Walk into any space decorated by Isabel Ladd, and you’ll immediately understand why her top three home design philosophies are:
More is more; less is a bore.
Beige is NOT a color.
And, above all, mix don’t match.
The balance of hues, textures, finishes, and fixtures is pure eye candy. Ladd loves a good mashup of colors and patterns. “I'm always thinking of juxtapositions. That is what revs my engine: juxtaposition. High, low, you know, opposite ends of the spectrum of things,” said Ladd. Yet, she also knows that it takes balance to pull off her “Curated Maximalist” designs. She added, “You can't just start throwing things up against the wall to see what sticks. So I create balance by bringing in wood tones, organic materials, and a lot of brown and white. Brown and white to me are such grounding colors.”
Does Your Home Feel Familiar?
When she’s designing, it’s not so much “does this go with this?” as much as “does this bring joy?” Ladd recently took her kitchen through a “glow up” with her Emerald Green Café range and painted her cabinets her favorite color du jour: marigold. Said Ladd, “My kitchen makes me feel electric. It just gives me all the feels—all the happy juju, because it's a reflection of everything that makes me happy.” Her kitchen fits her personality and her style, which meets her other home design rule that Café loves: Your home should be a reflection of you.
So much of my inspiration for the home really comes from fashion and putting together really cool combinations,and there are times where I will like an outfit so much—the way I've styled it—that I'm like, I want to make this into a room.
– Isabel Ladd
“So much of my inspiration for the home really comes from fashion and putting together really cool combinations,” said Ladd, “And there are times where I will like an outfit so much—the way I've styled it—that I'm like, I want to make this into a room.” Take that into consideration when you’re choosing your own home décor. Ask yourself: Would this fit my style? If it was part of an outfit, would I wear it?
Five Hot Tips on Decorating
Don’t be intimidated to jump in and home design your own space. Take risks. You can always change it later as your style changes. Think about what would make you happy to see on your walls every day. Then, start your plan.
To help you on your design journey, Isabel Ladd came up with five hot decorating tips to help you create your favorite space.
Tip #1 Treat Your Ceiling Like a Fifth Wall
Don’t settle for a white ceiling. “Wallpaper the ceiling, paint it a contrasting color, paint it a complementary color,” said Ladd. She’s even added art and murals to some of her ceiling designs.
Tip #2 Use Wallpaper in Unexpected Ways
“You can do so many things with wallpaper that doesn’t involve just wallpapering the walls,” Ladd said. For example, wallpaper the back of a bookshelf, wallpaper a lampshade, wallpaper the top of your desk, and cover it with glass, or line your drawers with cool wallpaper.
Tip #3 Dress Up Your Lampshades
White lampshades are boring. “You can glue trim on it. You can cover it in fabric,” said Ladd. If you’re not into DIY, at least find interesting lampshades with pleats, patterns, or interesting fabrics to top your lamps.
Tip #4 Use Your Imagination to Create Vases
“Don't be fooled by cracked containers. Just take a cheap little glass vase and plop it into the container that is leaky or cracked. And there you've got another vase,” said Ladd. Putting a small, inexpensive glass container into a basket lets you create a floral arrangement with an interesting, textured holder.
Tip #5 Layer, Layer, Layer
Layer prints on top of the wallpaper. Layer placemats over tablecloths. Layer pillows on top of your sofa. “If you find a rug that you love, but it's too small… buy it anyway because you love it, then just layer it on top of a sisal rug that is bigger, that's the right size and fills the space. By layering it, you get this shot of color and shot of pattern,” said Ladd.
CONTRIBUTORS | INTERIOR DESIGN
Isabel Ladd - Isabel Ladd Interiors
A Brazilian native, Isabel moved with her family to raise horses in Kentucky. After Fashion School, she found her footing in the thriving Los Angeles fashion world + the maximalist was born! Her work in the fashion + textile industry instilled a love of fabrics + prints, which segued into a love of interiors.