Home Tips from Interior Designer James Huniford

Home Tips from Interior Designer James Huniford

Max Kim-Bee /Otto “I like to make homes for people,” interior designer James Huniford says.

james huniford design

Max Kim-Bee /Otto

“I like to make homes for people,” interior designer James Huniford says. “Not stage sets. I don’t look for ‘three ways to add a punch factor,’ but rather how can I make each room match how my clients want to live.” After rounding out a year where our homes have pulled double and even triple-duty, many of us are ready to overhaul everything. And Huniford, who goes by Ford, has gained a devoted following by his ability to reconfigure a space, whether it is transforming a dining room into an elevated reading nook by day or creating an eating area in the living room so that its owners can gaze out onto the cityscape at night. In his new book, James Huniford at Home, he outlines his tricks for creating a beautifully curated, but practical space, room by room. We asked him to make a cheat sheet for T&C readers with some of his best tips, below.

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Watch the Windows

“Space-planning is really important. For example, in a West Village apartment we put the living room hub near the kitchen area and then put the dining table in front of the window, which opened up the room in a whole new way.”

Accessories Can Go a Long Way

“Simple things can immediately change the look and feel of how you live. For example, I love finding interesting vases rather than clear ones, like a wicker basket (you can slip a glass vase or bowl inside) or 1950s pottery. An unusual vase can make a bunch of carnations beautiful.”

Look for Moments, Not Trends

“I have never been a big fan of trends—that is something in the design world that should be re-evaluated. I love moments. You don’t need to make a blueprint of something you saw on Pinterest. Pick things that you are drawn to, whether that is plates from Ikea or a tablecloth from the South of France.”

Keep Seating Varied

“The standard go-to in the living room is to fill it with seating, but if you have too many sitting areas then the room feels intimidating. Add in a desk or table to make it more relaxed and functional.”

Multipurpose is Key

“Families have multiple things going on in their lives, so you have find the opportunities to create rooms beyond just the floorplan. Also, improve the flow by opening up your rooms from one to another, by widening or shifting doorways if you can.”

Decorate for Your Real Life

“The dining room doesn’t need to be so formal for everyday living— it is not realistic to set it up like you are anticipating 12 people for dinner. I like a table for four with a leaf, so it can expand as needed, and then pairing it with a settee or sofa so that it can be enjoyed all the time.”

James Huniford: At Home

The Monacelli Press


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