The new year is here, and the new design space you want to achieve is waiting for a fresh look. Unsure of how to start? There are so many components that go into making a space complete. Light fixtures, furniture and all the details in between can be overwhelming, but there are key pieces of advice you can certainly use to cut out frustration and instantly add the designer touch you have been dreaming about. But possibly the most important thing to keep in mind is to make it your own and a reflection of you.


To help you get started in the right direction and turn your space into something you’ll love, AY sat down with Chris Goddard, seasoned interior designer and founder of Goddard Design Group located in northwest Arkansas, to check in with his genius advice. After all, Goddard, who dubs himself the “head bee” and his studio “the design hive,” orchestrates projects all over the world and has most recently appeared on HGTV “Design Star: Next Gen,” the new Discovery+ home competition show. He has trade memberships with the Design Leadership Network, American Society of Interior Designers, and Interior Design Society, where he serves as vice president of the Arkansas chapter. What’s more, Goddard Design Group has been recognized as one of the top 100 firms in the world by the Andrew Martin Interior Design Review.


His firm specializes in high-end residential and commercial projects with an approach that encompasses styles from the classically traditional to the ultra-contemporary – always tailored for the client. As Goddard loves to say, “A life worth living is a life well lived,” and “Every space has a story.”


His design approach emphasizes the importance of centering design around the client. He never uses the same fabric or piece of furniture twice and believes a job well done is a job that tells a story and reflects the client. The one unifying factor among his work is quality over trend; he advises clients to be active in the design process and educates them on investing in meaningful pieces in order to make an inheritable, timeless space.


“Every home should be connected to its dwellers, and we strive to tell a story with every look and piece placed in our residential home projects,” Goddard says.


From how to use statement pieces and hang artwork, to proportions and textures, here’s a quick rundown to help with your next home design project.



AY: First, let’s talk about color palettes. How do you choose one and when?

Chris Goddard: Color is where I begin all my projects, as it sets the mood. I can tell a client’s color preference by what they’re wearing. Personal style is always reflected in the colors we wear.


AY: Love it! So tell us about light fixtures. How do you incorporate them without the space being too cluttered?

CG: Size and shape are a good way to mix and layer lighting fixtures. Bigger fixtures are better, as they generate the most impact.


AY: Speaking of impact, what are some examples of great statement pieces that always work?

CG: Art and antiques are my staple for statement pieces, as they exude a personal touch and tell a story.


AY: Are there rules on where to hang artwork, how many pieces on a wall, etc.?

CG: Art is very personal, and there aren’t any rules. The key is to hang art at eye level.


AY: So, what are easy ways to “tell your own story” when designing a space without being too trendy?

CG: Start every space with a personal object that has meaning to you. It will never go out of style!


AY: There are so many design terms that can be confusing to a homeowner, like “layers.” What does it mean when a room should have layers, and why is that important?

CG: Layers are what give a room depth and interest. Patterns, textures, building materials and lighting all add dimension to a space when they are made of different but coordinating styles.


AY: In the new year, we often like to switch things up in our home. What’s the key to proper furniture placement so it doesn’t feel cluttered?

CG: This depends on the client, as some people feel cozy in a maximal space where some find peace and calm in the minimal.


AY: How important are varying different proportions?

CG: Mix it up! The greater difference in proportion is much more interesting to the eye.


AY: What are some common mistakes people make when taking on a project on their own?

CG: The biggest mistake is starting without a plan and not educating yourself as to the process and elements needed to complete design work.


AY: How can someone incorporate wood and different textures. Is it OK to mix and match these as well as with furniture?

CG: Layering materials is key, so don’t be afraid to mix it up, and play with lots of finishes from painted to stained to embossed.


AY: Hallways can be tricky. How do you easily update a hallway to stand out?

CG: Lighting, molding details and runners are all quick fixes for a hallway update.


AY: Window treatments can be essential to completing a look. How do you use them properly?

CG: Window treatments frame our view, so consider whether you are creating a focal point or hiding what is outside the window.


AY: When designing a space, which details matter the most?

CG: All details matter. My only rule is quality over quantity.


AY: What should you splurge on versus play it simple when designing a room?

CG: Spend your money on the things you touch and use everyday. Quality can be felt and is long-lasting.


AY: How important is white space?

CG: White space is a general term that means giving the eye a break; however, this can be done in any color in a noncluttered space.


READ ALSO: Goddard Clinches Another Win on Design Star: Next Gen