Megan Zietz grew up with a general contractor for a dad and a mom who dabbled in interior design, but she didn’t imagine herself designing interiors. The color-loving blogger who is based in New York City began her career as a costume designer and wardrobe stylist for films. Zietz started her blog TF Diaries in 2010, as a creative outlet after her first child was born and as she was taking a step back from styling. Blogging about fashion and lifestyle came naturally to her, and with her strong personal style, TF Diaries quickly came to be synonymous with bright, bold color. As Zietz continued to blog and her family continued to grow (she has three children), she began to write more about her home’s decor, which echoed the bright patterns and colors of her wardrobe. With the last two years spent at home, she’s leaned even deeper into design content and has even been commissioned to design a retail interior. “It went from being fashion with a side of decor to decor with a side of fashion,” Zietz jokes.
Here are Megan Zietz’s house rules for creating a happy, colorful home and living boldly:
Start with Color
It will come as no surprise that Zietz starts all of her designs with a palette–not an inspiration photo or a textile. “I pick a color palette first. I want my inspiration to be color – that is really where I start,” she says.
Draw Inspiration from Travel
“I designed all the rooms in my home around cities,” says Zietz. “Our living room is a nod to New Orleans, stemming from a pink brick carriage house I saw there. When we moved into our apartment where there was exposed brick, I was like, ‘We’re painting this pink!’ The kids’ room is a little Hawaii-inspired and our bedroom’s colors are drawn from a coral reef, especially with the Annie Selke bedding.”
Being Uncomfortable is GOOD
“I don’t want to look back at a room I’ve designed and think, ‘Is it too boring?’ I understand when people are afraid to pick color because it’s out of their comfort zone, but I always try to pick a color a little bit out of my comfort range.” For example, in Zietz’s living room, she considered a paler pink, but went with Clare’s Rosé Season which was more saturated–and Zietz says, “It was the right decision because it really pops.”
While you wouldn’t guess it from the photos of her home, Zietz says, “Pink was never a favorite color of mine, I’m actually more of a purple fan. But the house in New Orleans inspired me to do pink in the living room. We ended up liking it so much that we wanted it everywhere! Pink has such a good energy to it and makes anything pop. Plus, it’s happy for the kids’ room and cheers up my office since it doesn’t get much natural light. My husband says no more pink, but I know he doesn’t mean it.”
Don’t forget the fifth wall
“Everybody forgets about the fifth wall, but I love color on the ceiling,” says Zietz. ” When she first painted her ceiling eight years ago, Zietz recalled, “I wondered: Do people paint ceilings? I had no idea, but we painted ours and loved it. At first I was a little bit afraid to do it, especially the living room because it’s one big layout. But when we redid the kids’ room it was like a white blank canvas, so we decided to go for it. It helps make the room feel bigger, and packs a huge punch—especially if you do like a white wall with a painted ceiling, like [the blogger] Natalie from Home Ec. does.”
Layer rugs with abandon
“Our living room rugs matched the magenta in our old living room perfectly, but when we painted our new living room, it wasn’t exactly the right fit but we kept it anyway. Then, we layered a blue rug that was in our bedroom originally, and we ended up liking it a lot. We just got the Safety Net rug from the Kit Kemp Collection and layered that on and it worked out perfectly!”
Mixing Patterns is About Trial and Error
Zietz loves to mix patterns in her wardrobe and her home. “Usually you want your main pattern to be a bigger scale, and then the secondary patterns to be a smaller scale. Then mix and match! It’s all about trial and error. You find out very quickly which patterns do not go together and which ones you like. It should be fun and playful, especially when it’s not a permanent fixture, like pillows – just play around with pillows!”
Stripes = Swiss Army Knife Pattern
Zietz considers some patterns “neutrals” in that she feels like you can mix them with anything. “Stripes go with everything; leopard and animal prints, as well,” she says. “Plus, anything abstract is a neutral, for example, these Annie silk pillows that were inspired by butterfly wings: They look great with different patterns.”
Design is like a Marathon, not a Sprint
Despite the conventions of social media, Zietz rarely does a whole room makeover in one fell swoop. “Design is more of a marathon – not a sprint,” says Zietz. “Especially when it comes to designing a home, I feel like it’s never done.”
Give Secondhand a Second Life
“If my home could be all vintage, I’d love that,” says Zietz. “I have a lot of old pieces because I really believe in upcycling things instead of throwing them away. In terms of sustainability, I think this is important. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a vintage piece, you should try to upcycle your older pieces that you’re just tired of by adding a fresh coat of paint or new hardware.”
Consider the Long Rug
“Whenever I buy anything, I always ask myself, ‘Am I going to like this in five years?’ With fashion, I know what works for me and what my style is. But decor-wise, I’ve figured out what my taste is, but it’s still a little all over the place. Thinking ahead to the future helps me figure out what is going to last for a long period of time.”
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Involve Your Family
“We do it all together. Our kids are part of the design process for everything,” says Zietz. “They picked out everything in their room, including the colors and the bedding from the Kit Kemp collection. We want them to see everything that goes into it behind the scenes, because we want the kids to see the reality of what goes into the entire design process and like creating a home that you love.”
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