A Top Interior Designer Reveals His #1 Rule for Decorating With Color

Updated 11/07/18

Decorating with color isn't always easy. Whether you're picking a large-scale ticket item like a paint color for your walls or simply looking to add a few throw pillow accents to your space, the proliferation of choices sometimes makes it more comfortable to revert to neutrals that you know will work together: shades of gray, black and white, or tan. But one interior designer is looking to change that—and infuse a little life in our homes. 

Jay Jeffers isn't afraid of color and pattern. The San Francisco–based interior designer has built a brand on bold, unapologetic design. In his new book, Be Bold, Jeffers makes a case for being fearless in using color and pattern to create beautiful, timeless interiors. With an impressive portfolio of homes across the U.S., from Napa Valley to New York City, he aims to prove that it's possible to infuse a space with bold color or intricate pattern without it looking or feeling overwhelming. We chatted with the designer about all things design, mixing prints, shopping vintage, and decorating with color.

Pick up a few of his best decorating tips and try adding a few bold hues in your own space.

Jay Jeffers
© Jeffers, Jay, Be Bold , Gibbs Smith, Layton, 2018

What is your decorating philosophy?

When you pay for quality, you only cry once. Splurge on anything you want to keep forever.

Woud Nakki Lounge Chair $1934
Jay Jeffers Be Bold
© Jeffers, Jay, Be Bold , Gibbs Smith, Layton, 2018

What are the top three decorating tips you would give someone who is afraid of color? 

1. Snap out of it!
2. Start small; try painting your trim a different color.
3. Trust your designer.

Clare Blackest $49
Jay Jeffers Decorating Tips
© Jeffers, Jay, Be Bold , Gibbs Smith, Layton, 2018

Do you have any rules for mixing patterns?

Vary the scales of each pattern. Balance it out by mixing large-scale patterns with patterns on a smaller scale.

ABC Home Dhari Pillow $95
Jay Jeffers Interview
© Jeffers, Jay, Be Bold , Gibbs Smith, Layton, 2018

What are your top tips for shopping for vintage furniture?

Antiques are the soul of any space. Whether a small or large investment, find a piece that adds character and tells a story; it doesn’t have to be perfect. It is always comforting to have special items in your home that are older than yourself.

Carl Auböck Brass and Leather Magazine Rack $1889
Jay Jeffers Design Tips
© Jeffers, Jay, Be Bold , Gibbs Smith, Layton, 2018

What décor trends are you anticipating for 2019?

I think 2019 will be the year of traditional furnishings and maximalism in full-effect.

CB2 Bia Tassel Mustard Velvet Pillow $30
Jay Jeffers Interior Design
© Jeffers, Jay, Be Bold , Gibbs Smith, Layton, 2018

What is the one takeaway you'd like people to get from your book?

The common theme of all the projects is the bold design and structured sensibility—my hope for readers is for them to realize that they can have the best of both.

Jay Jeffers Be Bold $33

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