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My Design Chat Takeaways on the Podcast Wives Winedown Wednesday

I recently appeared as a guest on the podcast Wives Winedown Wednesday to share the latest home interior trends and decorating tips and tricks. To listen to the full podcast, available on SoundCloud, click below:

While sipping wine with hosts Angela Bell Deems, Mitzi Hoag, and Lauren Graham White, the ladies wanted to hear about the basic direction home style is headed.

Me, Karen LeBlanc, Design Journalist, aka The Design Tourist, with the hosts of the Wives Winedown Wednesday Podcast
Me, Karen LeBlanc, Design Journalist, aka The Design Tourist, with the hosts of the Wives Winedown Wednesday Podcast, Angela Bell Deems, Mitzi Hoag, and Lauren Graham White

Here are the top takeaways from my Podcast design chat:

Making It Personal is the Predominant Style in Living Spaces:


The latest looks are all about personality and authenticity rather than copycat styles torn from the glossy pages of shelter magazines.  The overarching trend in home decor is more of an anti-trend— it’s all about creating spaces that tell your story through thoughtfully collected and curated elements and objects rather than meaningless stuff. Fill your home with possessions that have backstories which give them beauty and value that supersede any price tag. 

Stylish-ISH is the Design Mantra:

BySwans Dining Room Pantone Color of the Year 2018 1

As people seek to personalize their living spaces, there is a lot of design-hacking going on, this riff on established styles. I call this home decor movement “Stylish-ISH” adding a dose of “ishness” that customizes the standard style lexicon: Think “Modern-ISH, Industrial-ISH, Retro-ISH and Traditional-ISH and you get the idea. Modern-ISH is sleekness softened with natural materials and textures. 

CMM 1182aPhotobyFrancisco Companioni @Compafoto

Retro-ISH brings in vintage elements in a modern-day setting creating a space that hints at nostalgia without looking like a museum exhibit. 


Industrial-ISH style takes on a softer, lighter look striking a balance between machination and sophistication with knurled detailing, warm metals, especially rose gold and copper, and glass elements.

Buster and Punch Handle brass Mallinson 4

My Decorating Formula:

DSC02393 2
The family room in my personal home embodies my design formula

I also wanted to share with you my formula for decorating rooms: Texture + Color + Metallic+ Organic =Timeless Decor. I think every room should speak to the senses with fabrics pleasing to the touch, plants that ground us in nature, metallic accents to bounce light and brighten the space and natural materials such as wood or stone for timeless appeal.

Deep Thoughts on Design:

BySwans Bar II Pantone Color of the Year 2018

As we embrace the idea of our living space as an autobiographical statement rather than a style with no substance, we are drawn to products, materials and objects that tell our story through craftsmanship and traditional artisan techniques rather than mass production. This emphasis on handmade, limited edition pieces circles back to our desire to personalize our homes rather than that “keep up with the Joneses”  look so pervasive in the 90s and early 2000s. As I said in the podcast, it’s an exciting time to design and create because there are no rules.” If it speaks to you, then it has style no matter how cray-cray others may say:

Sasha Bikoff photo credit Nickolas Sargent 3
2018 © Nickolas Sargent Photography

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Picture of Karen LeBlanc

Karen LeBlanc

Karen LeBlanc is a freelance writer living in Orlando, Florida with many published bylines in magazines, newspapers, and multimedia sites. As a professional lifestyle writer, Karen specializes in art, architecture, design, home interiors and personality profiles. Karen is the writer, producer and host of the streaming series, The Design Tourist ( that brings viewers a global dose of design inspiration with episodes featuring the latest looks and trends from the world’s premiere design events and shows. She also publishes a quarterly magazine on design travel that you can read by clicking the link: Her journalism background includes seven years on-air experience as a TV news reporter and anchor covering a range of issues from education to politics. Her educational credentials include a Master of Arts in Mass Communications from Northeast Louisiana University and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Louisiana State University. Throughout her career, Karen has written and produced dozens of documentaries and videos for educational, commercial, corporate, and governmental clients and appeared in many TV and video productions as a professional host.

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Karen LeBlanc

Karen LeBlanc is a travel host and writer with a popular travel show, The Design Tourist, and a companion lifestyle blog. As a widely published travel journalist and content creator, Karen is a member of the North American Travel Journalists Association. She also serves as the Design and Travel editor of the national lifestyle magazine, LaPalme. Karen believes that every destination has a story to tell through its local art, architecture, culture, and craft. This immersive creative exploration begins with authentic accommodations where the narrative of place unfolds through art, accessories, accouterments, furnishings, fixtures, and food. 

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