written by SHANI SILVER
advice by JAMES PEARSE CONNELLY
photos by JOSHUA B. ROTH
Not all Emmy nominees are stars of the small screen. Some of them make the small screen look good. We were curious about what it takes to earn an Emmy nod for production design, and we called in a true pro to share a trade secret or two. James Pearse Connelly, Production Designer for The Voice, Top Chef, The Biggest Loser, and Celebrity Apprentice, shares his insights into a world we rarely glimpse from the behind the scenes. James has been nominated this year for his designs on The Voice, which any fan of music (or just Gwen & Blake) is very familiar with. The interior design-obsessed, aka basically all of us, will find ideas and helpful advice in James’ tips below. Don’t be surprised if his small-screen savvy translates very well into your own living room. So that you can watch The Voice in style, of course.
PLAN OUT YOUR SPACE.
You don’t have to be an architect or an interior designer to draw a square! Think about your room first. Draw a box on a piece of paper and pretend you’re looking at the TOP VIEW, mark where the door is and where the windows are and see where you should put certain pieces. Think about power outlets, where the sun will hit at a certain day and what you want to see as soon as you walk into the room. I always put tape on the floor first with blue painter’s tape to help me visualize where the new pieces will go. It’s inexpensive and low adhesive so it won’t damage anything and is the perfect way to see the space before you spend the money and effort pushing things around.
MAKE ROOM FOR CONVERSATION.
Every star needs a supporting actress! Create different areas in a room to give yourself another space that allows for a separated conversation off to the side. This is great for multiple purposes including entertaining and also a the perfect time to decorate with those super stylish chairs you’ve had your eye on.
DOES IT LOOK GOOD ON CAMERA?
So many people ask how should they arrange their decorative pieces on a table, shelf or cabinet. One great way to see if it’s working well is to take a picture with your phone and look at it. Forcing the arrangement into a furniture-selfie helps you get fresh eyes on the vignette and puts the shapes into 2D so you can see how it’s working. if it doesn’t look good on camera – rework it.
RUG SIZE PROBLEMS.
Who isn’t sick of deciding between if the right size rug is a 5 x7 or an 8×10 or 9×12? What’s the rule, does it fit under the furniture or just part of the way? Just buy two or three rugs. Identical or make them different. in case the first one is too small, put two next to each other or layer a third on top. Try it out in your home and see how you like the one size, or two together or all three. Then return what you don’t use.
THE RIGHT LIGHTING IS EVERYTHING.
Every space needs a lamp or two. Think about lighting not only from that overhead light and window but an accent table lamp and floor lamp. Lamps are eyeball magnets, everyone is going to look at it – so this is a great way to define your style in one single piece. And don’t skimp on the bulbs! keep the temperature WARM with a soft white bulb to keep your complexion on point. Stay away from cool white, daylight, and/or fluorescent light – they won’t make you look pretty.