My Design Secrets

by Lorrie Brown featuring Jeani Ziering

This week I am happy to welcome interior designer Jeani Ziering to My Design Secrets.  Jeani is the owner and lead designer of Ziering Interiors in New York.  She has been designing interiors for residential, corporate and hospitality projects for over 20 years.  She has also has written for and edited design magazines and publishes the Dr. Decorator Series. Jeani’s projects range from sleek and modern to stately and ornate.  In her words: “I try to view the space with both my eyes and the client’s eyes. I do not dictate to my clients, but rather try to direct them into making educated choices in their decor. I want the client to view the design process as a collaboration of all of our efforts.”  To me, that is the mark of a truly good designer.  The beautiful project below was recently completed with the help of her Associate, Jennifer Huson.  She was kind enough to send the “before” photos, which really give you a feel for the transformation of the space.  She has also included some great tips that you can follow for your own project.





The design objective of this project was to create a space for a young woman still living at home but soon leaving for college.  She wanted a look that would be feminine but hip, modern and classy.  Her parents wanted to spend their money on classics rather than on trendy throw away chic.  The challenge was to create a look that would not go out of style and that would be welcoming to this young lady on her visits home.  In order to achieve these goals we decided to create a room that pops with color and glamour.  We combined the shimmer of lacquer-finished furniture, mirrored dressing table and mirrored accents, and colorful geometric fabrics to create a room that is vibrant and exciting.

Ideas that can be easily adapted to your home:

  • Upholstered headboards make a great design statement.  They are ultra comfortable and give lots of visual impact to the bed wall.  They are also easy to reupholster when you want to change the look of your decor.  The headboard shown here has an upholstered border in a solid fabric and an inset panel in a printed polka dot fabric.  We thought that this kept the look of the room from getting too serious for its young occupant.  As she gets older, she can easily replace the polka dots with another print and get an entirely different look.

  • A touch of mirror for a touch of glamour. Mirrored furniture pieces are a great way to “glam” a space.  The mirrored dressing table is mixed with a vintage Lucite chair for a fun place to put on makeup.  The hand painted mirror above the table adds a touch of color.

  • Paint is primary.  When we first saw this room it was painted a dingy white.  The beautiful moldings were invisible because they were painted the same color as the walls.  We decided to highlight the moldings and to make the wall panels a focal point of the space.  We put pale green grass cloth wallpaper into the panels, contrast painted the moldings in white, and used a pale blue on the flat portion of the wall.  The ceiling was then painted yellow.  The excitement of the yellow contrast with the cool wall colors and makes the room feel happy and bright.  Ceilings are usually the forgotten surface of a room.  Painting or papering a ceiling gives a space instant pizazz.  Use high gloss paint to make classic furniture look young and exciting. The bombe-curved night tables are given a coat of white lacquer paint to give a classic style a fresh young look.  Lime green paint gives drama to a classic chair in front of the brightly colored plaid silk curtains.

  • Bathroom

    The bathroom is en-suite with the bedroom.  The concept here was to maintain a smooth flow with the bedroom concept and colors.  Again the look is “glam” and combines the feeling of modern and young with timeless and classic.  Mini mosaic glass tiles wrap the walls and floor.  The geometric pattern theme of the bedroom is repeated in the glass tile checkerboard border around the space.  The “glam” looking mirrored vanity and wall-hung mirror provide a feeling of space enlarging depth and hide very useful storage.  The black granite top on the vanity provides durability.

    When doing a bathroom you must remember to:

    • Use durable counter top materials.

    • Try to accommodate storage.

    • Select flooring materials that are somewhat skid proof.  Mini mosaic tiles are good for this because the grout in the joints provides a skid free surface.  It is also important to remember this when selecting materials for shower floors.

    • Remember your basics — lighting, toilet paper holder, towel bars, robe hooks.  Bathrooms must look good but they must also function and work well.