Designer hints: Don’t Karate Chop Your Pillows! with Matthew Patrick Smyth

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1. What inspires you when you begin a design scheme?

I look for a clue from the client to get inspired…. a dream room they always wanted, an object or memory of a wonderful trip they took, a favorite movie of theirs.

With a few hints and my own experiences I can bounce off from there and maybe explore and present concepts they did not know they would love.

2. What is the best accessory to complete a room?


3. The secret to styling a mantel?

Balance and simplicity is the secret when styling a mantel. Don’t overwork it…… Think about what objects you want to see that will not compete for attention with the painting or mirror above but will be of subtle interest yet hold it’s own. When you come into a room and you immediately see the items on the mantle then you have too much up there… edit!

4. Designer pet peeve? 

Karate Chopped pillows!!!!!! I am forever correcting pillows…. Karate chop the top center but then do the sides with both hands to plump it up and restore it’s form….. They look like fortune cookies with just a center

5. Without fail design hint that you have learned over your career?

Never match …. Blend!

For more information about Matthew Patrick Smyth check out

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