For creative Jenna Lyons, joining the club of design pros at The Expert is no jump into the unknown: “It’s very similar to what I did at J.Crew, which was really helping demystify or resolve some questions of style, color, and visual communication,” she explains. 

Book a one-hour (or more) session on Zoom through the online platform and you’ll be able to show Lyons your space face-to-face. She’ll then offer her expertise on whatever you’re stuck on, from paint colors to the furniture layout.
Even if you don’t feel quite ready to kick-start a renovation project, you can get some inspiration straight from Lyons right here. Below, she shares a few best-kept design secrets with us.

Photography by Simon Watson

Lower the Light

table lamp
Modo by Jason Miller, Roll&Hill ($740)
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“There’s not a dimmer I don’t like, and a beautiful light switch can really be an inexpensive upgrade,” says Lyons. Moody lighting has been part of the designer’s DNA for a while now, as we spotted on her HBO Max show, Stylish With Jenna Lyons.

When in Doubt, Go Big

“The number-one mistake I find people make with rugs is making them too small. The rug should hold the room and go under your furniture. Not kissing [it], but really getting in there,” says Lyons. Lately she has been “oddly attracted” to wall-to-wall carpet.

Photography by Simon Watson

Think Long-Term

A huge chandelier, an unexpected color, and a dramatically scaled piece of furniture are Lyons’s longtime go-tos. In her Instagram series, “Rinse & Reuse,” she showed the evolution of her crystal fixture. It lived in her Brooklyn bedroom in 2005 and moved to her SoHo dining space in 2015. “Some of my best investments are still with me, and have been with me for 15-plus years,” says Lyons. “I have a Paul McCobb coffee table that I purchased 20-some-odd years ago, and I changed the top to a Fior di Bosco marble slab,” she adds.

Invest in Vintage Art

And yes, books are considered art. “Good vintage art, architecture, and photography books often have more character and elegant spines,” she notes. Lyons also recommends taking postcards or images from old books and putting them in a quality frame. “It can really elevate the look of a piece,” she adds. 

Go Monochromatic With Paint

“Dark painted walls in rooms can be incredible but also tricky,” says Lyons. The reason? Moldings left white can read inexpensive and take away from the drama. Instead paint the trim to match. Two of her favorite shades: Coventry Gray by Benjamin Moore and Railings from Farrow & Ball.