what you can find.
2. The Need for Speed
Time is money. If you don’t move quickly, it’ll never get done. By planning well, you can bang out a fabulous room in a three-day weekend. Lingering over the perfect shade of white paint or a particular pillow is not going to make your home that much prettier—I promise. It’s never about the paint color or the pillow! But, I’m not a shrink; I’m just here to make your home look fierce. Seriously, I’m not saying to approach your decorating project like an episode of Supermarket Sweep. Instead, just make a goal and stick to it. You’ll be more focused, and in the end, much happier.
3. It’s All in the Details
Most TV sets have a couple of couches I would never put in my house—or yours. They’re big, stiff, sort of plain, and usually some boring shade of beige. But, we manage to doctor them up with pillows and area rugs. Most sets also have shelves or book cases to create a “homey” feeling. These are also meticulously styled with books that give a pop of color and/or fill an awkward space. There are vases of flowers, pitchers of water, mugs of coffee… nothing has been put there without thought. There’s no clutter, either. Taking that approach in your home can work wonders—keeping in mind that you actually live there, of course!
4. Built to Last
Imagine if you had 40 guests in your living room, dining room, and kitchen six days a week. Now imagine how your quickly your home would start to look beat-up as a result. Yikes, right? Well, that’s the life of a set. Cameramen, sound guys, producers, guests, and a multitude of other assorted people are in that “room” every single day. Rugs need to withstand the traffic, fabrics need to be durable and well cared for, and shiny surfaces? Yeah, not so much. They show finger prints and scratches and glare like you wouldn’t believe. Wood and other flat materials are usually a better choice when your goal is longevity.
5. Places, Please!
If there’s a large orchid plant on set, I can guarantee you that it is never on a shelf behind a couch. Why? Because nobody wants an A-List celebrity getting interviewed looking like they have flowers growing out of their head! There will never be anything distracting hanging, sitting, or placed anywhere near an interview set. It makes an interesting point for your own home, as well: Be aware of object placement. When in doubt, take a photo with your phone and see how it looks on camera. The camera never lies. If it looks a little meh in the photo, it’s probably a little meh in real life, too.
6. Make It Fantastic
Nobody wants to tune in to a show with a ho hum set, right? Why would anyone want to linger in a room that wasn’t at the very least pleasant—if not downright fabulous? Even if you’re not living in your Dream Home just yet, that shouldn’t matter. Fantastic comes in many forms! Color is fantastic. Lighting is, as well. Quality—even in the smallest doses—is, too. Depending on what’s important to you, go with what you love. Just try and give it your best shot.
In the end, the best spaces to drool over are the ones you actually live in!
Check your local TV listings for more of celebrity style expert Courtney Cachet’s guides, ideas and tips. She’s also the host of “VIP Vacations,” coming this spring! You can catch her frequent appearances nationwide on TV and online, where she dishes out all the latest in everything fab for your home and lifestyle! Keep up with her on www.courtneycachet.com or Facebook and join the conversation!