The talent behind Studio McGee spills her design secrets.
With a thriving design business and a television show on Netflix, Shea McGee of Studio McGee is a true interior design virtuoso, which is why she’s the perfect person to launch a MasterClass. Called Design a Space You Love, McGee's design class joins a roster of celebrity-led courses, including those by Kris Jenner, Marc Jacobs, and RuPaul.
“I am so excited to be a part of such a cool company, especially as only the third interior designer to host a class. I’m always curious to learn new skills, and I love how MasterClass has bridged the gap between the student and the teacher,” McGee says. “I’ll be teaching how to design a living room that reflects your personality, which is a concept I apply with all my clients. I want it to be clear who lives in a home and what their passions are as soon as a guest walks in.”
Here are a few of McGee's best decorating tips to get you started, then join her MasterClass for the complete guide to designing a space you love.
Start With a Mood Board
One of the biggest challenges of designing any space is where to start. McGee tells me she always begins a project the same way. “I start with a mood board, deciding what overall vibe I want the space to hold. Is it calm and relaxing? Is it bright and lively? Answer those questions about the space and the rest will organically build off of that.”
Creating a mood board doesn’t have to be anything specific, it can be creating a digital or physical collage. Or simply lay out items on a table. “No matter where it lives, the point of a mood board is to collect ideas in a space that allows you to look at them cohesively.”
Use Tape to Create a Floor Plan
Laying out furniture can be a challenge, especially if you haven’t purchased it yet, but it doesn’t have to be. One of the things that McGee teaches in her class is how to arrange furniture using tape. “It doesn’t have to be fancy, or even complete. Take a roll of painter's tape and mark out the measurements of your furniture pieces on the floor of the room,” the designer explains. “This allows you to see if their footprint will fit adjacent to each other. You’ll quickly see that one piece is too big or too small, or that angling a chair in a certain direction doesn’t help with the flow of the room.”
Introduce Some Nostalgia
McGee is a big fan of incorporating nostalgia into her work. “I love this trend because it encompasses so many different things. In a few recent projects, I’ve revisited the nostalgic trend of decorating with plates. On one of the projects, Millcreek Cottage Remodel, seen on our Netflix show, Dream Home Makeover, I hung vintage plates across the dining room wall,” the designer explains. “In our first-ever Studio McGee-designed spec home outside Park City, Utah, I incorporated a plate rack in the kitchen/pantry. I love how this allows us to display some of the china we’ve collected in a new, fresh way.”
Stick With Timeless Materials
Still, one of the biggest problems with home design trends is that you end up investing in pieces that may go out of style faster than you anticipated, which can make a home look dated. To create a look that will stand the test of time, McGee recommends choosing quality materials. “Trends will come and go but the time-honored quality of materials like marble, limestone, and linen will stick around in various forms.”
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