Meet LA-based stylist, event planner, and designer, Abby Pendergrast. She’s got an impeccable eye for interiors and knows how to throw one hell of a beautiful party. But with everyone hunkering down at home and events being cancelled, Abby has been kind enough to lend her expert advice to her IG followers via her “design dilemmas,” aka free design consults (!). We recently tapped her for her best (and easiest) budget-friendly tips for revamping your living space, plus answers to some of your questions about refreshing your spaces.
@corysarg I’m moving in with my bf soon. What are tips for integrating your styles together?
I always joke that part of my job is to play therapist with my clients, and this scenario is no different. I'd first say Consider how you both want to feel when you are inside each room. From there, I'd take a quick inventory of your 'must-have' pieces that you already own (a family heirloom, tchotchke from travels, etc). This helps you recognize where you can fill in the gaps. If you're able, I do think it is nice to replace some of the bigger pieces (bed frame/sofa) with new items that you select together. Lastly, PATIENCE is key - turning a house into a home takes time! Know that you will collect items together over time that start to make it feel like the both of you. Lastly, if all of the above fails... hire a professional!
Plants, Plants, and More Plants
My go-to tip to give your home a fresh look? Well, if you've followed my design dilemmas on IG at all, you'll see a common sentiment: ADD MORE PLANTS! Chic plant stands are hard to find, but this Gemini one is a show stopper. I love the idea of this layered with the shorter Corona version in front of a fireplace or nestled in a corner next to a cozy chair.
@merylaoden What’s your favorite must-have fireplace decor?
Start with one large piece, I usually like a mirror or piece of art. Maybe even layer a couple of pieces if you have them! From there, I typically play around with some sort of plant or greenery (I know Prism has some cool dried options!) and maybe layer a couple of vases in various colors/textures. Then, I usually find some way to incorporate my favorite coffee table/art books for a way to layer items. Finish off with lighting (candles, sconces, small accent lamp), a cute screen or wood holder, and add in small accessories (geodes/decorative objects) for finishing touches.
(Table) Top Priority
Many times when people think about the design of their home, they forget the importance of a stylish table-scape, especially if you’re like me and love to host dinner parties. Things might look a little different these days, but dining outside under the stars with loved ones is still at the top of my list and these Yin Yang Plates are so cute for dining al fresco. Complete the whole look by layering on Minna Napkins and pairing with the simple Natural Palm Placemat.
@milkedmedia What an easy way to make your home office look professional?
Now that many folks are working from home, having a space to get work accomplished is crucial! With this, comfort is key: make sure you have a good desk and comfortable chair for all day sitting. There are so many comfy chair options that have interesting details like metallic accents and cool fabrics and these tend to stand out more to me! On your desk, opt for organizational systems that are both beautiful and functional. Think pencil holders, paper organizers, and cute notebooks! Last but certainly not least, finish off with some chic lighting!
To the Wall
Don’t leave those walls bare. Adding art and wall decor can really change the vibe of the room. I have been really into the idea of a large, bold art in homes but a lot of times finding an affordable option is tough. I love this Upton canvas print because it packs a punch, adds a nice texture, and can be hung with or without a frame. Style this above a bench in an entryway or above your sofa!
@merylaoden I feel like I'm in a neutral slump. How can I incorporate some color with my current neutrals?
Well, you're in luck that I love COLOR! So many of my clients and friends find themselves making 'safe' design choices aka only buying beige/cream/tan and it ends up falling flat. Good thing that when you have a neutral base you can accessorize and easily mix it up. I typically like to find one 'hero' item within a space that really inspires my color palette and build around that. This can be a piece of art, a swatch of fabric, a throw pillow, anything really! From there pick the 3-5 colors and stick within that palette. Once you've got a clear idea of the palette to stick within you can update the throw pillows and blankets, find coffee table books in your interests that have colors within the palette or swap out the art. Remember, nothing is permanent, and if you really don't like something once you see it in the space try something else. Just like everything else in life, you don't know until you try!
“Level up your lighting by choosing something like the Terracotta Table Lamps that doubles as functional art (something I’m really loving right now). Pop these guys on a bedside table on a stack of your favorite art books (this Kelly Wearstler one is currently on mine!) with a plant for an instant upgrade.
@nastywuhman Would love some tips for updating my rental - ugly backsplash, appliances, and things that we can't necessarily change!
First things first, where there is a will there's a way! For tiles/backsplash, there are a few easy updates. If your landlord is cool, painting tile is super simple and affordable and makes such a big impact. Be sure to get the correct type of paint for the material you are painting and be sure and seal it. If you're not sure, ask someone from the paint store for their advice based on your specific materials. Another option is to cover with peel and stick tiles. There are a plethora of options for both flooring and backsplash that aren't permanent so they can be easily removed with no damage before you move out. For appliances, if you'd like to replace all together check out Habitat for Humanity Restore or a 'scratch and dent' appliance store. These both tend to have gently used options that might be a bit more modern than your current setup. If that's not an option, there are tons of DIYs for covering in vinyl or contact paper for a removable upgrade. I like this one, and remember - measure twice and cut once!
I've made it a point to buy myself flowers every time I go to the grocery, so having a cool vase is definitely a necessity these days. Right now I'm rocking peonies, but if you don't want to worry about replacing them, I love that you can also snag some cool dried floral options too!”
@judithpen What’s the best way to create a unique gallery wall without everything looking the same?
Ohhhh, I love a good gallery wall! This is one of my favorite ways to make a big impact in an affordable and unique way. I personally like to mix and match paintings, prints, wall hangings, and other objects and textures. Similar to what I mentioned above, it can help to have a color palette in mind so that while the textures or art styles are different they remain cohesive. From there, I always recommend laying out the pieces on the floor and playing around with the arrangement making sure there is a balance of styles (not putting two similar objects right next to each other), snap some photos to compare layouts then start with your center pieces and build each piece on either side and repeat until you are finished!
Scent the Mood
Don’t forget your scents! Many years ago PF Candle Co. was kind of my first foray into 'fancy candles' and I have been obsessed with their Teakwood & Tobacco scent ever since. I love having a signature scent for your home and these minis are perfect to burn in a few rooms around the house! (Don't forget to have cute matches to go with them!)
Want more tips? Tune into our Instagram Live Q&A with Abby on Friday at 11am where she’ll be answering our followers’ design questions. Also, make sure to follow her on Instagram (her real-time home-design-hacks are like a free masterclass in interior design) and check out her website for more stylist inspo. You can shop Abby’s Picks or our entire Home Collection for the latest in home décor and more.