Kirsten Krason’s Rules

From the 6th Street Design School founder, five principles for creating colorful, personal rooms.

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Declaring simply, “I like pattern; I like color,” interior designer Kirsten Krason doesn’t limit herself to one particular design aesthetic. The Salt Lake-based decorator’s popular blog, 6th Street Design School, showcases her versatility via photos of chic client-commissioned projects, on-trend DIY ideas, and bold looks from her own home. But if there’s one common thread running through her work, it’s that even the most eclectic looks feel thoughtfully put-together.

We asked Kirsten, whose Colorful Notions Collection appeared on Joss & Main February 19, to distill some of her sweet, sophisticated sensibility into five suggestions for crafting your own signature space.


Balance bold, splashy accents with fresh, clean canvases.

Clearly not a fan of featureless décor, Kirsten has mastered the art of using colorful statement pieces in a balanced way. Her secret: “I like to have lots of places for your eye to rest. Otherwise, with my designs, your attention gets pulled in too many places. For instance, I keep a white coffee table with plenty of blank space in the middle of my living room.”

Crisp neutral bedding is another key element for this designer. “It’s best to add a pop color with contrasting throw pillows or a duvet with an embroidered edge,” she says. For chairs and sofas, “I like to stick with mostly neutrals and play it up with pillows and throws,” Kirsten explains. This way the larger pieces don’t compete with one another or create a look that’s too busy.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t indulge in that ikat club chair you’ve had your eye on: Get it, but let it stand alone. The same goes for curtains and drapes. Against clean, white walls, “[they’re] a great way to give definition and punch to a space. The bigger the pattern the better,” the designer shares. “Otherwise the motif gets lost in the folds and pleats.”

 

Pair florals and geometrics.

“I love the look of a modern or retro geometric print with a classic oversized floral,” the decorator proclaims. Paired up, the contrasting styles make for a rich and studied look. Pillows and cushions are a great, easy way to liven up décor, but consider experimenting with rugs and drapes as well, which can take a room to the next level, she says.

Mix up your look.

“Growing up with big, matched sets in the living room and dining room, I know how they can suck the style out of a space,” Kirsten recalls. “I never buy matched dining suites for my clients,” she says. A natural-grain, pickled-oak table makes a gorgeous complement to simple Parsons chairs upholstered in a bold patterned fabric. In the same vein, mixing styles for a sitting area creates interest. Source various pieces from different lines and designers, the stylist suggests, to avoid the “model home effect.” And you needn’t buy everything at once, she notes: “Don’t be afraid to leave a space unfinished; wait for the perfect piece.”

Hang daring wallpaper in an intimate space.

Smaller spaces can be a challenge to furnish, as casegoods and accents can easily overwhelm the room’s scale. Printed wallcoverings can be just the right solution for adding boldness without eating up the airspace: A classic toile in a front hall or a vibrant Greek-key pattern in the dining room can add rich, statement-making depth, especially when there’s precious little space for other accents.

Practice curating.

When settling on your personal style, “it’s really important to edit and restrain yourself when you’re buying,” the stylist recommends. “Keep an eye out for what you’re constantly drawn to—you might be trying to create an English-country aesthetic, but if you keep going back to something beachy and coastal-chic, that’s what you’re going to be most comfortable in.”

–Dustin Henderson