Jenna Lyons Is Not a Fan of Painting Walls Like This—But She Can Explain
And why she won’t be giving her RHONY castmates design advice.
Published Jan 24, 2023 4:23 PM
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It’s no surprise that Jenna Lyons’s ability to pick the perfect palette (and sofa and wallpaper and outfit, for that matter) every single time makes her one of the most requested names on design advice platform The Expert. And starting today, you don’t even have to book an appointment with her to crib her signature look: Lyons, along with Expert designers Brigette Romanek, Jake Arnold, and others, has built her own showroom, filled with her favorite pieces to suggest to her clients.
There are sconces galore, shaggy Beni rugs, sexy Lawson-Fenning chairs, and a sofa for which Lyons chose the leopard-adorned fabric. You can peep them at the Los Angeles brick-and-mortar by appointment, but they’re also available for purchase online. Lyons says it’s a practical way to shop after a phone consultation. “A lot of the calls I do are more concept driven,” she says of her work with the Expert clients. “This gives me the opportunity to take the experience further.”
And while we’re happy to take any and all design advice from Lyons, she adds that she won’t be giving her castmates any decor tips when she’s on Bravo’s Real Housewives of New York this year. “Unsolicited advice is just that,” she says with a laugh.
So we went ahead and asked Lyons where she falls on design’s longest-lasting debates.
Accent Walls: Nay
Using paint in small doses, such as on an accent wall, can so easily go wrong. “It’s hard to do, and most people don’t get it right,” she says. If you do want to use a vivid hue, instead of adding color to a wall and leaving the ceilings and moldings white—which can lean a little Connecticut, she says—you can create a moodier atmosphere by saturating the trim, ceilings, and walls in one shade, then adding a sofa in a similar color story.
“When you go for it, you get much more credit than when you dabble,” says Lyons. “And I think accent walls are just dabbling. If you are bold, it’s so much more effective than dipping your toe in the water. Go get in the water and do a synchronized swimming act! Go for it!”
Animal Prints: Yay
Cheetah and leopard patterns get a bad rap, but Lyons is all for them. Her two main inspirations? Alvar Aalto’s home, which has a leopard sofa against a red wall, and former Céline designer Phoebe Philo’s office, which featured another feline lounger. “I’ve always really liked animal print, and I know it sounds cheesy, but it’s never bad to me,” she says. “I love it.” To Lyons, it goes with everything.
Ceiling Lights: Nay (Most of the Time)
“I don’t have any overhead lighting in my house,” Lyons says, squarely placing herself on Team Lamp and Team Sconce. “Literally the first conversation I have in every consultation is to get the lighting off the ceiling.” She points out that fixtures should be placed underneath your shoulders—as in, on a table or on a floor—as much as possible, “almost to the point where it feels painful and weird,” she says. In her Expert showroom, you’ll find sconces, table and floor lamps, and one overhead light fixture, because, as she says, some homes just call for them, and if you have to have one, “let’s make it beautiful.”