Making a house into a home comes with enough challenges as it is, but against a barrage of constantly changing trends and advice, it can be hard to sort the tried-and-true from yesterday’s news. That’s not even to mention the hurdles (read: wear and tear) that family life can bring to bear on a space.

 

As Coco Chanel once said, “Fashion changes, but style endures.” But how can you make sure your spaces will still be au courant by the time the paint dries — and stay that way until after the kids move out?

 

That is where the expertise of Debi Davis comes in. Davis has been creating classic looks for clients all over Arkansas and across the country for 27 years. Her namesake firm, Debi Davis Interior Design, is known for its signature light color palettes and has earned a number of awards from publications including Southern Living, Southern Home, Southern Lady and At Home in Arkansas. Davis has been previously named a Woman to Watch in Arkansas and her firm has repeatedly been voted Best Interior Designer by AY About You readers.

 

Debi Davis

Davis and her team work in a plethora of styles, taking the time to build individualized looks for each client that are equal parts livable and beautiful.

 

Davis initially honed her style in the fashion industry as the owner of a high-end boutique in Little Rock. After eight years, she sold her business and went to work for an interior designer, all the while refining her natural-born taste into a true eye for aesthetics. Today, Davis and her team work in a plethora of styles, taking the time to build individualized looks for each client that are equal parts livable and beautiful. Her other business, Reborn Relics, brings old-world designs to a new-world audience through custom reproductions of 18th and 19th century antiques.

 

AY About You sat down with Davis to discuss her firm’s winning approach. From inspiration to editing, from shopping to space saving, here are a few tips you can take home now and for years to come.

 

 

AY: What are the best ways to find inspiration when designing a space?

Davis: When starting a project, I look at the style of the house. Then I see what items we are keeping, if any, and many times this gives us our direction.

 

AY: Should you have a decor shopping strategy or is it OK to see what strikes you in the moment?

Davis: I tell our clients, “Do not shop randomly.” A lamp may look great in-store, but does it work with the table it will be sitting on? Have a plan for your space;  we give our clients three choices on most of the pieces going in the room. That way, we know they will work with each other no matter what.

 

AY: How do you design with “timeless” in mind?

Davis: I do not like fads. A lot of the time when you design based on a trend, by the time you finish the project, the trend has evolved. I respect the trends in color, wood tones and chandelier styles, but our clients are not just adding one piece to a room; we are doing a total look for the space. We use a lot of various shades of blue, ivory and white. These colors are very safe and long-lasting.

 

 

AY: Is there a rule about  how many colors you use? Pieces of furniture? Artwork on a wall?

Davis: There are no set rules on items in a room but I do tell clients to declutter. Every inch of a space does not have to be filled.

 

AY: How important is filling a space versus feeling too empty?

Davis: I love a cozy room, not a stark one. I do not like a room to look like you just moved in, or like you started the room and did not finish it.

 

AY: If your space is tiny, how do you make the most of it and make it look more spacious?

Davis: I would use lighter colors on the walls and furniture. I would also use mirrors anywhere I could, or put a mirror on an entire wall.

 

AY: Can you use different themes for different rooms or should it all tie together?

Davis: It is important for the house to flow room to room. I never have one color story in one room and a different look in the next. The dining room, great rooms and entrance should flow – children’s rooms are always an exception.

 

AY: What’s the key to having nice decor when you have children, and how can you incorporate memories in a stylish way?

Davis: Number one, we are lucky to have family-friendly, high-performance material. Everything can look great while still being comfortable and livable. We love family pictures, but if your kids are teenagers, down come the baby pictures. We make and frame black-and-white photos of kids, pets and family vacations. In the past, we have also put items from a parent or grandparent in a shadow box frame and used that in a built-in shelf area.

 

AY: What elements of a room do you recommend investing in?

Davis: Rugs, because they anchor a room.

 

AY: How do you go back and edit once you’ve designed?

Davis: These days, when I am finished with a room, I take a picture of the space to look at. I do this instead of standing in the room because you get a better overview of the space and can see the scale and flow better.