Annie Elliott of Annie Elliott Design Shares why you need drapes and “only the most important” decorating tips in her new book.
In Annie Elliott’s just released, lighthearted and conversational book, “My Neighbor Saw Me Naked and Other Reasons You Need Drapes,” the designer delves into “the most important things you need to know about decorating” your home. It’s a design guide for every level of homeowner or renter with tips on window treatments, rugs, furniture, lighting, paint color, wallpaper, art, accessories, and more.
Elliott of Annie Elliott Design trained as an art historian and worked in some of the nation’s top museums, including Philadelphia’s Museum & Library, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and the Smithsonian. Through coursework at Corcoran College of Art + Design, Elliott took her love of art and color as well as her knowledge of scale, balance and proportion and shifted to interior design. Working in Washington, DC and beyond, Elliott and her Annie Elliott Design team create refined homes that mix modern furnishings with antiques and art.
She was recently nominated for a Webby Award for her fast-growing TikTok platform where she shares her tips and tricks of the design trade, www.tiktok.com/@annieelliottdesign.
What made you decide to write a book? What was your inspiration?
The book grew out of my design blog, which I’ve written for more than 12 years. I love to write, so I started the blog with little thoughts and snippits and graduated to posts that I thought people would find helpful. Advice, best of…things like that.
In a way, I started to write the book for myself. “A brief treatise on decorating” was my original subtitle!
Who is your audience?
I wrote the book for anyone interested in decorating — especially if they find the process intimidating or overwhelming. I like to think, though, that anyone would find the book amusing to read, even if they’re decorating-averse.
What can readers of your book expect to learn? Or that you hope they learn?
I hope readers learn some basic information, such as the difference between nylon and wool rugs, and why white “plantation shutters” should not be your default window treatment.
More importantly, though, I hope that reading this book will give people confidence to decorate bravely. “Rules” about interior design — and the infinite number of merchandise options in the marketplace — can be so overwhelming. This book focuses on only the most important things you need to know about decorating. Then you should trust yourself to riff.
How did you narrow down the topics in the book? Which topic resonates the most with you?
I thought about my work — the homes I work on and the clients I work with — and the challenges every job presents. As different as each project is, there are commonalities. We need rugs. Paint colors (or better yet: wallpaper!). Window treatments. Etc. I thought I’d try and compile the most basic information about each of those areas and create a simplified cheat sheet for myself. Before I knew it, I’d written a handbook.
My background is in art history, so the chapter on collecting art is especially near and dear to my heart! My bottom-line piece of advice is to buy art you love. And buy big — 30″ x 20″ at a minimum.
If you had to select a few tips that everyone should remember, which ones would they be?
Oooh — there are so many! How about:
– When you’re buying dining chairs, watch the height of the arms. You want to make sure you can push the chairs under the table.
– The ideal level of warmth for light bulbs is 2700 lumens.
– Cut yourself some slack about clutter in your front hall. I offer some storage solutions, but there’s only so much you can do.