Deconstructing Mark D. Sikes Brilliant Interior Designs



So, this is the post I was supposed to have for you on Tuesday/Wednesday, but that didn’t happen.


I began it last Sunday 30,000 feet up in the air, on my way to San Diego.

However, my regulation Apple Macbook charger was so loose in the bloated socket that the only way it would stay IN the outlet was if I bent over and held it in place. haha.

I’m so glad so many of you have been enjoying the last two color posts, before the loft renovation in San Diego post.

Both are a heavy reworking of posts from SIX years ago! You can see the monochromatic color scheme post here.

And, the analogous color scheme post here.

I featured a lot of rooms by one of my all-time favorite interior designers, Mark D. Sikes.


And, in my post, I said that his rooms are like a text book in how to decorate a room.


And, then we got this comment from Val.


I’d love to read about warm and cool mix. I’m so interested, can’t wait. Mark D. Sikes is so nuanced. He is the professor of color and subtle patterns. And, timeless and serene, layers etc. I will never tire of reading about his decorating tricks and formulas.

He is so great that I never can deconstruct his work by easy digestible chunks of tricks alone on my own. Only a strong decorator can do this.

Thank you Laurel. I vote all day for your blog.


Well, thank you so much Val, a frequent contributor to the comments. I so appreciate your support.


So, let’s get back to the idea of deconstructing the gorgeous work of Mark D. Sikes.


First of all, the very notion is audaciously presumptuous.

But, hey! When did that ever stop me? lol

And, if Mark happens to see this, I do hope that he is flattered rather than offended. I adore his work and wish I had the same ability, but I don’t.

However, Mark’s a designer for the top 1% and maybe even the top 1% of the top 1%.

In other words, he’s out of reach for the vast majority of us.

BUT, his rooms are soooo pretty; so beautifully executed.

And, so with a quickly waning battery on my five + year old macbook– [ that really needs to be replaced because my zero/parenthesis key doesn’t work half the time. And, the i key is beginning to stick, too!]


I am going to attempt to break down the elements that appear in many of his rooms, so that you can have something of a formula from which to work with.


Well, that’s the goal. Strictly speaking, I should have about 40 hours to complete that task. But, hopefully, we’ll make some headway.


In the meantime, there are two posts from a while back where I do break down his work with furniture.


The first post is how to get the MDS look for less money

And, shortly thereafter, I tackled that beautiful outdoor patio space we all adore.

However, most of the furniture in those posts from 2017 don’t exist any longer. Welcome to my world.

For this post, we’re going to examine some of my favorite Mark D. Sikes rooms so that we can recreate the look on our own.

And, before I go on… Mark’s work like most designers is ever-evolving. And, in no way am I intimating that it’s as easy as plugging in some coordinates and voila, it’ll look like Mark, himself did our room.


But, there are many elements that Mark Sikes frequently uses.


Final Selects of Hollye Jacobs Residence in Santa Barbara, CA for Santa Barbara Magazine feature to be published in 2017

Hollye Jacobs Residence in Santa Barbara, CA for Santa Barbara Magazine feature

Mark almost always mixes stripes. Here, we have a pinstripe on the walls and a variegated stripe on the chair.

Learn how to mix patterns here.


pondicherry linen print delft - Scalamandre

The sofa is out of Scalamandre’s Pondicherry Linen print in Delft



However, Mark’s blue and white rooms never feel cold. That’s because he balances out the blue with plenty of white and warm tones.


mark_d_sikes_living_room - fireplace mantel decor

Mark’s living room. But, I believe that he sold this home.





Mard D Sikes living room analogous color scheme

Mark does do colorful rooms, sometimes.


House Beautiful_Nov2016_pale master bedroom by mark d. sikes

  • He also uses lots of whites and creams
  • And, gold accents
  • He’s a master of symmetry


Amy Neunsinger photo - Mark D Sikes mixing patterns

  • He achieves tension in spaces by adding in small amounts of a color that is unexpected.
  • The rooms are beautifully styled. And, the elements are layered.
  • There’s a variety of texture from shiny to nubby.


  • Mark loves large woven baskets
  • He uses lots of decorative art prints


Mark D Sikes - southern living showhouse - gorgeous tone on tone living room - fireplace mantel decorating

  • And he likes large-ish abstract art.
  • Most rooms have one or a pair of mirrors
  • His furniture is all beautifully scaled.


So, where do we begin to deconstruct a Mark D. Sikes room?


Let’s begin with the ground up.


  • Most of Mark’s rooms have hard-wood floors in either a fairly light to medium stain.
  • He frequently layers his rugs.
  • And, almost always begin with a natural fiber rug.
  • He uses different weaves, but typically uses a jute rug. But, sometimes sisal or seagrass. These natural fiber rugs are not expensive. In addition, they’re completely timeless. You can’t ever go wrong.
  • Sometimes he uses the natural fiber rug alone, but usually it is layered with either a hand-knotted Oriental or a flat-weave rug with a striped pattern.


Of course, there are exceptions to this.


Mard D Sikes living room analogous color scheme

This is still a natural fiber rug, just with a more pronounced geometric pattern. The room also has more color than most of his rooms. However, it is the epitome of the young-traditional look in that there’s a relaxed formality.


Another view of Mark’s living room


Veneto Pumice Lynn Chalk - like Mark D. SikesBeautiful window treatments and pillows by Lynn Chalk

Above is the same fabric that Mark used on his chairs. It’s one of my favorites as well. It’s Quadrille’s Veneto. This is a different colorway.

It’s the same fabric I used in this room.


Mark D Sikes San Ysidro Cocktail Table


 San Ysidro Cocktail Table

Mark uses this handsome hunky table in a lot of his rooms. I believe that it’s manufactured by Henredon like Mark’s other furniture. I’m not sure what’s going on, but they don’t seem to be stocking it right now. There’s a note on Mark’s website that if interested, you can contact them. I put that info in the link above.


A Chinoiserie cabinet by Henredon that anchors many of Mark D. Sikes’ rooms.


Mark_D_Sikes_Hollywood_Hills_2 - chinoiserie - gracie wallpaper - blue and white chinosierie porcelain - black lacquer chest - Chinoiserie wallpaper panels

Classic Chinoiserie vignette. The wallpaper is by Gracie, another favorite source. If that’s not in your budget and you love the look, please check out this post featuring numerous Chinoiserie panels.

This is another favorite post featuring Chinoiserie mixed with Swedish Gustavian.


Beautiful Antique Chinoiserie Cabinet - The Parson

Beautiful Antique Chinoiserie Cabinet – The Parson’s Pleasure on Etsy


Mark_D_Sikes_Pacific_Palisades_pale bedroom -interior design pro

I love all of Mark’s bedrooms. Speaking of bedrooms, the Serena and Lily bed and linens sale is almost over. Great savings on all of their linens and beautiful beds!


mark d sikes - blue and white living room in Montecito via instagram

A detail shot of the room near the top of the post.


Althea-citron-Lee-Jofa-Mark D. Sikes fabric on chair

Althea citron – Lee Jofa


Above, a beautiful monochromatic living room that Mark did a few years ago for the Southern Living Idea House.


Mark uses these sources for the bulk of his fabrics.



Lee Jofa



The last three sources can be found retail, at Decorator’s Best.

I just saw that they’re having a 10% off sale on almost everything. That’s very good.


Sarah Bartholomew - blue and white - similar to Mark D. Sikes

This room looks like it could’ve been done by Mark but it’s by Sarah Bartholomew.

If you scroll back up, you’ll see a lot of similarities with the styling. I don’t know. Maybe they used the same stylist. haha.


Below I created a widget with over 80 items one might find in a Mark D. Sikes room. Of course, this is only a sampling.



I hope that you enjoyed this post.


Did we come up with a formula to a Mark D. Sikes room?


Well, no, not exactly. However, I always feel that if we study someone’s work long enough, the essence of it will rub off. Mark was influenced by designers before him. The greats like Bunny Williams, John Rosselli, Albert Hadley and Furlow Gatewood are a few who’s designs I can see in Mark’s work.

And yet Mark D. Sikes has interpreted what he learned and made it his own.

I think that we can do that too.

Or, if we’re lucky enough, we could hire him to help us create an exquisite home.

I would definitely hire him!

Thank you again for your time and support.

You guys are the best!



PS: Please check out the newly updated hot sales. Many new things to see this weekend!


  • Kate - January 21, 2020 - 11:14 AM

    Congratulations, Laurel!ReplyCancel

  • Susan Hijazi - January 21, 2020 - 8:08 AM

    Hooray Laurel,
    Congratulations, very happy for you!
    Mark D. Sykes work is not only beautiful, it’s
    inviting and relaxing.
    I’m following his instagram, beautiful images as well.
    Divertiti Laurel
    With Love from Savannah

  • Libby - January 20, 2020 - 4:16 PM

    Congratulations! A great honor and a wonderful prize. I voted 4 times. Loved the monochromatic and analogous color posts. Your makeover suggestions for the urban loft were brilliant. Beautiful suggestions in the widget to achieve that Mark Sikes look. You nailed it!ReplyCancel

  • Pam - January 20, 2020 - 1:13 PM

    Wonderful news, Laurel! Well deserved.
    And thanks for the MDS breakdown. I adore his work! He “liked” a comment of mine on Instagram the other day and I didn’t stop smiling for hours! I’m such a fan girl of you both. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Linda Stern - January 20, 2020 - 11:37 AM

    Congratulations on winning the contest.
    I loved your blog about Mark Sikes. I “read” his book several times a week. He is amazing but your blog has taught me so much and you provide so many resources and entertaining me at the same time. You are an amazing person. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • K - January 20, 2020 - 8:05 AM

    Congratulations, Laurel! You deserve to have won, and I’m so happy for you. Love everything about you xoxoReplyCancel

  • LILLIAN GRANT - January 20, 2020 - 7:44 AM


  • sandi - January 20, 2020 - 7:23 AM


  • elle - January 19, 2020 - 11:11 PM

    I love that you imagined us — your readers — filling up the Metropolitan Opera and taking notes. What a magnificent lecture hall!ReplyCancel

  • Jen - January 19, 2020 - 10:58 PM

    Congratulations!!! You deserve it not just because your content is so good, but also because it is proof in the pudding when an influencer can influence her audience to put up the votes.
    Do you think that Sikes’ style can work equally well in a more colorful scheme? I love all the objects and textures and layering in the rooms of his that you share with us. Despite being pretty full of stuff, they feel more “embracing” or replete, rather than busy or cluttered. When you pointed out how he tends to use muted or monochromatic palettes, I wondered if that is maybe how he gets it to work so beautifully and not feel overwhelming? I’d love to know your opinion on that, and whether you think his layering and textures and arrangements could also be done in a bold palette.ReplyCancel

  • Shari - January 19, 2020 - 6:30 PM

    What can I say except that I am over the moon that you won!! I’m sure it feels surreal to be winning so many of these contests, however, I (along with many others obviously) know that you deserve it because of your knowledge, your passion and your hard work! So happy for you!!!ReplyCancel

  • Sue Sims - January 19, 2020 - 4:22 PM

    Congratulations! It is so well deserved!

    Your posts are always so meaty! They are a virtual course in interior design. Your deconstructing/high-low/get-the-look posts are always some of my favorites, and give my brain a chance to just relax and enjoy watching you work.ReplyCancel

  • Denise - January 19, 2020 - 4:19 PM

    Yea — happy for your win!
    Henredon went bankrupt and out of business over a year ago. I have purchased things from their store in my area. This saddens me, as they had nice pieces.
    I love the fabric on the chair in Mark Sikes bedroom. Is it same fabric that is on chair in his living room? They look similar, but not same. Thanks.ReplyCancel

  • Gail Caryn - January 19, 2020 - 2:45 PM

    Congrats! As I’ve said before, don’t know what a mess I would have made of my renovations had I not found your blog. The depth of knowledge, generosity of sharing, and shear wealth of good taste has saved me time and time again. Disfruta la España amiga!ReplyCancel

  • susie - January 19, 2020 - 1:38 PM

    A year ago when I had to be stuck in the dreaded MRI tube for an MRI of my head and neck, I tried to keep my sanity by meditating on a mostly white bedroom done by M.Sikes…very restful.ReplyCancel

  • Deborah Main - January 19, 2020 - 1:32 PM

    Congratulations Laurel!!! Many have said it best, YOU are the #1 Influencer, and your loyal following and their comments prove that. Of course, I voted for you too every day! And I am thrilled you won. I can’t wait to see when you go to Milan so I can follow your adventures there.

    Love how you broke down Mark’s beautiful designs. I too see Bunny Williams influence in his work. On my first Designhounds blog tour, our small wonderful group of bloggers had the honor to spend an entire morning with Bunny and her husband John in their store Treillage, which, as you know, is no longer in existence.

    She is brilliant and was so very kind and supportive to us. Learning from Bunny was one of the highlights of that Modenus Tour I’ll always remember.

    Wonderful breakdown of details of Marks work and great selections to try and achieve the look.

    As always, you provide such thoughtful and valuable content to your readers. I look forward to learning more from you in 2020.

    Wishing you all the best in 2020 my fellow DesignHounds member. Well deserved recognition, congratulations!!! XoReplyCancel

  • Damon Morris - January 19, 2020 - 1:01 PM

    Laurel, I’m so pleased you won, and rightfully so! Thanks for all the interesting,informative and fun blogs!
    Looking forward to what you do this year.


  • Carrie - January 19, 2020 - 12:21 PM

    There was never any doubt that you would win! The time and effort you put in to your blog is unbelievable. Italy is at the top of my list for places to visit in the near future. Thank you again for the information you provide and the way you instill humor at the same time.


  • Susan C Davis - January 19, 2020 - 11:24 AM

    Congrats on the well-deserved win! Your’s is my favorite blog for reasons beyond your content. I admire you and am inspired by your journey. Thank you for the content as well as your humor and honesty!
    Best, SusanReplyCancel

  • Pamela Dunn - January 19, 2020 - 11:18 AM

    Well deserved Laurel! A gift you earned for all your much appreciated design help.
    Best regards,

  • Shaune Palmer - January 19, 2020 - 11:13 AM

    You mention Henredon in your post. I tried to order a Mark Sikes product in Toronto and was told they had gone out of business. Are they returning to the marketplace?ReplyCancel

  • Sharon - January 19, 2020 - 10:50 AM


    I am a faithful reader as your blog is a top favorite if not my very favorite. I realize it takes a lot of time and effort to post week after week; I wish you posted daily but realize that is not possible. So it was nice to be able to thank you by voting day after day despite the technological glitches. You deserved to win and I am so happy you did. Congratulations!ReplyCancel

  • Dmiko - January 19, 2020 - 10:50 AM

    Hooray for the win! Have a fab time in Italy. One element I notice often in Mark’s rooms are octagonal dining height tables that he drapes with fabulous fabric and loads up with accessories. I always love to play Find the Octagonal Table lolReplyCancel

  • Elle - January 19, 2020 - 9:44 AM

    So very glad to hear you won! Congratulations for sure! It was sometimes difficult to vote—I had to install a different browser because the captcha stopped work g on my regular browser. But I considered that a small inconvenience more than made up for by the great information you provide for us week after week after week. Thank you!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - January 19, 2020 - 10:37 AM

      Now that is going above and beyond. My email was blowing up yesterday with at least a couple dozen of you who were having trouble voting. And, that was just the people who bothered to let me know. So, I appreciate all the more the time and trouble some of you had to take to make sure your vote went through.

      In case some of you think I was crying wolf in the wee hours of Saturday morning, I was definitely not. Darling Angela Todd went from being about 2000 points behind me to less than 800 in only 24 hours and was showing no signs of slowing down. At that rate, she would’ve won! Fortunately, about 2000 of you came to my rescue!ReplyCancel

  • Michi - January 19, 2020 - 9:13 AM

    Congratulations Laurel! A well-deserved award. I have learned so much from your generous sharing of knowledge. You have a brilliant way of condensing information, introducing new ideas, and helping people like me make my space become a reflection of who I am. And you do it with integrity and humour. I am so happy for you!ReplyCancel

  • Mary E - January 19, 2020 - 9:00 AM

    Hi Laurel,
    Congratulations! I’m so happy you won!
    Mark Sikes is a talent. Being a big fan of anything blue &/or monochromatic I’d hire him in a heartbeat.ReplyCancel

  • Margaret - January 19, 2020 - 8:51 AM

    Well Done Laurel,

    I think JIm states it well. You are a great influencer. I would like to point out though that you not only show us images from well established and recognized designers such as Mark D. Skies, but you are always on the look out for new young designers and even feature some of your readers. It’s never boring or blah. Thank you for that.ReplyCancel

  • Pat Lanning - January 19, 2020 - 8:02 AM

    Congratulations, Laurel. You’ve worked hard and deserve every accolade. Thank you for all the knowledge of design you share.ReplyCancel

  • Ani - January 19, 2020 - 7:49 AM

    Congratulations Laurel!

    Jim’s eloquent post says it all.


  • Parnassus - January 19, 2020 - 5:36 AM

    Hello Laurel, Congratulations on winning the contest! You modestly express surprise at carrying away the contest like this, but it is completely natural. The award was for the greatest design “influencer,” which certainly describes you to a T. Who else teaches us so much about the elements of design, generously illustrating your points with photos culled from many designers’ projects.

    (Your readers are perhaps even more loyal than you realize, because Designhounds made us do those horrible and almost impossible “captcha” things each time. Usually I just click away when I come to those.)

    I think another element of Sikes’ style is his characteristic use of very interesting and high-quality accessories that catch the eye while subordinated to the room overall.

    • Laurel Bern - January 19, 2020 - 10:27 AM

      Thanks so much Jim; really, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing without all of you. What’s funny is that in the beginning months, I would write as if there was someone actually reading what I wrote. It is still difficult to conceive. But, I remember when I got up to 3,800 subscribers, some time back around May of 2015. I realized then that I could fill the Metropolitan Opera with people who subscribed to my blog. I imagined that they were all sitting there with their notepads and laughing their heads off.

      Many of you are still here. You lift me up when I’m sad and share in my joy when I’m not. I’ve learned more from y’all than I’ve taught. That one is for sure! xoReplyCancel