How To Get The Mark D Sikes Look For A Lot Less Money



Oh dear… I’m in trouble already. Why, you ask? Well, first of all, let me make it perfectly clear that I adore Mark D Sikes. I want to marry him and have his babies… The whole shebang!


And I am incredibly happy for his well-deserved success for his extraordinary designs, collections, licensing agreements, speaking engagements…

You may recall that he’s in the top 20 designers I would hire and that was then. Mark is now in the top five!

I wasn’t at this spring’s High Point Market, but the buzz is that his collection at Henredon was the darling of the market and deservedly so.

Mark’s design philosophy brings me such joy. He says that a room done today would’ve looked good 30 years ago and it’ll still look fresh 30 years from now. Oh, how I love that!


You knew that there was a but coming didn’t you?


We can go to Henredon and purchase the “Mark D. Sikes look” but it’s going to come with a hefty price tag.


How hefty?

Well, we’re probably talking somewhere in the range of $100,000+ retail for a whole living room full of furniture. And I’m not saying that it’s not worth it.

As an aside: I did find Mark’s blue sofa on Houzz (with the help of my wonderful colleague and friend in Austin, TX, Patrick Landrum) for eight large. But I would expect to find it for an even higher price elsewhere. BTW, Do not buy anything on Houzz. Just please don’t. I don’t like the way they do business. Not at all.

(as a further aside. The company is a SHAM! Patrick contacted Henredon and they have no business alliance whatsoever with this these crooks!)

The sofa is definitely worth the money, along with the incredible collection of fabrics that Mark designed for F. Schumacher.

But, I know that most of y’all aren’t going to be able to swing that.


So, today, I’m doing another high low – get the look for a lot less.


Again, to be clear. This is not to demean, or take anything away from Mark or Henredon. Folks who can’t afford it are not their customers, and folks who want the look but don’t know how or where can benefit. Win-win as I see it.

Before I go on… however.


The furniture I’m going to present is not of the same quality as Henredon.


I can’t vouch that it’s going to hold up in most cases. I went by reviews and what I’ve seen for myself in person.

First of all, let’s take a look at some of Mark D Sikes’ incredible designs.


photo by Amy Neunsinger

Mark loves blue and white and he loves neutral beiges, creams and whites too.

You may recall this fabulous living room for the Southern Living Idea show house he did last year. He incorporated pieces from the new line at Henredon. What a fabulous collection.

That I’ll never be able to afford.

sad face.

This is Mark’s patio and where I want to be laying on the day that I die.

For more pictures of Mark’s glorious home, please click here.

A beautifully layered room, designed by Mark peppered with a beautiful blend of exotic furnishings, some traditional and little modern thrown in to keep things interesting.

These beautiful blue sofas and chairs are part of Mark’s new line at Henredon.

The fabric on the occasional chairs is Montecito Medallion from F. Schumacher.

It is available here.

I would use it for pillows to save money like Annie Anderson did.

The photo is from her lovely instagram feed.

Beautiful Chinoiserie Cabinet and chairs from Mark’s Henredon collection.

Pretty stunning isn’t it?

Lauren-Upholstered-Queen-size-Canopy-Bed-overstock - in the manner of Mark D Sikes

Here’s the first preview of crazy prices. (crazy good) I found this bed for $280.00 on Overstock!


And it has gotten excellent reviews! You don’t suppose this is the bed in the first bedroom image? It looks the same except for the headboard fabric which could have been changed, of course.

Not everything Mark does is blue, cream and beige.

But I love his use of one main color family mixed with whites and neutrals. Fabulous bedroom!

More from Mark’s Henredon line. Very handsome and classic. Me like!

More pieces. So elegant!

gracie blue chinoiserie wallpaper Mark D Sikes
There is nothing more heavenly on this good earth than this Chinoiserie hand-painted wallpaper from Gracie. This is the paper that you put on the walls with the removable paste so that you can have your casket lined in it.

Gosh, Laurel is a little morbid tonight. Sorry. But hopefully, you’re getting my point.

In fact, the beautiful Melissa Hawks from the Well Appointed House (one of my favorite online sources for chic, classic home furnishings) – did exactly that. No, not her casket! She’s still very much with us, but she did take her (it was Gracie or Zuber) wallpaper with her when she moved!

And who wouldn’t! This paper retails for about $1,500– a panel– maybe more.

One panel. Three feet wide. Ten feet high. Thirty square feet.

Now, you could do what Mark has done and just frame out say three on a wall and save some money that way. I love that treatment. But it’s still very expensive.

A wonderful source that I added last November to Laurel’s Rolodex is Mural Sources. These panels range from around $199-$280 a panel. That’s better! Still not cheap but if doing them as pieces of art in a frame, would be wonderful. There are dozens of gorgeous designs.


And now, for the budget-friendly furnishings inspired by Mark D Sikes’ brilliant designs.


Inspired By Mark D. Sikes


1. Safavieh Slip-covered stripe chair for $379.00

How wonderful is this little chair!

2. Safavieh Gateless Mist Blue and White Chinoiserie Garden Stool for $88.00

Safavieh is a smart company. About ten years ago, they got with the program and started importing far less expensive merch than their usual high-end stuff. Oh, they still have the expensive stuff too. Like Henredon, for example. :]

3. Butler Bone Inlay Mirror for $595.00

Love these bone inlay mirrors! I have one from Serena and Lily but sadly, they seem to have discontinued it.

4. Overstock exclusive Indonesian Blue and White Print Drapery – one panel is $86.00

For a more custom look with ready-made drapes, hang from hooks with rings. Do not use the rod pocket (with the rod threaded through) and especially if there’s a ruffle above the pocket! That looks terrible, IMO.

5. Safavieh Hampton Cream Pillow Top Bench for $220.00

6. Safavieh Christina Eggshell Console for $182.00

This piece is so pretty and I can’t believe it’s under 2oo bucks!

6. again – oops! World Market Gold Arley Accent Table for $80.00

Mark has a little gold tri-pod accent table. It’s not $80.00 ;]

7. Crate and Barrel Trevor Apartment sofa – starts at $2,200.00 – As shown –  $3,848.00

We’ve been through this. Lee Industries makes this sofa for Crate and Barrel. There are many others as well. I have found that One King’s Lane has a lot of more affordable and stylish sofas like this one that I love from Robin Bruce.

8. Dwell Studio Bone Inlay Hathaway End Table  for $142.00

9.  Safavieh Abelard antique Gold Cocktail Table for $644.00

10. Pier One Eliza Chambray Blue Chair $550.00

Years ago, my neighbor that I was helping with her home went out and got a little chair from Pier One. Super cheap. Super comfortable and the quality appeared to be excellent.

11. Safavieh Sahara Navy Nailhead Stool for $132.00

12. Safavieh Randy Light Blue Stripe Slipper Chair for $270.00

This classic slipper chair comes in several other fabrics. All of them are delightful.

Mark loves stripes and loves mixing several different ones. Just make sure that they are different enough from each other.

13. Jalan Miami Bone Inlay Stool.

They aren’t listing the price, so it might not be cheap, but it looks almost exactly like Mark’s stool. I was so happy to find it.!

14. Safavieh – Kyros long sofa or console table for $1476.00

15. Vintage Drexel Black Lacquer Chinoiserie China Cabinet found on Chairish for $1,295.00

Oh me oh my! This one made my day! I can’t believe that someone didn’t snatch this up the second it went up.

16. Overstock Kerala Print Drapery panel for $48.00/panel

This is an alternative to the other drape. But also, it’s so inexpensive that if you can’t afford the Schumacher fabric for pillows, just get a couple of panels (depending on how many pillows you’ll need.)

17. Scalamandre Le Tigre accent pillow found on Etsy at Southern Shades for $125.00.

That’s a superb price for that pillow because the fabric is one of the most expensive in the land! Spark Modern also has a ton of gorgeous designer fabric blue and white pillow covers and other colors too, of course.

18. Pair of Bamboo Chairs from Charlotte and Ivy for $2,259.00

Okay, not cheap but also not Henredon prices either.

19. Visual Comfort Small Natalya Chandelier for $4,200 at Circa Lighting.

oops! A little dose of reality. I do love this piece. Didn’t look at the price when I stuck it on the board. I owe you one. :]

20. Safavieh En Vogue Dining Chair in Navy Cotton – Two chairs for $377.00

This chair comes in a zillion different fabrics and I have seen some of them at the Safavieh store near me. It is very comfortable and the ones I saw were of surprisingly good quality–especially for the price.

21. Harlan Rustic Java Double Pedestal Extension Dining Table for $1,525.00

I love this slightly rustic/casual yet traditional pedestal dining table. It can seat up to 10 and that is a great price for a big table like that. Forewarned, that shipping and installation is going to set you back some.

Well, as usual, spent far too long on this. Don’t feel badly. I could eat this for breakfast, lunch and dinner and never tire of it!

Oh man, before I forget, if you don’t have Mark’s fabulous book. This would be a great time to get it.

Great gift for Mom for Mother’s Day too! Also please check out the book list above.


This post contains affiliate links for products that I love to share.


8th edition rolodex-post-graphic - November 2021 - A unique shopping guide with hundreds of sources created by Laurel Bern

89 Responses

  1. I am currently doing some interior remodeling in the kitchen and switching my living room decor to blue and cream, so I love this. I did buy my new kitchen cabinet handles from Houzz and got a great deal, they sent them on time and everything was fine. If they are a scam, please let me know so I don’t buy more from them.

    1. Hi Ann,

      I’m sorry, I can’t get into it as I’m on vacation. Houzz is like a store. But their customer service is awful and they don’t have good controls over vendors who are stealing other’s designs. That is definitely not all of them. Far from it.

      There’s more but I’m away right now.

  2. Hi! Laurel,

    I am madly in love with your blog. I wanted to ask you a quick question, ball park how much does hiring the amazingly talented Mark D. Sikes or Cathy Kincaid cost?
    Something around 500k ? + furniture or does their salary covers everything the project needs? Thank You!

    1. Hi Isabel,

      That is a very good question. But I’m not sure of the answer. People like Mark have a team of people.

      Mark has his fingers in so many pies that how much he actually does, I don’t know. I imagine that he meets with the clients usually and certainly has a say in the designs, but he also has to have terrific people who are tuned into what he would like.

      Bunny Williams says that she charges a flat percentage of the costs of the items and then an hourly fee. There is probably an upfront design fee as well.

      1. Thank you! for your swift reply, you are a doll.
        Big hugs all the way from Montecito.

  3. Forgive my tardy comment, Laurel, but I’m curious about your statement regarding Houzz: “BTW, Do not buy anything on Houzz. Just please don’t. I don’t like the way they do business. Not at all.” Can you expound on it a little? Many thanks!

    1. Hi Julia,

      I’d rather not expound to a great degree in print, but their most recent heinous trick is allowing vendors who are ripping off designs of other companies to do business on there.

      That IS if these “vendors” are even for real. I did not spend a long time on this investigation because I have far better things to do, but I know that several vendors have had their designs stolen—including the images representing the designs.

      I discovered this when I did the first Mark Sikes post as I was trying to find out the current retail price of a sofa of his at Henredon. I found a company that is ripping off Henredon’s and others’ designs. Henredon confirmed this.

      Interestingly, the profile is still up. And now I see pieces by Bunny Williams and others. I see that this company that’s claiming the stolen pieces as their own designs are charging $2,000 MORE for Bunny’s sofa than Bunny is charging. Outrageous!–7500-to-10000/manufacturer–ecofirstart

      There’s a lot more, but over-all, I do not like the way houzz has treated the design community. They hounded me for days until I had to beg them to stop.

      In addition, I’ve read numerous horror stories about how awful their customer service is.

      I do not support these shoddy business practices.

  4. Someone above suggested doing more designer looks on a budget. If you please, JEFFREY BILHUBER. Yes I probably spelled his name wrong, Laurel. Oh If I could have TWO designer husbands it would be Jeffrey and Mark. And then I would take the gents from Madcap Cottage as my lovers heh heh

  5. I too adore Mark D. Sikes. Wondering if you know if the iron beds are very stable? Pottery Barn has two that look like the overstock version (and they assemble them for you!) and I would love to know if they end up “wobbling” or creaky after a time? My husband thrashes in his sleep so I fear collapsing under an iron canopy in the middle of the night. However, I would take the chance just so I could copy a Mark bedroom.

    1. Karen, you can get very good quality iron beds from Wesley Allen. Lots of choices and reasonably priced too!

  6. I love that Safavieh Slip-covered stripe chair for $379.00, but it got really bad reviews. People said its not comfortable. Have you ever seen anything similar?


    1. Hi Amy,

      I read the reviews which are mixed. It sounds like all it needs is a new seat cushion. I recommend getting a foam core surrounded by down and feathers.

      There are similar chairs but they are at least five times as much money and more!

  7. I wish I had listened to you. You told me you didn’t like daybeds, but I convinced myself that one would look fabulous in my small library that is often used for guests. It seemed like the obvious answer to replace my old sofa. Well, it looked like a hospital bed. Even with an upholstered back, it still looked like a hospital bed. It was too high to sit on comfortably and needed a million firm pillows when using it as a sofa. Gave it away a month or so after I bought it. I’m looking at a Lillian August sofa (LA70195), but I don’t think you would like this either, because it’s big. I like more compact sofas, I really do, but, this one needs to be big enough to sleep on. With removable back cushions, I think it will be perfect. Am I making another big mistake? This would be an expensive one.

    1. Hi Andrea,

      I can’t see the sofa. :] But you can get a queen-size sleep sofa that’s under 80″ wide and about 36″ deep. I have one made by Lee Industries.

      1. I hope you have some idea how much you are appreciated and respected and relied upon by your readers. The sofa in question isn’t as outlandishly huge as I was thinking since it’s only a couple inches deeper and longer than your guide line dimensions. The best sofa I’ve ever had was one by Lee Industries. I hope Lillian August is as well built. Still thinking, and you have helped greatly.

  8. Hey Laurel…great post, as usual. I’ve been ripping out his rooms from magazines even before I knew who the heck he was!! Love his style…wish I had the $ to buy, so your advice here is so appreciated.

    I’m getting (for only $200) two armless slipper chairs from a client who is re-doing one of her rooms. I’m going to get them re-covered ala Mark Sykes’ Henredon version with the little kick pleat. Love it!

    I have a resource for you and your readers (who don’t mind a little DIY stenciling).
    Remember Kim Myles – who won HGTV’s Design Star a few years back? She has a line of stencils for Cutting Edge Stencils – one set resembles the pattern on that very expensive mirror (your number 3) and that terrific bench (number 13). Here’s the link

    I did a client’s wooden valance with this pattern…it came out great. A different color – but you could make it look like inlaid ivory!

    Have a great day!


  9. I just found this wonderful blog. I am always on the hunt for deals. I love to shop consignment as you can get really great quality high end items at great prices. One of my new favorite places is The Local Vault. I have gotten some really great buys. Do you have a list of places you recommend?

    1. Hi Donna,

      This is too funny. I was JUST thinking about putting together a list of favorite online sources for a wide variety of products. I think this may start out as a post or a few posts and then have a permanent home in the menu.

      Of course, I can’t do local sources because the blog readers are in all 50 states and now, all over the world!

  10. Laurel, I love your style of writing and sense of humor. I subscribe to your blog for that as much as I do your decorating advice. Your posts about getting the look for less are my favorites. Thank you for taking time to research all these great finds and being kind enough to share with all your readers. I’m pretty sure that’s what Mrry W. meant to say 🙂

  11. I like the brown wicker chairs shown in the one seating grouping. I toyed with using “patio” furniture as some of the main furniture in my condo. I ended up using some old rattan chairs from my grandparents’ front porch in a corner and for “big” seating have a slip-covered wing arm chair and a swiveling barrel chair so you can swivel around and see outside or converse with the person cooking in the kitchen.

    1. Hi Susie,

      I’ve always loved wicker and rattan in interiors. In fact, I used to have four Palecek wicker chairs. I still have one of them in my kitchen.

    1. Hi Shirley,

      Lucky you! He’s also one of these people that I have no idea how he does it all. Very busy with design work, show houses, blog, BOOK, speaking engagements, fabric and furniture lines.

      I’m exhausted just writing that! lol

      You don’t suppose that he has some help? haha

  12. Wow! I can’t thank you enough for the great resources you shared in this post. I am in love with that $$$$ chandelier. I am slowly putting together a whole house on a cost conscious budget using your Paint Palette and Rolodex plus the incredible posts you give us like todays. Thank you Laurel

    1. Hi Leslie,

      That is so cool and I’m glad that the post and the products are helpful for you. I’m very proud of them too.

      Oh dear. That reminds me. I owe you guys a board for April!

  13. Dear Laurel,
    I look forward to your blogs the way a child anticipates Christmas. Some weeks I open a gift I’ve been hoping for all year and other weeks I am delightfully surprised by something I never thought to ask for. I loved,really loved this weeks post at the risk of sounding greedy I wondered if you had plans to offer an alternative to Mark’s outdoor furniture? It is amazing and I’m sure amazingly priced. In case it wasn’t in your plan I want to thank you ahead of time for your very serious consideration of putting it there.
    I appreciate you!
    Mary Balagia

  14. I love this post and love Mark Sikes. I follow his blog and already had a folder for him on my pinterest. BUT I didn’t know he was hot . I guess I haven’t been paying attention…. but yes his collection is great and your shopping for us is excellent. My patio and cheap furniture is like his… kind of 🙂 …except the plants all died and the furniture came from kmart and Craigs list 😉 but seriously I got a Martha Stewart kmart set$600 in about 2008(metal traditional sofa two chairs one table) and another vintage set (wought iron sofa two chairs) for 100 dollars on Craigs list . Had everything finished in black . Bought blue clearance patio cushions at home depot. ..zillons of decorative pillows at Steinmart …. side mosaic tables from homegoods …and boom good to go. ….furniture still looks good but need new decorative pillows and of course the landscaping needs to be completely redone now due to drought, dogs, and irrigation issues.
    I have too many projects going on but hope the yard gets freshen this summer
    I didn’t know his patio photo was so admired but I love it too. Thanks for your post , will be passing it on.

    1. Hi Jeanne,

      If you mean hot as in good looking, Mark is indeed very handsome! I heard him talk at the Design Blogger’s Conference last March and that’s how I know.

      There are other images of the patio. Hang on. I have another one posted here somewhere. I’ll be right back.

      Okay, I’m back. Here it is:

      The cushions are different. I said I wouldn’t change a thing, but I love both versions!

  15. Laurel,

    I really enjoy your site. Thank you for Providing so many great ideas and wonderful knowledge!
    I love all of the great info you’ve provided. I loved your chandelier option but just thought I’d ask you if you might be able to provide a chandelier that could be more cost effective?

    Thank you for everything!

      1. I have been reading your older posts and find that you are a “treasure trove” of information and easy to understand for all of us “wanna be” designers! I am saving them all not only for the info they impart but your tone is priceless…..a joy to read.

  16. Laurel,

    Great post as always….I am a fan of deGournay wallpaper and especially their murals like Coutts. Hope I have the spelling correct…..thoughts on the brand? Mural wallpaper is truly artwork for all to enjoy …..with my deGournay paper, each wall tells a different story.

  17. I love your blog and the humor that you infuse into it. I am a
    New England Yankee temporarily living in Tucson, AZ. Having had an antique shop for many, many years, and having been involved in the design world for many years, I was so pleasantly surprised to find
    a huge amount of Chinoiserie furnishing out here. And very reasonably priced. China cabinets $200.00 and under, coffee tables, curios, and on and on. Just everything from lighting to porcelains, tons of bamboo furniture. And I think that I am one of the few living in this area who is in love with Chinoiserie. My house and garage are over flowing. Planning to start listing on Chairish.

    1. Oh wow! Who knew? Tucson is the Chinoiserie capital of the world! My grandparents lived there in their later years – 60s and 70s.

      Fabulous about your upcoming Chairish booth. Please let us know when it’s up.

  18. Lauren, may I suggest a color for Sheila to try in her living room?

    S.W Leapfrog!

    What reminded me of this color, was a dining room I did a few years ago…it got no natural light at all. And this particular green worked beautifully on the walls. it is dark, but it worked!

    The color relates in a way to your story today because the client had a gorgeous collection of blue and white china…gorgeous pieces she had collected in Asian countries.

    Do you use dark paint colors in dark rooms as I do? I never have good luck with whites.

    1. Hi Judith,

      I had a dark den and I painted it a light, warm green and it was lovely, but there was also not a lot of wall space. There was a pass through to the kitchen a wall with low-windows and a glass door, then one wall with the TV and art on it, then a built in and then another wide opening and then another opening on the pass through wall.

      I think with dark rooms that one has to know that they’re probably going to need to augment natural day-light sometimes. Dark colors can work in small rooms with low light.

  19. “More decorating information”…for real?

    You have just decorated a stunning room with fabulous bargains…free of (your) charge.

    How are you going to beat this one, Laurel? Maybe your best one yet…although your blog is like “the box of chocolates”.

    1. Haha! I know… Apparently, according to name-with-no-vowels, I spent some 15 hours creating a not-enough-decorating-info post. (eyes rolling) But thanks for your kind words Judith!

  20. “…Mark’s patio and where I want to be laying on the day that I die.” AND “so that you can have your casket lined in it.”

    Two Favorite lines of the day!!! Cracked me up! Loved the look-a- like furniture too, but those lines were the best!

  21. I Love, Love, Love this post!! But then I love all of your posts! But this one makes me want to start fresh and redo my living and dining rooms! Ah, it’s only money! 😉 Keep ’em coming Laurel!!

    All the best!

  22. Thank you for sharing your insights regarding Mark Sikes! I am a big fan of his and your bargain tips are the best. I truly appreciate your honest design sharing!!! Your user friendly approach to your blog is well received.

    1. Thanks so much Lin. Glad that you enjoyed the post! I could’ve kept going because I wanted to do more with accessories and some of the finer details. Well, there’s always another post! Sometimes I forget that I’m writing a post, not a book! lol

  23. Laurel, I appreciate your wonderful sense of humor as much as your design talents! Your blog is such a day brightener for me.
    Thank you for sharing the works of these designers for the ‘average’ person. It’s a joy to see such beautiful rooms. But most folks couldn’t afford any of this, so I appreciate you showing us some similar alternative. You are the best.

  24. Dear Laurel,
    You have great writing skills, I really enjoy your posts.
    This one offers tangible advice, the links are awesome,
    Thank you for sharing all of your decorating secrets, you are very generous!

  25. Laurel, thank you for this post. I recently moved to a house with a lot of blue in the fixed elements, plus the walls were already a pale blue in the open plan main living area. MSD’s use of blue in his decorating has inspired me to embrace the blue and have some fun with it. I was missing the greens from my previous home, but not any longer!

  26. Laurel

    First off: to quote my 16 year-old nephew (generally, a nice English boy) , in response to that obnoxious troll, Mrry. W., “bog off, you miserable trout”. I think that translates into “Laurel’s American Lady” equivalent as “unsubscribe”.

    I love your design style, Laurel, and you have a wonderful, quirky and warm writing style. So ignore the haters.

    Now, to the point of your blog: Mark thingy. I am not sure if this is a purely personal response, and/or to what extent there’s a cultural element when it comes to U.S. and English interpretations of that perennial classic look. When I examine individual elements of his style, I like a lot of them.

    But, crikey, he certainly doesn’t know the meaning of restraint, does he?

    Pattern: what the heck, let’s have SIXTEEN patterns, plains (only one or two plains in that count!) in this “blue and white” room. In the “calming” ivories, taupes room – four patterns, three different floor patterns…

    I just want to go into each of those rooms and wave my magic wand to remove so much (to me) visual clutter caused by too many patterns across large swathes of each room. Perhaps pattern on side chairs and plains on the sofas…

    Lovely colours and I love the classic American room layouts. But more plains definitely equals more elegance in my book. I do suspect that’s an English thing though.

    1. Hi Denise,

      I love your nephew’s “bog off you miserable trout!” I usually insert the word of the animal we most commonly get milk from. :]

      Now, to your beautifully worded point about the number of patterns going on. I don’t disagree. And if you notice Mark’s own home, you will find a paucity of such pattern.

      But these are largely showrooms or show houses in the case of the all blue room and all beige room. And they are generally one-step if not actually over-the-top. And– they are trying to sell the fabrics and need to show them off.

      But to me, the over-all effect is masterful because he shows that one CAN do this.

      Oh, one other thing and that’s what looks crazy busy in a photograph, may not look that way in person. In a photo, because of the inherent nature, we can focus on many elements at one time that is not possible in real life.

      I can’t tell you how many times I’ve taken a bunch of photos of a room only to discover that one of the sofa cushions is slightly askew. One would never notice it in a million years, if they walked into the room, but in a photo it sticks out as a glaring flaw!

    2. Oh, and one more thing. It’s not just an English thing at all! In fact, if anything it’s the opposite as I see it. It seems to me that the English are far more daring with color and pattern than us Americans.

      Most of the time, in my designs, I did exactly as you suggested. Plain on the sofa with a pattern or two on the pillows and a coordinating pattern on the chairs.

      1. Laurel

        That is such an excellent point about the response to a photograph and how we absorb our sense of a room in reality. I shall have to hold onto that while desperately trying to decide on a colour or style for my apartment in an 1879 house.

        I looked at your link to the “blue and white home”. Brooke Shields’ bedroom in that post was utterly lovely…Ralph Lauren’s study would send me insane!

        Back to “contemporary in a period building”


        “Classic with a twist”.

        1. Hi Denise,

          Lots of great ideas in the post you sent me. That is one difference I see in English and American decorating on the whole. It seems that the English are not nearly as afraid of dark paint colors (colours) ;] as we are.

          But lucky you with an 1879 apartment. I bet that it’s magnificent even with nothing in it. In fact, I’m one to love beautiful architecture so much that I hate to put anything in it. I know. A little ironic!

  27. Wow! That was awesome, Laurel! Thank you for all the links. Also, just yesterday, I saw that exact Drexel Chinoiserie China Cabinet at a local Habitat For Humanity store for $500. It is gorgeous in person, and I just stood there and stared at it! And I thought of you when I saw it, of course! It is at the Delaware, Ohio store, in case any of your readers are interested and close.

    1. Hi Holly,

      Well Geepers! One time is a coincidence, but twice is crazy! How many of these old Drexel cabinets are there out there? and $200 and now $500! Of course, part of the price is the condition of the piece. And also if it’s local, what the market will bear in that area. But great find and I love that the money goes to charity.

      1. I have loved my mother’s DH chonoiserie cabinet for years now, same one as in your photo! Now she gave it to me and I am trying to fit it into my already stuffed home before my better half tries to haul it away. He has a point bc I already have several vintage cabinets that I cannot sell, so they live in my master bath and office, and other not so usual spots! I have tried to give a beautiful burled wood one away, to friends, family, and strangers too but not many people seem to want antique china cabinets – and I cannot bring myself to paint the burled wood, it is simply gorgeous. Would love to see some more love for these golden oldies! Heartened that a few others here are taken with the DH beauty! Love this post, you are a gem.

        1. Hi Paula,

          Wait! Are you the third one to own this cabinet?

          Well… it looks like you may need a larger home to accommodate all of the beautiful cabinets. I have a feeling that one won’t fly with the husband though.

  28. Hi Laurel,

    I was so excited to see your number 15! I bought that very same china cabinet for $200.00! (Cleveland Craigslist) My grown children want me to paint it!

    I just love all of the advice you give and have made it my job in life to take away as many ideas as I possible can, because You really rock it!!!

    1. Hi Sondra,

      TWO HUNDRED BUCKS! WOW, that’s amazing! But that’s Craig’s List. There are some incredible bargains to be found there.

      Paint it? Oh dear. Never! The only thing I would ever think of is to antique it ever so slightly. Thanks so much for your sweet note!

  29. Laurel,
    This was the very best post I have EVER read on any of the (too many) blogs I read!!! You have shown us how to have a beautiful home even if you are on a budget!!

    I guess Safavieh is the key 🙂

    1. Hi Maggie,

      Thank you so much! It appears that this post is bringing out both the best (kind folks like you) and the not-so-best. lol

      Safavieh is a very clever retailer in that they saw the handwriting on the wall and realized that they were missing out on a huge chunk of the market-place that couldn’t keep up with the rapid inflation of high-end furniture.

      Years ago, I used to do a lot of Milling Road (the hipper, more casual far more affordable branch of Baker furniture) pieces– particularly their end tables and I also did the chest I have for a client or two.

      Well… that chest went from being about $1,700 to $3,700 in a span of a few years and was no longer within the reach of most of my clients. Same with the end tables.

  30. Yikes !
    So pretensous !!
    Looks like the 80s
    “Here’s to the lady’s who,? Oh yes lunch..
    Nah nah

    1. Gail, are you trying to say “pretentious?”

      Not sure I understand your ladies who lunch analogy. That sounds like a dig. I’m sure that you didn’t mean it that way.

  31. Excellent post! I’m completely obsessed with Sikes’ work. It’s so elegant and sophisticated, but also casual and comfortable looking. I’ve looked at the photos in his portfolio more times than I can count, and his book is gorgeous. Really enjoyed your take on getting a taste of his style for less.

    1. Thanks so much Melissa. My fear is that some would say “oh, that’s not like Mark’s work.” No, it’s put through Laurel’s filter and is also limited as to what I can find that’s considerably less money.

      and too, there is something in between a $10,000 sofa and a $2,000 (or less) sofa. But even a lower high-end sofa, like a Lee or CR Laine is going to be at least 4k and that is a big chunk for a lot of folks too.

  32. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve searched google for “Mark Sikes look for less” (not much comes up, by the way). I love his style, but as you said, I will never come close to being able to afford the real deal. Thanks for another great post! I get excited every time one shows up in my inbox.

    1. Hi Lauren,

      Well, that’s good to know from a search engine standpoint. I very rarely look at that even though I’m supposed to. I try to write mostly what I think my readers are interested in and I love this too because I’m in the same boat.

      I can’t afford to hire myself! haha

  33. Laurel-
    I love this post! And would love to see you do more designers spin offs.

    As it is Spring (finally!) and we are all thinking about our outside space- how about a patio and/or garden designer spin off?
    LOVE your blog.
    Thanks for all you do.

    1. Hi Sally,

      That is a great idea! I think that one did cross my mind at some point. When I was taking clients, a few of them didn’t realize that I can get them outdoor furniture too. And these days, there’s a lot of wonderful furniture for outside.

      But I’ll take what Mark has. It’s sublime, but then all of his stuff is!

  34. You are such a treasure, Laurel! I just can’t thank you enough for helping me spend money( wisely):-)
    Previously, you had mentioned a company called Terrain,and there,I found the perfect pure indigo linen throw for just $100.You don’t know how long I had been looking for just such a throw!It’s very good quality, and the color is just perfect.
    I’m also awaiting my Amazon copy of Mark Sites book, so it was fun to play along with you..did you see the armoire on Chairish? Also Drexel, and also dirt cheap, and also in Perkasie, Pa.I’ve bought furniture through ebay from this company and can highly recommend them.
    Lastly- the pillow source you suggested is fabulous! The prices are so fabulous and I am sorely tempted..again..
    Have a wonderful Sunday.xoxo

    1. Hi Dolores,

      Oh my no, I did not see that one. The one here is also from Chairish, I should’ve put that in the link. I’ll go change that now. That is such a fabulous source for vintage furniture. And I love the one that you found too!

      Some people duly note that shipping will kill you. Well, that’s right. Welcome to my world. Or rather, my old world. Shipping anything and getting it into your home (not the end of your driveway–maybe) is very expensive. I’ll never forget a few years ago having to spend $400 to have a $350 mirror shipped from the West Coast. The size – 30 x 50 and it wasn’t particularly heavy.

      So glad that you found your perfect throw on Terrain too. Love that source! It’s fun just to poke around because it’s such a beautiful site!

  35. I’m a new subscriber.

    Darling, how about a bit less gush and a bit more real decorating info?

    Go back and read your last few posts to new people. Using a gushy-gooshy and girlie-worrely drippy darling mindset, you’ll hear what I’m saying.

    Not criticizing you, but the reason I signed up was that I heard intelligence in designs from you, but sorely am missing that now.

    Thank you,

    1. Hi Mrry W.

      I have no idea what gushy-gooshy-girlie-worrely-drippy darling mindset means. But at 61, not sure it’s going to change much.

      I feel badly that my words are upsetting you, Mrry W. If I were in your shoes, I’d probably unsubscribe. No one is holding a gun to your head to read these posts, I’m presuming.

      1. Ironically, Laurel, I find that your blog has more real decorating tips than any other decorating blog I’ve read, and I’m an avid reader of decorating blogs. You share real-life advice and stories from your years in the business. You not only tell us with words, but show us with photo examples.

        As a former blogger myself, I know how much time goes into typing and editing blog posts, but also researching photos and sourcing photos.

        Yes, you can get silly sometimes, like your gushing over the adorable Nate Berkus. But IMO the scales tip much further into the serious advice and information sharing. Keep up the good work!

  36. Laurel,
    You are a gem and can’t thank you enough for all the great decorating advice.
    I do, however, have a paint dilemma that I don’t think you have addressed previously. . . . My living room is located in the center of the house and is next to the kitchen, dining room and a set of french doors leading to a sunroom. In other words, the living room portion has no direct sunlight and that’s my problem. It’s a little on the dark side during the day. All the other rooms have plenty of light. My plan was to do an off-white in this entire area to lighten everything up, mainly the living room. However, the off-whites seem to go to the tan or gray side at the living room end. Should I abandon that idea and say “it is what it is” and just go with a warm color scheme instead? I really had my heart set on doing the whole house in off whites and creams (that don’t turn yellow). I am using cotton ball for the trim color.
    Any help would be appreciated.
    Thank you, Laurel.
    Sheila Green

    1. Hi Sheila,

      I wish I could help but I’m not there to see what’s going on. My best advice would be to seek out the help of a color specialist or interior designer that’s good with color to help you come up with a plan.

      There is so, so much more to this than just the wall color.

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Hi, I’m Laurel, and Laurel Home is the website and blog for Laurel Bern Interiors.
I’ve been creating new-traditional interiors since 1988. The blog is where I share all.

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