Celebrated interior designer Bunny Williams joins the How to Decorate podcast to talk about her new outdoor collection for Ballard Designs

Hold onto your earbuds because our guest today is none other than our own design partner, author, acclaimed interior designer, and hostess extraordinaire Bunny Williams! We traveled to Bunny’s office in New York to record this special episode in her office, and she definitely did not disappoint. Bunny shares some incredible decorating tips and stories, including how she furnished her first apartment and decorating her home in the Dominican Republic. We talk about her new outdoor furniture collection La Colina, and of course she answers your decorating questions!

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • We talk about my red lipstick trial and Karen schools us in her red lipstick protocol
  • Karen’s cord control decorating triumph
  • Taryn talks about the incredible meal and incredible decor at Marcel in Atlanta
  • Her trial involves public speaking
  • Bunny tells us why she decided to do a product line with Ballard Designs
  • She tells us about how we’re all faced with the same dilemma when it comes to decorating — budget
  • Why only buying things you love is the best investment in your home
  • Her proudest achievement in her first apartment in New York
  • Her first big purchase was a good sofa, and why it’s important for everyone to buy a really good one
  • Bunny addresses the big pet question — do hers get on the furniture and what does she do about it?
  • We talk entertaining, why she’s so comfortable with it, and what corners you can cut to make it easier on yourself
  • She tells us about her home in the Dominican Republic
  • She tells us about the time her husband John wanted to veto her decor choices
  • We talk about redecorating and why it’s not necessary if you get it right the first time
  • We talk about her decorating pet peeve — furniture that’s always against the wall
  • She gives us a lesson on laying out your room
  • Hostess etiquette, especially when it comes to drinks and coasters
  • She tells us about her new outdoor furniture collection, La Colina
  • Why she never buys a chair online

Decorating Dilemmas:

Hey Ladies!

I have listened to your podcast since the beginning and I’m a huge fan! I love your how cute and fun you all are as well as the awesome budget-friendly advice you give. I have two dilemmas and I hope you can help me.

1. My husband, my two little kids and I just moved in to a new house that’s about double the size of our old one. I LOVE it for the location and general layout and I’m so excited/overwhelmed at the challenge of decorating it and making it our own. My question is, where to start? What are my must haves? Obviously I would love to go all out and decorate each room to the fullest and be done with it but that’s probably not a budget reality.

2. My house has an entry way that’s kind of tuscan texture stuccoed. The same texture goes into the living room (I’ve attached some pictures from before we moved in for your reference). I don’t hate it, but I definitely don’t love it. I guess it’s just not my style. My style is more modern, fresh and clean with pops of bright color and I’m struggling to make it fit my style. I looked in to getting it skim coated but it’s time consuming and crazy expensive. Do you think it would look good with a lighter paint color? Should I just splurge and get it done? Can I decorate around it to nudge it toward my style?

Thanks so much for your help! Keep up the excellent work.


Bunny suggests painting your walls white, don’t worry about removing the texture. Then paint the hand rails dark, maybe black, and the spindles white. 

Then, focus all of your attention on your family room first. Don’t sprinkle your decorating budget all over your house. Instead, focus on the area you’re going to spend the most time in, like your family room. Invest in a great couch, then go to thrift stores and tag sales and fill in with vintage pieces.


We have a fairly long, thin hallway with a dropped ceiling when you first walk into our home. How do you make it inviting and personalize it? We are considering a hall rug/runner but how do you know what size and how do you keep it from moving around? And how do you hang art work to help create height to counteract the drop ceiling? Is a gallery wall too much for a hallway?

How long do you hang curtains if furniture is up against them?  I want to get some of the Ballard essential panels for my master bedroom but our dresser is up against one of the windows (the dresser height is just below the bottom of the window).  Just wondering if you still have curtains go to the floor?  And if so, do you pull your furniture out a bit so the hang properly?  

Thank you!

Bunny suggests a runner that is as wide as you can fit in your hall, maybe 4 or 5 inches on each side. Make the runner as long as possible too. She also suggests painting your hallway ceilings an pale, eggshell gray, it’ll help the ceiling in your hall feel taller. A mirror is another great way to make it feel larger — as tall a mirror as you can find. 

You definitely want your curtains to touch the floor, and be sure to hang them as high as possible. Buy some rubber disks to place under the dresser so it won’t slide, and pull the dresser just a few inches away from the window.

We loved meeting Deborah who introduced herself at our VIP Grand Opening Party at our new Boston store in Natick Mall

Show Notes:

Please send in your questions so we can answer them on our next episode! And of course, please subscribe to the podcast in iTunes so you never miss and episode. Of course, you can always check back here to see new episodes, but if you subscribe, it’ll automatically download to your phone.

Happy Decorating!

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