7 Decorating Tips for a More Creative, Colorful Home, According to The Novogratz

published Jun 12, 2020
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Colorful bookshelf by The Novogratz

I’ve been a big fan of husband-and-wife designing duo Cortney and Robert Novogratz since seeing them on their “9 by Design” reality show on Bravo—it’s hard to believe that premiered more than 10 years ago! They’ve never been afraid to take a chance on a risky, unique property, and their style is the perfect mix of old and new, sophisticated and quirky, bold and colorful.

When they released their fourth book, “Novogratz Design Fix: Chic and Stylish Tips for Every Decorating Scenario,” earlier this year, I was excited to check it out. Make no mistake about it: It’s a guide book of sorts, full of their tips and tricks for tackling tons of design challenges, using their own homes and projects as examples. But with large, full-page glossy photos and spreads galore, it’s a treat just to flip through it. I combed through the book to give a sneak peak of what to expect, but you better believe this is just the tip of the iceberg. Almost every page offers some kind of decorating gem, and after fifteen plus years in the business, The Novogratz are still bringing it with a book full of fresh ideas. Here a few of my favorite tips.

Get creative—and decorative—with your storage solutions

By now, you’ve probably heard about

Go modular with your furniture if you can

For the most flexible seating situation, consider something modular, as seen in the media room The Novogratz designed above. You don’t have to go multicolor or pick a piece that’s this low to the ground in a more traditional living room setup; just opting for a sectional that can be reconfigured or added onto—or a couch and ottoman combo that can do the same—will help your space evolve as your needs change. Plus, you can always move extra smaller pieces to another spot in your home.

Try a chandelier over a kitchen island

Yes, you need good task lighting in a kitchen, but these days, a trio of pendants is all you really see hanging over an island. This is a great, functional solution for sure, but if you want to mix things up, why not find a big, funky chandelier instead? That’s what The Novogratz did in their former New York City kitchen, and this one unexpected design move made such a big decorative impact. Because their fixture was substantial in size and made largely of clear Murano glass, it still provided ample light for meal prep but didn’t feel visually heavy for the space. You see chandeliers most often in dining rooms or over dining tables, so this one shift in placement really turned this spot into an interesting focal point.

Borrow (design) from hotels

I’m not talking stuff—just decorating ideas! In a rental project that The Novogratz worked on, they drew inspiration from hospitality designers Kit and Tim Kemp, who have designed many hotels around the world. Sometimes the best bedding is simple and plain white, which is what you see here. Not only is it relatively practical (since you can clean it fairly easy with bleach or your favorite bleach alternative), hotel style white bedding also allows you to have more fun with patterned wallpaper and bold headboards, the latter of which the Kemps are known for in their interiors.

Work with your surroundings

If you get tons of natural light from windows, don’t be afraid to go dark with cabinetry, walls, shelving, and floors in a kitchen or otherwise. You can always create balance by accenting those features with lighter, brighter accessories and furnishings, as is the case with the clear glassware in this California cook space included in the book. Undressed windows are more than okay, too, especially if you love your view and want to let in as much sunlight as possible. Just be sure to add a privacy film to your glass panes, if that’s a concern of yours in a given area.

Layers can bring warmth to just about any location

If you’re lucky enough to have an open concept plan with lots of airy glass features, sometimes the decorating challenge you face is more about making your space feel warm and cozy. The Novogratz’ answer to this style quandary? Layers, layers, and more layers. Adding textiles, art, and books will always help to make a space feel more homey. Be on the lookout for tactile materials—shag rugs, feathery lamps—that directly contrast with the slickness of glass and stainless steel, too.

Consider custom shelving for you books—or just fake it til you make it

For better bookshelves, a custom storage solution (or something that looks like it’s custom) is the name of the game. That said, The Novogratz love to make books the main feature, which is why white or neutral shelving is a great choice for letting your collection shine. Group books by size or color, as seen here. For some visual variety and an extra dose of your personality, don’t be afraid to incorporate some plants and a few decorative items like action figures, photos, art, and other keepsakes.