Afraid of Decorating With Color? A Top Interior Designer Reveals How

Updated 08/16/19
Jay Jeffers Design Tips
© Jeffers, Jay, Be Bold , Gibbs Smith, Layton, 2018

Decorating with color isn't always easy. Whether you're looking to make a big change like painting the walls or simply looking to add a few throw pillow accents to your space, the abundance of choices sometimes makes it more comfortable to just revert to neutrals that you already 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 second book, Be Bold: Bespoke Modern Interiors, 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. You can see some of these inspiring spaces in the book.

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 after soaking in the wisdom he's shared with us below.

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 × Mika Tolvanen Nakki Lounge Chair $2,024 – $4,799
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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 Paint $49
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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
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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 $1,898
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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: Bespoke Modern Interiors $34
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