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  • Lindsey Borchard

The Importance of Styling

The very last step in our design process is also one of the most fun -- the styling! Styling is what brings the design to life, makes the space feel complete, and brings in the layers of personality and fun that gives each home a unique vibe.

coffee table styling by Lindsey Brooke Design

A stack of books anchors a few small candles on the coffee table in our Palos Verdes project. | Photo by Public 311 Design

Our styling process:

Planning for styling begins in the very earliest stages of our design process as we ask our clients to the gather inspirational images that begin the overall direction of the design plan. At this point, we take note of the styling in the inspiration images -- are they filled with books and plants giving a cozy, lived-in feel? Or is it more sculptural and minimal? We'll discuss our assessments with the clients and use those cues as we move forward.

We purchase styling goods at the same time that we place orders for furnishings, and they are similarly categorized and stored at our receiving warehouse. While it is tempting to gather a ton of items and style off the cuff at installation, that is neither cost- nor time-effective. While we typically do bring more than we think we will use -- and having goods on-hand at the Studio makes this much less complicated -- we do create styling plans in the same way that we create furnishing plans. That way, most of the work is done ahead of time and we have the opportunity to have everything meticulously organized and labeled making installation day go as smoothly as possible. Then, we just make tweaks and adjustments on the fly.

entry way styling by Lindsey Brooke Design

The entry way at our North Ranch Remodel, where I used my favorite furniture combo. Note how much movement and interest the string of beads and metal object bring to the table. | Photo by Amy Bartlam

Where to focus styling efforts:
  • Entry: This is an opportunity to set a tone for the design direction of the home, plus styling can improve the function of a space and be beautiful. One combination I use again and again is a console table, mirror, and lamp. Depending on functional needs, we might add large baskets under the table for shoes, or tray or box on top as a drop zone for keys, etc.

  • Coffee table: Visible from every seating spot in the room, you want this to look good! Anchor your arrangement with a large vase or interesting piece of pottery (the heavier and sturdier the better) where you can add some branches or keep fresh flowers, then add some lower items. A stack of books is a good start, and a decorative box to hold remote controls keeps things tidy. If you have an ottoman, place all of this on a large tray.

  • Shelving: Bookshelves are a lovely way to bring in accessories in a kid-friendly way, but they can be tricky to style. Start by placing the largest items around the shelves to bring balance, and work your way down to the smallest. I like to style the entire unit at once, rather than focusing on one shelf at a time. Framed art, vases, and decorative objects should be sprinkled around evenly. And don't forget the books! Even you aren't an avid reader, your shelves won't look quite right without them.

kitchen shelf styling by Lindsey Brooke Design

Open shelving in the kitchen (this is from our Moore Drive Remodel) is a chance to really bring form and function together. Plus, it's a great excuse to but really pretty everyday goods! Of course, you won't have produce on the counter everyday, but just that simple clipping of greenery on the shelf really brings it to life. | Photo by Amy Bartlam

Our go-to styling pieces:
  • Trays: Corral a grouping of objects makes them feel intentional rather than haphazard.

  • Books: They provide height, layers, and color, and act as an anchor for smaller objects. If your shelf styling is lacking or feels incomplete, it would probably benefit from more books.

  • Plants or flowers: Real or faux, they bring some life and organic movement.

  • Sculptural objects: If everything you have is a circle or a square, it will read a bit boring. Be sure to introduce some different shapes and more texture.

  • Textiles: Pillows are obvious, but we also use textural throw blankets, small rugs in a bath or kitchen, and smaller items like hand towels to bring in softness and color.


I hope this de-mystified the process a little bit, but if you'd like a little more help, call 805-371-3222 to book a private shopping experience at our Studio in Westlake Village, CA, where a member of our design team can help you shop for styling accessories and make a plan for placing them in your home.


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