Interior Design Tips From a Pro
Want to elevate your home without taking on a complete overhaul? Interior decorator Nick Olsen—DIY whisperer and master of the cheap trick—reveals the little tweaks that make the biggest impact.
How did you get started in this field?
Right after getting my architecture degree, I read about the designer Miles Redd in a magazine. I was so blown away by his bold aesthetic and everything he’d accomplished by the age of 35 that I wrote him a letter asking for a meeting. Two weeks later, I had my first full-time job, as his assistant. It was fate!
What’s one quick change that will improve any room?
Lower the artwork. People tend to hang it too high; it should be at eye level. And don’t worry about having something on each wall. It’s better to cluster art in one or two spots than to spread it out.
Decorating a huge room can be intimidating. How do you deal with soaring spaces?
My philosophy is to fill them with large-scale furniture and art. If you’re a less-is-more type, go for one massive piece, like an amazing painting over the sofa.
Suppose you can’t afford art that big?
Buy a blank canvas and paint it yourself. Pick the most interesting color in the room (as long as it’s not already the dominant color) and just cover the canvas in that shade, using the same paint you’d use for walls. There’s no way to mess this up, and it costs next to nothing. Google [famed abstract artist] Ellsworth Kelly for inspiration. He has pieces like this hanging in the Whitney Museum.