Home Decorating Denise Enright’s House Rules: 11 Inspiring Lessons To Live By

Denise Enright’s House Rules: 11 Inspiring Lessons To Live By

You won’t find Denise Enright on Instagram, Facebook, or heaven forbid, TikTok. The Connecticut-based designer runs a strictly word of mouth practice, working with clients like This Old House magazine, who relies on her to transform the interiors of their annual Idea Houses into inspirational spaces.

For the magazine’s 2020 showhouse, located on Cape Cod, Enright created fresh and modern interiors catering to youthful homeowners intending to use the home’s attached apartment as an income-generating rental (smart!)

Enright, whose interiors feel of-the-moment and packed with ideas, says she doesn’t have a signature look; rather her clients come to her to show their personal style. Enright starts her designs with the homeowners’ tastes and that architecture of the house; though she confesses that she personally leans more clean, transitional.

“I try to pull my clients out of their routines and habits, and show them things they wouldn’t find on their own,” she says.

In the latest installment of House Rules, Enright shares her tips for how to make the most of your own home:

Once I have my inspiration pieces and have defined the story of the home, I come up with a palette that will be used throughout the house – including the outdoor rooms. I try to balance out: In some rooms I use certain colors as the focal point and in some it’s more subtle. You should get a preview of what’s inside from the front door.




I use accent walls in different ways. Here, the Prussian Blue (CW-625) wall in the apartment’s living room makes the space feel bigger. It draws your eye to the spaciousness of that huge vaulted ceiling in a very small room. In the basement she shed, the Green Umber (CW-460) by Benjamin Moore accent wall has the opposite effect: That apple green helped bring the wall in a little bit visually. The room was such a big square box, with no architecture, but the accent wall helped make the space more intimate.




I like a warmer white. In this house, I wanted my palette to be on the warmer side, since it’s a cottage. A pure bright white can feel cooler: the whites on the nickel-gap wall (Benjamin’s Moore’s Harwood Putty (CW-5) and the linen curtains skew warm. With the coastal colors, I opted for blues that erred more towards a blue-green or a sea-glass, which are warmer shades of blue.




Because this was meant to be a house for a young couple, I want something a little Brooklyn-y. I picked black windows that are black on the inside too, which gave it an architectural, urban vibe. Then I used the black on the stair banister, the hardware, the exterior doors, and selectively throughout the main living area.

To read more on How to Decorate With Black, click here.




In the basement level space, I used two pink handwoven wool rugs to create our different areas. Then I placed the furniture accordingly to further define the separate zones. Floating the desk away from the wall also helped make the office a more interesting space.




Amazing artwork can transform a space. In the basement, the Cadillac print and the framed vintage bathing suits make the room. The fun, large-scale art really creates the she shed vibe in this somewhat boring basement. I displayed the abstract piece on an easel to give the suggestion of creative work happening down there.




In the master bedroom, I wanted to keep my walls light and neutral, so you would really focus on all the beautiful textiles in that room, like the painterly bedding and pink linen curtain panels. I did an accent wall of a really textured grasscloth to add a layer of interest and depth to the space without pulling focus from the bedding.

Samoa Pebble | Rhodes | Fiji Silver | Mykonos




In the master bedroom I didn’t want color on the walls, but it was such a big space, I felt like we needed something on the ceiling. I went for First Light (2102-70) by Benjamin Moore because I felt like it finished the room and really wrapped the space in an inviting feeling. Here, the pink curtains reinforced that feeling.




Every house needs a few unpredictable moments of fun. In the guest bedroom, I pulled the powdery blue and that yellowish-green (Greenhow Blue (CW-655) and Green Earth (CW-455) both by Benjamin Moore) from the charming, cottage-y Dash & Albert rug. But instead of putting them on the wall, I put the green on the ceiling and the blue on the woodwork. A guest bedroom is a great place to be a little whimsical—even kind of wacky—as long as it’s not jarringly so. 




I like how a stripe creates a clean, crisp direction and flow, like the runner does on the stairway in this house. The stripes in the Barbados Stripe Rug we used on the Cape House stairway kept the look tailored yet coastal.




I use linen for drapery, bedding, and accent pillows because it’s sophisticated and casual at the same time. I love wool rugs because they are sturdy, yet soft and organic.





For more inspiration, see:

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