5 New Year’s Resolutions For Our Homes—And Yours


Show some skin? Rearrange furniture to make a dining area in your living room? Do something different in 2020. (Image: Jessica Lagrange Interiors)

New Year’s resolutions are a great way to set goals for the future. But 80% of us fail to stick to our resolutions for more than six weeks. Perhaps we’re aiming too high (will you really lose 20 pounds by Valentine’s Day?) or making wishy-washy commitments (get organized…what does that mean?). The solution? Make resolutions that are specific, achievable, relevant and timebound, says the New York Times’ “Smarter Living” column. Well, what could be more specific, achievable and relevant that a few little tweaks to our homes—a very important place given all the time we spend in it? As luxury interior designers, we have no shortage of fabulous suggestions that you can do anytime this year, so timing doesn’t matter. Here are five resolutions anyone can try.


Exponentially improve the quality of your sleep with a luxury mattress. Our favorites are Hästens and Vispring at Chicago Luxury Beds. (Image: Chicago Luxury Beds)

Get a great mattress. So many of our clients buy the finest quality furnishings possible—except when it comes to their beds. We spend half our lives in bed (and not just sleeping) and a good night’s sleep is critical to our physical and mental health. Yet 75% of Americans think their beds aren’t comfortable enough. That’s why we’ve become total believers in top-of-the-line mattresses (see more here). Plus, we’re lucky enough to have Chicago Luxury Beds right here in town, which represents two of the finest mattress-makers in the world—Hästens and Vispring.

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A powder room papered in Porter Teleo’s hand painted wallcovering and the closet I painted orange in my own home. (Image: Jessica Lagrange Interiors)

Take a design risk: Given the cost of luxury furnishings, most of us play it safe. No one’s going to cover their five-figure sofa in a crazy pattern or color, yet playing with these two tools is a relatively economical way indulge in a bona fide decorating adventure. We’ve wallpapered or painted tiny powder rooms, studies and even dining rooms in fantastical patterns or super-bold hues to great effect. It creates a jewel-box effect. But this year walk-in closets got most of our attention. Case in point: I painted my own closet my favorite shade of orange.

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I lacquered my living room ceiling, but it isn’t ready to shoot. Above are lacquered walls we did for clients. (Images: Jessica Lagrange Interiors)

Gloss your walls. Coating your walls in glossy paint gives you a lustrous look that adds depth, intrigue and lots of extra light to a room—even if you’re using a dark color. That’s because the light that’s already in the room will reflect off the surfaces you gloss. For the best effect, we go full force with lacquer, an age-old technique that actually requires multiple coats of paint but yields extraordinary results. One of our favorite strategies is to lacquer just the ceiling in a space so it shimmers and casts a dazzling sheen on the furnishings below.

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For seamless perfection, we painted the switch plates in a marble backsplash. A bathroom by New York designer Steven Gambrel showcases the same strategy on walls. (Image: Jessica Lagrange Interior and S.R. Gambrel)

Indulge in perfection. While perfection is often overrated, there are times when small indulgences yield big results. We had one of those moments this year when we used Calcutta Violetta marble for the countertops and backsplash in a kitchen renovation. The vibrant, deeply marbled stone has dramatic violet and black veins that totally changed the glamor quotient in the space—but the switch plates (very necessary for appliance power!) punctuated the backsplash and marred the effect. So we used paintable switch plates (many brands make these; search for them online) and had them faux painted to mimic the marble. We’ve also done this to match switch plates to wallpapers.

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Lay it all out! Then you can figure out where it goes. That was one of Lori’s organizing tips when I moved recently. See more here. (Image: Jessica Lagrange Interiors)

Get organized. Organization is an essential in our business, where there are hundreds of moving pieces in every project we do. But after hiring a professional organizer (Lori Lehman, to be exact) when I had to move out of my home of 30 years, our entire team is sold on the power of using a pro. We anticipate using Lori’s consulting services for our clients and ourselves going forward. It’s like the saying “you can’t see the forest through the trees.” Lori’s imposed logical and strategic order to every aspect of my move, from getting rid of the old judiciously and profitably to making the best use of storage spaces in my new place. This relates to so many aspects of our work with clients that Lori has already become one of the trusted consultants on our team. Here’s wishing you a more ordered life in 2020!

26 Dec 2019

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