Reese Witherspoon recently Instagrammed a photo of decorator Mark D. Sikes’s new book with the giddy caption, “So excited about my friend @markdsikes gorgeous design book Can't wait to look at all the beauty this weekend!” and it’s no surprise why. The visual merchandising exec-turned-interior designer, who designed Witherspoon’s own abode and the charming Draper James store (both in Nashville), just released his first book, Beautiful: All-American Decorating and Timeless Style ($30; amazon.com), a beautifully bound volume full of images of aspirational rooms and outdoor escapes that he himself has designed.
Of course we couldn’t wait to get our hands on a copy and once we did, we found that there are a bevy of decor tips within its bound pages that were not only inspiring, but totally doable and applicable for the modern gal. Here are a few of the fun tips we discovered from flipping the pages of Beautiful, below.
1. Create a Mood Board
We dare you to find a successful creative who doesn’t create a mood board when they’re tackling a project, and this should always be your first move, before you take your credit card out for any impulse purchases. Whether it’s a digital version (i.e. on Pinterest), or a textured display of photographs, textiles, and tchochkes IRL, they help the designer envision the bigger picture, and visualize the larger picture on a larger scale.
2. Go Pattern Happy
This fun bedroom has a lot going on, pattern-wise, but it all works together, thanks to the consistent blue and white palette that is found in each piece, from the rug to the curtains, and even the lamps. Plus, with a backdrop like this, a little dose of color (like the pink flowers sitting on the nightstand) feels extra sweet.
3. Embrace Sisal
We love that a sisal rug works in almost every setting, from the beach, to the country, to the city. Not only does Sikes incorporate it in many of his rooms, but he goes big and covers almost the entire floor with it. It’s way chicer than wall-to-wall carpeting, and one great thing about Sisal is that you can create an extra-extra-large rug simply by stitching multiple smaller ones together. And this leads us to the next tip we learned …
4. Layer Rugs
“Layering is essential, whether it be a natural fiber rug under a dhurrie, or an assortment of wood, shagreen, and bone-inlay boxes,” says Sikes. In many of Sikes’s homes, the designer layers two different types of rugs atop each other, always with success. Here a large sisal rug grounds the entire seating area of the space, while a smaller, patterned blue rug anchors the seating area, creating the feeling of a room within a larger room.
5. Feel Blue
... the color, that is. “I’ve always gravitated toward the pairing of blue and white—no matter the image or context, if something is blue and white, it’s a given that I love it,” says Sikes. His passion for this fail-proof duo isn’t limited to his decorating projects, however—he also likes to dress in this color combo. And who can blame him? The pairing always works, always feels feels classic, and always looks good, especially in this sweet petal blue bedroom that feels so very serene.
6. Improvise your side table
Instead of spreading your oversized hardcover books on the coffee table, why not corral all your favorite titles and prop them against a sofa or chair to create a makeshift side table? They’ll still be within arm's reach, and you can get creative with the assortment: Pile them by categories, size, or color, or wrap them all in the same paper for a super tailored look.
7. Deck out your fireplace
No, we don’t mean the mantel. This is an especially awesome tip for those who have non-working fireplaces in their home. Not only does Sikes fill it with these sculptural pieces of coral (all in the same white palette to keep it cohesive), but he also painted the inside black, turning it into the ideal backdrop to make any decorative piece pop.