You’d never know by just looking at her that interior designer Sarah Ahn was a neuroscientist in a former life. After spending six months in the hospital nursing her brother back to health after a motorcycle accident, she changed course, went to work for renowned interior designer Kelly Wearstler, and opened her own design firm, Nami Design. Now with a book and home décor line in the works, Ahn provides some easy tips (no Ph.D. required!) for do-it-yourself home decorating.
ISSUE: Summer 2011
STORY: Anna M. Park
- Color cohesiveness: I personally love color (and all of them at once!). But to avoid feeling overwhelmed, start by picking two neutrals (beige, white, gray, even black) and one pop of color (red, yellow, blue — any shade you like). Keep your most expensive items neutral (the sofa, the dining room table), then add throw pillows, blankets, vases and artwork that have the one pop of color you love and repeat the color around the room. These accessories are inexpensive and easily replaceable. In fact, if you do this with each room but in a different color, you can rotate the items out — switch the red items from the living room and put them into your yellow-accented bedroom, and vice versa. You’ll be surprised at how relocating these accessories can change the mood of your entire place.
- Odd numbers: One of the basic principles of design is to go with odd numbers. Items look bland and ordinary by itself, but in repetition in groups of three, five, etc., the items gain greater attention. Place two pillows next to each other, then a third front and center. Apply this to your bed, sofa and window seating area. Do this with your favorite vases in large, medium and small sizes and group them together in the corner of a room or a kitchen counter top.
- Wall color: If you’re a commitment-phobe about painting your walls, buy a large, pre-stretched canvas from your local arts supply store. Then either paint it one solid color, or wrap a printed fabric around it and staple along the inside. You can find $1/yd fabrics at your local design school student store, and the proceeds from the purchase goes towards student scholarships.
- Mirror, mirror on the wall: Want to update the look of your place on a dime? Try placing a large round mirror centered above your sofa or above your foyer console table. The round shape breaks up the rectangles of your home and imparts a luxurious feeling. A sunburst mirror is a dramatic look and the reflected light will brighten a dark room, or bounce your pop of color around your room. (And a convex mirror, according to the principles of feng shui, will bring you good fortune.)
For more on Sarah, go to NamiDesignLA.com.
Check out more stories here. Purchase the Summer issue of Audrey Magazine here.