An A-List Designer Shares the Only Decorating Secrets You Need to Know

Updated 02/06/17
Courtesy of CB2

Ross Cassidy has never been one to shy away from big statements. The Million Dollar Decorator alum and model turned designer to the stars made his first big splash in the design world when he wallpapered actress Amber Valletta's bedroom hot pink on the popular Bravo TV show and finished the room off with hand-painted brushstrokes in the same hue on the ceiling. Years later, the young prolific designer is still making waves on the design scene, this time with a hot new collection for CB2. Marrying his knowledge of exquisite high-end interiors with the brand's wallet-friendly price points, he was able to craft a collection that's insanely elegant but suitable for homes of all shapes and sizes.

These days, Cassidy is less inspired by hot-pink hues and more attracted to blue-green tones—a reflection of his love for the California coast that's also present in his beachy wood finishes and simple designs. The designer—whose high-end client list includes Hollywood A-lister Sia—has perfected the minimal beach house look, and we had to find out all his secrets. Ready to decorate like a Million Dollar Decorator? Learn this designer's best tricks—and turn your home into your very own Malibu-esque manse.

Stop Over-Decorating

Courtesy of Ross Cassidy

"Embrace minimalism," says Cassidy. "People buy too much furniture. Everyone needs to edit their living spaces in a major way and only buy good functional pieces that are essential." The designer, whose CB2 collection is largely inspired by Japanese design, believes there is power in the less is more philosophy. "I've noticed that Japanese design is finally showing up a lot more in America, which is very exciting to me."

CB2 Bento Coffee Table $949
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Pick a Focal Point

Courtesy of DISC Interiors

When decorating, Cassidy always starts the same way: "I pick a star, a focal point, the one piece of furniture in the room that all the other pieces will orbit around and build from that point," he says. "On an esoteric level, I start with the spirit of the room, I try to figure out who the room is, who she wants to be, and what she has to say, most importantly how she needs to work." In other words, start with one piece to serve as your inspiration, and pinpoint the function of your room. These two elements together make a great jumping-off point to design any room.

CB2 Kaishi Chair $599
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Avoid the Accent Wall

Dean Kaufman/Trunk Archive

Cassidy's number one design sin? The accent wall. "I don't like accent walls, be they painted, wallpapered, stone, or tile," he says. "I can't sit in a room with an accent wall for too long; it becomes all I can think about. Paint the whole room one color, I beg of you." When it comes to paint color, his rule is simple: If you can't commit to it for an entire room, don't do it.

His go-to shades include Benjamin Moore's Snowfall White (the perfect white) and Farrow and Ball's Brassica: "It's a muddy shade of purple that I like because it's very sulky; it makes a room feel like it has a bad attitude." He also loves Benjamin Moore's Yorktown Green. "It's a strange green with a navy-blue undertone."

Scour Secondhand Sources

Courtesy of DISC Interiors

"Don't be afraid of secondhand pieces," says the designer. "I've got clients that sell really good furniture on Craigslist all the time. If you are willing to wait and search, you can get amazing deals." Another favorite resource of his: Etsy. "It's filled with the most horrible stuff on earth, but once in a while, you will find treasure. You have to be willing to dig deep, though—it's a massive time-suck." When it comes to decorating, patience is indeed a virtue.

Homestead Seattle Midcentury Ib Kofod-Larsen Penguin Chair $995
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Dress Your Room Down

Courtesy of CB2

The easy-breezy lifestyle of Cassidy's home in Southern California has a huge influence on his designs, which are always fresh and light-filled. "California is very bright, and we don't seem to care too much about shade," he says. "Our interiors are casual. There are only a handful of formal spaces I can think of in Los Angeles, and the crowd is always dressed down. We don't do formal very well on the West Coast."

CB2 Shiro Table Lamp $299
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Make Dining Conversational

Courtesy of DISC Interiors

Cassidy's favorite piece from his CB2 collection is the dining table. "I've wanted to make an affordable, timeless-looking oval dining table forever," he tells us. "Oval is the most convivial way to dine, you are closer to everybody, and you don't have the rigidity and restrictions of a rectangle or square. At an oval table, everyone can be a part of the conversation. I hate being at a dinner table and only speaking to the person to your left or right; it's such a bore. I need more stimulation than two guests at dinner because I'm not good at extended conversations."

CB2 Obaru Dining Table $999
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Let Your Room Evolve

Dean Kaufman/Trunk Archive

"Design should be an ongoing process," says the decorator, who doesn't believe in the idea that a room can ever be one and done. "I like to switch out accessories so that a room stays fresh. It's like wearing a uniform and changing your jewelry—there's nothing wrong with basic black and different diamonds on rotation!" He says he adopts this philosophy when accessorizing rooms for clients. If the accessories change regularly, the room will never go out of style.

CB2 Umi Throw $100
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Benjamin Moore Snowfall White $37
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Farrow & Ball Brassica $99
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Benjamin Moore Yorktowne Green $37
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To find out which trends the brand predicts will be huge this year, check out more of CB2's spring collection!

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