From staging dance-offs with FLOTUS to taking star-studded Oscar selfies, talk show host extraordinaire Ellen DeGeneres obviously has a way of putting people at ease. But her true passion is making guests comfortable in her home. "Design is what I lie awake thinking about at night," says DeGeneres, who is introducing ED, her first collection of home accessories and apparel (named after wife Portia de Rossi's nickname for her), which will be available at the end of the month. Read on for her best-kept home decorating secrets.
What's your decorating mantra?
Don't take yourself too seriously. Portia and I incorporate everything we love into our décor: animals, whimsy, and humor. I appreciate something that is a little kitschy and funny without sacrificing style.
What's a good thing for a couple to invest in together?
Items from your travels. I buy a lot of really old portraits of animals when I go to Paris and flea markets. We've always collected those things, along with bronze trinkets of dogs.
How do you solve decorating conundrums?
Take yourselves out of the equation and think about what makes sense when you entertain. For example, think about arranging furniture based on where everyone will be facing if the room is full, and then decide what would give off the best energy. Obviously you're not going to face the sofa to the wall, unless you're really a shy person.
What was your first home splurge?
A Jean Royère sofa, which I got about 12 years ago. Timeless key pieces of furniture are always worth investing in.
Where can you get away with spending less?
Save on accessories. Add affordable pillows and throws in bright colors or prints to brighten up a space. Or even a graphic lamp—it's going to give off the same amount of light as an expensive one!
Is there an ED piece that you multipurpose?
Linen throw blankets. They are soft enough to use inside but durable enough for the beach or grass. You should probably keep your dishes and bowls in the kitchen, where they belong, unless you plan to play high-stakes Frisbee.