Make It Beautiful: Monica Pedersen Says Design is About Color, Pattern and Style


Anyone who knows me knows that I like to throw parties. While I can plan a food and beverage menu for any occasion, decoration in the one area where I struggle. Though I could certainly spend two weeks’ pay in the seasonal aisle at Target, that does not a designer make. Luckily, there are people right in my very own backyard who are adept decorators for any occasion.

Monica Pedersen, a native of Highland Park and designer on HGTV’s Designed to Sell, authored Make It Beautiful: Designs and Ideas for Entertaining at Home, a coffee table book full of ideas for elegant and approachable entertaining. My theory is that when most people read novels, they want something that is going to transport them to a world of fantasy or aspiration. When people read design books, they want practical and realistic tips to recreate at home.

Make It Beautiful offers both design that will make you wish you were living in the pages as well as simple steps that people can implement for their own gatherings. She presents ideas for parties including  a black and white baby shower, environmentally friendly graduation party, tea for two, wine and design, book club and more. Because the scenarios in the book are special occasions, we asked Pedersen to share some of her top design tips for everyday decorating. 

Consider Color. Pedersen is an advocate for using fresh, bright color in your design scheme. The Pantone design color of the year, Tangerine Tango, is a great accent color that works especially well to punch up some of the grey and beige color schemes that have been so popular for the past few seasons.  “Grab a pair of orange lamps, a couple of pillows and an orange throw for your bed or sofa and consider your space a stylish haven,” said Pedersen.

Use Pattern! ”Ikat patterned fabrics (large scale graphic) are one of the hottest and easiest design trends to bring into your home this season,” said Pedersen. “Crate and Barrel, Home Goods and Cost Plus are great stores to find inexpensive pillows, drapery panels and accents that show off the fun fabulous look of Ikat. La-Z-Boy Furniture Gallery in Lincoln Park also has a number of great looking Ikat prints that can be used to customize any of your upholstery needs, even your recliner.”

Even individuals who prefer simpler, muted design schemes can work with bold patterns and designs. “If you’re not used to pattern, introduce [Ikat] on a throw pillows or an accent chair. It is a fun pattern that brings personality and a collected look to any space.”

Be Stylish. Not only are color and pattern important, but French industrial style is another trend that is here to stay. “Get the look by using natural linens, light wall colors, distressed woodwork and iron accents,” said Pedersen. “A good place to shop for this style is Arhaus on Clyborn.

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