Decorating Tips From Bunny Williams With Design Chic

July 2, 2015 | By | Comments (5)

Few designers are more quintessentially Southern than Bunny Williams. So the fact that she is behind the interiors in the incredible 2015 Southern Living Idea House comes as no surprise. Long a favorite for choreographing stunning interiors, Williams leaves her distinctive mark everywhere she goes. From the rooms she decorates to the lines she creates, her flawless eye ensures that Williams’ look stays fresh yet true to those basic tenants that make her so unique. Even more refreshingly, Williams hasn’t forgotten what it’s like to be a brand new homeowner. We spoke with her about her favorite decorating tips, those nuggets, or, as is more fitting in the South, pearls, that homeowners can apply to their first house or their tenth. A pinnacle of Southern style, just like the rooms she designs, Bunny Williams is timeless.

For more on Bunny Williams, visit Beth Woodson and Kristy Woodson Harvey at Design Chic or follow on Pinterest or Instagram.

1 Decorating Tips From Bunny Williams With Design Chic

Did your experience with your first home influence any of the tips you offer young homeowners today?

I find that today people rush into buying furniture. When I first got my house in Connecticut, I didn’t have furniture in the living room for four years. (There was plenty of room for a Christmas tree!) I would suggest that all young homeowners live in their homes – get a good sense of how they’ll use the room – what furniture types are required, what are the traffic patterns and the room’s proportions. When I first moved in, I cut my plastic countertops myself to save time and money. Resist the urge to be impulsive. You’ll be happier in the long run.

8 Decorating Tips From Bunny Williams With Design ChicDid you incorporate any of your tips into your own first home?

I like to tell first time homeowners to go to tag sales, estate sales and local auctions – with a good eye you can find wonderful things. I still have a pair of chairs I bought in a “junk shop” on Columbus Avenue when I was 27 years old. Don’t treat your furniture as disposable; it’s too costly. Buy the best that you can and add to it little by little.

5 Decorating Tips From Bunny Williams With Design ChicDo you have any simple tips for changing up a room’s look without a complete overhaul?

Jazz up a room with accessories – new decorative pillows, affordable artwork, an interesting throw for over the back of a sofa. These things will make a difference but won’t make you feel guilty if you get sick of them.

6 Decorating Tips From Bunny Williams With Design ChicWhat are your recommendations for designing small spaces?

Keep things simple and focus on function. No matter what your taste in decorating, you must find places for everyday things – a big basket for newspapers and magazines, a drinks tray set for guests, and books.

11 Decorating Tips From Bunny Williams With Design Chic

What is your favorite splurge?

My bedroom is my sanctuary and nothing is more luxurious than climbing into my freshly made bed at the end of the day. I like to splurge on sheets with embroidered detailing that coordinates with the color of my bedroom.

7 Decorating Tips From Bunny Williams With Design ChicIs there one element that you consider the “starting point” of the room? Or is it different in every room?

A carefully conceived floor plan is the starting point for all good rooms. After that, it’s different for every room – I might be inspired by a new fabric I’ve found, a beautiful antique rug, or the view out the window.

2 Decorating Tips From Bunny Williams With Design ChicIs there anywhere you recommend clients save money?

Save money on rugs. I love the look of a sisal or seagrass rug and they are very inexpensive. Cotton dhurries and indoor/outdoor rugs (like my line for Dash & Albert!) won’t break the bank, so you can change them out often.

10 Decorating Tips From Bunny Williams With Design Chic

Are there certain styles, fabrics or furniture you recommend to clients who want to make their look last for years to come?

Choose fabrics for upholstery that are more neutral. That way the room is not dependent on one fabric. So, if you recover one chair the entire room is not affected. Don’t get caught up in trends. Buy what you love. Invest in quality, good materials and good basic pieces of furniture. Look for classic lines – things like klismos style chairs or an Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair. These will never go out of style, and also look good mixed with other styles.

Below, watch Bunny Williams give her tips for new homeowners.


  1. Faylinn

    I recently just bought some items to decorate the small spaces of my home with. However, I really like the advice about making sure that the focus of the decorating is also on function. I think that that is important to make sure that nothing looks cluttered. However, I also think that not everything has to be all about function. For example, I made sure that some of my more decorative items that I bought were small, practical and wouldn’t take up too much space.

    January 20, 2016 at 10:06 am
  2. June Robinson

    I just moved into a new apartment, and I need some serious help decorating! I have never decorated all on my own before, and it is proving to be very difficult. I love the ideas here, especially the idea of going to places like local auctions to save some money. Thanks for sharing these! I am excited to get started.

    September 1, 2015 at 5:04 pm
  3. Kathy Tobacco

    I love Bunny Williams. She is my decorating muse, but I love custom draperies too. I can see her point especially for young people who are starting out in life. But when you have a “love affair with a house” you make the splurge for custom drapery. Nothing else compares. Semi- custom is the second best choice i.e. buying ready made or made to measure and having them professionally installed. It is still no comparison to custom but I have seen it look good. The worse thing of all is to overspend on ready made “silk” panels, buy too few and hang them badly yourself. You spend nearly as much and the result looks terrible. Those drapes only look good in the catalog. Then you go out and buy more and by the time you are done you could have had custom drapes made. If custom isn’t practical, I would recommend buying inexpensive fabric, or inexpensive but nice looking panels (enough of them to look full), or even drop cloth fabric and have them sewn and installed by a bargain seamstress.

    August 3, 2015 at 2:13 pm
  4. Carolyn kalteyer

    Bunny Williams and Charlotte Moss are the undisputed designers of our day

    July 2, 2015 at 6:29 pm
  5. Patty Day

    Beth and Kristy this is a Great article and look into Bunny!! You asked all the right questions. She gave you fabulous hints and advice to pass on. Thank you for this piece….

    July 2, 2015 at 10:46 am

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s