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Publication Date: 2015-12-07

Design Insights

8 Style Rules From the "First Couple" of Decorating

Trailblazing designer Bunny Williams and legendary antiquarian John Rosselli share the rooms and ideas that make life worth living.

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Photography: Melanie Acevedo

Rule #1: Offer Hospitality, Not Just a Drink. "Show, don't tell, what you're serving with a well-appointed bar. Guests feel more at home when they can help themselves." —Bunny Williams

Photography: Francesco Lagnese

Rule #2: Rethink the Centerpiece. "Look beyond flowers and vases and pluck an object from the mantel, scatter shells from afar, or display farmers' market fruits and vegetables." —Bunny Williams

Photography: Francesco Lagnese

Rule #3: For a Lively Table, Add Interesting Pieces. "Tablesettings are like guest lists: Diversity is key. Try patterned tablecloths, palm leaves as placemats, and rattan chargers for layer upon layer of interest." —Bunny Williams

Photography: Francesco Lagnese

Rule #4: Read, Share, Repeat. "Buy secondhand books by the bundle so that guests can hang on to the stories they begin, even when it's time to go." —Bunny Williams

Photography: Francesco Lagnese

Rule #5: Don't Be Precious About Special Things. "Use and enjoy your antiques and unique finds, especially in a utilitarian room like the bathroom. Keep cotton swabs in a hand-painted tin or sea-grass box; hang art that can survive a splash." —Bunny Williams

Photography: via Bunny Williams Interior Design

Rule #6: You Need One Good Piece to Anchor a Room. "For me, a mirror often does it. I have a beautiful Venetian mirror that's inlaid with tangerine-colored glass. Many of the panels are cracked, but if you're in in love, you overlook the flaws. Every time I walk in, I look at it. It's strange how good it makes me feel." —John Rosselli

Photography: Francesco Lagnese

Rule #7: Don't Wait to Live Well. "John and I used to entertain guests even when we had tiny apartments without room for a dining table. The point is: Don't put off enjoying your home and friends — today there are so many ways to live well without breaking the budget. CeCe Thompson, a 30-year- old associate in my firm, turned to catalogs, websites, and thrift shops to pull together this pretty apartment." —Bunny Williams

Photography: Max Kim-Bee

Rule #8: Your Home Begins As Soon As You Step Out of the Car. "It's not just the inside of your house that deserves stylish touches. Celebrate your arrival by rolling out the red carpet for yourself — or at least a pair of oversize planters." —Bunny Williams

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