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Session 241: How to Get Started With Beautifying Your Home

The Therapy for Black Girls Podcast is a weekly conversation with Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, a licensed Psychologist in Atlanta, Georgia, about all things mental health, personal development, and all the small decisions we can make to become the best possible versions of ourselves.

I know that I’m not the only one fawning over the beautiful spaces seen on Apartment Therapy and HGTV. Anyone else sitting on a Pinterest board full of inspiration with zero completed projects? Well if you were looking for a sign to finally put that project in motion, this is it. Today I am joined by Interior Designer, Tiffany Thompson of Duett Interiors, for Part 1 of our January Jumpstart series. All month long we’ll be discussing steps you can take to get started with some of the goals you may be considering this year. Tiffany and I chatted about how to get started with figuring out your interior design style, small steps you can take in your space to get a big impact, some of the common mistakes people make when shopping for home goods online, and she shares some of her favorite places to shop for beautiful pieces.

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Session 241: How to Get Started With Beautifying Your Home

Dr. Joy: Hey, y'all! Thanks so much for joining me for Session 241 of the Therapy for Black Girls podcast. We'll get right into the episode after a word from our sponsors.

[SPONSORS’ MESSAGES]

Dr. Joy: Am I the only one that spends time fawning over the beautiful spaces featured on Apartment Therapy and HGTV, and then building Pinterest boards for home beautification projects that I never get to? I bet that I'm not. Well if you were looking for a sign to finally put that project in motion, this is it. Today I'm joined by Interior Designer Tiffany Thompson for part one of our January Jumpstart series. All month long, we'll be discussing steps you can take to get started with some of the goals you may be considering this year.

Tiffany is the founder of Duett Interiors, a full-service residential design firm specializing in full scale home renovation, personal room makeovers, home organization and decluttering, home styling and more. Tiffany and I chatted about how to get started with figuring out your interior design style, small steps you can take in your space to get a big impact, some of the common mistakes people make when shopping for home goods online, and she shared some of her favorite places to shop for beautiful pieces. If there's something that resonates with you while enjoying our conversation, please be sure to share it with us using the hashtag #TBGinSession. Here's our conversation.

Dr. Joy: I think the idea of decorating your home and like figuring out your style can feel really overwhelming for people. I'd love for you to just start by telling us, Tiffany, what questions can we ask ourselves to try to figure out what our decorating style might be?

Tiffany: Wow, that's such a great question. I think the way that I approach it, and where I actually just tell my clients, is really just to think about the places and the spaces that you already love to be in. And then look at what places make you feel comfortable or inspired or you’re just visually like in awe of, and use that kind of as your starting point for how you want your space to feel. Because essentially, interior design is really just an emotive feeling so you're really just trying to replicate a feeling in your household, but that's a great place to start. And I think then you just kind of like, okay, you know what you want it to feel like, you kind of write down those words and then as you start building your decor and your palettes and your color schemes and all that stuff, I think you’ll always have this kind of reference point to keep you honest.

Dr. Joy: Where do we start? You're saying talk about like where have we been before that we really enjoy? What do I want to feel like? So do you start with a color palette? Do you start with a piece of furniture? Like where would be a good place to kind of begin the process?

Tiffany: I think the thing about design is like there's no rules. Some people have like a piece of furniture that they have fallen in love with and they know that that's the sofa that they're gonna have in their house, or something was passed down, a piece of art that they know they want to focus around. I think everybody is different. You can start with a focal point and kind of build around that to really think about what's complementary to that. A lot of people like to start with mood boards, which I think if you're completely in a space where everything's brand new–you have no items of furniture, you have nothing in mind, you're just trying to figure out how do you synthesize your thoughts–a mood board is really nice.

You can do a digital mood board with Pinterest or just saving a bunch of images. Like I go around on my Instagram and anything that I see, I have a little save folder that just visually gets everything in the same place so I start to look at themes of things. Maybe I'm gearing towards a rust-colored sofa or, oh, I really like minimal colors. Sometimes when you see one image and you really like something, you don't know that there's patterns until you put a group of those images together. And then again, building a mood board is a really great place to start because it allows you to put not only visuals, but then you can start to put materials on that mood board so you can really start to think about textures. And do you want natural materials? Do you want things a little bit more hard? And you can really start to build out what your ideal space would look like. And then from there, I start to narrow down by room and then starting to narrow down by, okay, now that you have the visuals, now that you have an understanding for the feeling and what you're trying to evoke in your space, now it’s how do you do that? That's when you start to, okay, let's approach one room at a time.

It's important for me, and I tell people, when you're working, you get to that point where you already know what you want but now you're actually going after it and buying furniture, you're remodeling you’re painting, you're putting wallpaper up, really to approach each room and you don't move on to the next room until you've completed one space. A funny joke with me and my clients, we’ll say you have this large amount of money and you're decorating a whole house and then you can look around a couple of months later and you're like, okay, my credit card says that I spent this amount but when I look around, everything still feels incomplete. And that can be really something that can deter a lot of people from completing, whatever completion looks like for their project, so I always say figure out one room first.

What's the main room that either you're going to be entertaining a lot and that's gonna be the main place where people are interacting with your home? Or what's your safe haven? If you're like I want my bedroom (because I spend the most time there) to be that place that feels just calming and really serene, then focus on completing one space at a time before you start to just buy a bunch of things for everywhere. Because it allows you to also see, hey, now that I've completed this space, do I want to continue that same vision throughout the rest of the home or do I want to deter from that slightly and do something a little bit different? Where it's okay to have a couple of different moods going on in different spaces, as long as it feels cohesive.

Dr. Joy: Got it. What are some of the questions that you ask your clients or potential clients when you're trying to help them figure out their styles?

Tiffany: I always start with; how do you want it to feel? And then they ask, what do you mean how do I want it to feel? And I'm like, how do you want your space to feel? Just really think about it. I want you to take some time thinking about the spaces that you've been in, thinking about where your family loves to vacation. What's that place if you're the most stressed out you've ever been, where's that place that you go? And then again, what are the themes for that place that that gives you? When you walk into a St. Regis Hotel, you feel luxurious. Everything just feels super elevated and it feels like you're on this really high-end type of vacation. It feels like you can actually separate from your normal activities. If that's the feeling that you get when you're in those spaces, why can't we replicate that in your home? Hotels and all these destinations don't just have to be something that we experience when we have the ability to get away, it should be something that you feel and experience every single day and you can do that in your house.

Dr. Joy: What are some of the personalizations that we might be able to do to really make our spaces stand out and feel unique to us?

Tiffany: Oh, I love that question. My first thing is art. If I had to relate it back to an analogy, it's kind of like when you have a good plate of food but it's just missing that something, you're like, oh, it just feels like it's missing... And you put that like extra seasoning on top or it has that little thing that takes it over the edge, I think art has the ability to do that. Art is such a conversational piece in a room, I believe it's a staple. I think that a lot of people often forget about the vertical space in a room.

We look at the room and we say I have to fill this space with items, but then when you actually look at your direct eyesight, it's like what am I actually putting on the walls that's gonna complement who I am as a person? Or the things that matter to me or, even again, start to stimulate some of the conversations that you want your guests to have in your space. So I think art is super important. And when I talk about art, it's not just high price point art or rare art. Art is anything that you feel like can kind of work within that space. It can be things that you've created, it can be things that are passed down. It can be just anything that you feel like, artistically and creatively, can bring the room together and really take that emotion to the top, so I think that's important.

I think the second thing is paint. You hear this kind of often but paint is the quickest and the simplest way to transform a space. And it's I think what renters are able to do, so regardless if you own your home or if you don't, but it's an easy and quick fix to really personalize a space. And it's temporary. You can always change out a color, you can always, just again, transforming the color within the hues of colors can even change how you interact with that space and how everything else in that space interacts with that wall color. And I think a really fun thing that's happening right now is like wallpaper is having its resurgence.

Yeah, so like back in the day, grandma had wallpaper. It was super outdated and you heard some horrible things about the removal of wallpaper and how difficult it is. Wallpaper is back, I think there are so many amazing modern and contemporary brands that have some really fun temporary wallpaper, as well as a wallpaper that will live kind of for a longer period of time if you have the ownership in your property. But also, not just what kind of wallpaper you're buying, it's where you're actually placing it. People are putting wallpaper on the ceilings, they're actually creating art from the wallpaper and using it as backdrop. They're putting in photos where their art is in front of the wallpaper and it's almost acting like a mat feature. You know, they're framing out molding and creating these spaces, so wallpaper is definitely a way that you can really get creative and expressive in your home for personalization.

And it's great because if you're not the most expressive person... when I say expressive, I mean patterns and prints, maybe that's not your thing. That's not necessarily my thing but with wallpaper, what's really great is from a textural element. Again, if you really close your eyes and think about going into a hotel room, 99% of hotel rooms, they have wallpaper in them but they're just textural wallpaper. It's still in a neutral space but that texture elevates it to the next level. You can play with a lot of different textures, cement, soil cement, you can do full plaster. There are so many amazing things that you can do with wallpaper. I like to also get really creative in like smaller spaces–thinking about closets, thinking about powder bathrooms. Things that are maybe unforgotten spaces *[0:12:05], and then you can play with wallpaper in a big way, so you can get super expressive because that space is so small. Because it can be really impactful in a small space while the rest of the room can just be something that's a little bit more neutral.

Dr. Joy: Got it. What are some of the basics that you feel like people overlook when they're starting to furnish or decorate their spaces?

Tiffany: The biggest thing is scale and proportion–those are like the basics of interior design. And what I mean by that is we've all walked into somebody's house or had this issue or you bought something and it was too big for the space, right?

Dr. Joy: Yes.

Tiffany: My mom lives in New York still, so she lives in this apartment that we grew up in, and we went couch shopping. And girl, we have four couches that we bought. The first time, the couch it got there, it just was too small for the space, it just kind of didn't work. The second time, the couch was so big it couldn't even fit through the door. So I think what's really important is really thinking about proportion and scale. It's like we all have our phones, we have our phones handy and with us all the time. I actually tell people like the first thing you need to do is your foundation, which is to measure your space and put those measurements in your phone, in your Notes section on your phone. And it's super easy because it keeps you honest and it makes sure that when you go into these retail stores that have no walls... Everything always looks smaller than it actually is.

You're in IKEA or you're in Crate & Barrel and you're like, “oh, I love that couch, let me get that, that'll definitely fit in my space,” and you didn't do the proper measurements prior–you don't want to be surprised when you've waited a certain amount of time and you're excited about your couch coming and then it just doesn't fit. Take the time, take measurements, make sure things fit. If it doesn't fit and you love it, you can't get it, and that's the range of if it's too small or if it's too big. The proper proportion is really what's gonna elevate a room and make it feel like it's been completed so I think that's a huge thing of making sure you start there.

I think the other thing is just having a little bit of patience in the process. You move into a place and you want it done yesterday. I think it's important to really get to know your space and to figure out how you interact with your space and sometimes that takes a little bit of time. And that can really determine and help you alleviate some of the impulsive purchases that you might make. For example, you're at a New York City apartment and you have a space that on the floor plan is designated to be a dining room space. You're like, okay, I have to buy a dining room table. You may live in your place for three months and realize, hey, I actually don't need a small dining room table because I never actually eat here and I never really have my friends over. When they eat at my house, they eat in the living room.

Instead of making that impulsive purchase and just buying something to complete the space, if you wait, then you can determine, oh, maybe actually I'm going to convert this. Even though the floorplan says it's a dining room, I'm actually gonna make this an office and I'm gonna get a table that can support my office. Or I'm gonna make this a little bar area where my friends have a bar and then we can just hang on the living room. So taking the time to get to know your space, having a little bit of patience, which I know is hard because you're super excited about your new space and you just want to go shopping for it. But having a little patience goes a long way in making sure that you're buying pieces that you can bring with you and you can have for a long period of time.

And that's the other thing I would tell people, is really just to be thoughtful of your purchases. Be very selective, I would say, in buying items that you cannot take with you, especially if you're in a rental property. You really want to think about when you go to your next place and you buy your forever home, are these pieces... even though they might not go in the same location, your couch may be a smaller apartment-sized couch for your New York City apartment, but when you buy your forever home, that same couch can go in your office space and be just kind of a hangout spot. Really thinking about your money long term, so it's like a comparison to fast fashion versus like high-end fashion. You're really investing in quality pieces that you can have for a period of time, that you know you can just shift around once you get a bigger space.

Dr. Joy: Those are such great tips, thank you so much for that, Tiffany. More from my conversation with Tiffany after the break.

[BREAK]

Dr. Joy: As you were talking, I'm thinking about it is one thing of course to be able to like take down your measurements and go in a store and touch and feel and, you know, like how do I think this might work in my space? But now so many of us are buying these kinds of things online. Are there tips that you can offer around like buying furniture or other kinds of pieces online that maybe people are not thinking about?

Tiffany: Yes. I'm in Portland so I just want to put that out there. A lot of the retailers that are available to New York City designers or LA, Miami designers, they don't have showrooms in Portland, so a lot of the times I am potentially purchasing products for clients and for myself that I've not yet seen in person. I think it's really important, if there are samples available, always request samples. Websites like Crate & Barrel, West Elm, some of these bigger chain retailers, Restoration Hardware, they're always gonna have a set of samples that you can either order online or you can call and ask for those samples to be sent to you. When you're looking at a computer screen, the color, the texture, never reads the same as having a physical sample in front of you, so that's very, very important when purchasing online.

The second thing is read the measurements and the dimensions. Most of these websites will have a pretty detailed measurement guide and dimensions guide or they'll have a PDF that really just goes into the depths, the widths, the lengths of things. And I think that's really important, again, to make sure that you measure it out in your space. Take a piece of painter’s tape and if you're looking to buy a couch, measure out on the floor the exact measurements of something that you're thinking about and see how that fits within the space, just to make sure that you don't have that pain point of you bought it and now it doesn't work and you have to return it and then figure out another solution.

The third thing I would also say is I read reviews. I am like I’m that person. I’m that person, so there's websites like the Wayfairs, the Overstocks, that don't have physical retail stores but they're great websites for you to find deals–for you to find things that are trendy, for you to find just really quality items. I have a rule of thumb that if it doesn't have 50 reviews, I do not buy it. Period. Fifty reviews I feel like is a good scope of people to be able to determine.

Like on Amazon, most of their stuff has like 30,000 reviews and so 50 is like such a light number. But it really just allows you because, specifically on those websites like Overstock and Wayfair, they have customer images that they'll also have with the review. The customer will take a photo and say, hey, I really love this rug and it was awesome and it's amazing, it feels really good on my feet, but the color is slightly different than the product-generated photo that the website has. So you can actually see the color and my photo that I took on my iPhone. Like people are gonna be as specific as possible. If they love it, they will tell you they love it. If they hate it, they will warn you and tell you they hate it. So read the reviews, they're gonna be honest, it's gonna allow you to really get an understanding for the quality of something when you're making such an expensive purchase, especially online.

Dr. Joy: Mm hmm, great information there. I’m wondering if you can talk about some of the unexpected costs that people often don't think about when they're thinking about furniture. I don't know if you've seen these memes or conversations online where people will say like, what's an item in adulthood that costs way more than you expected? And like the answer is always rugs. Can you talk a little bit about like some of the unexpected costs that come up that we need to keep in mind?

Tiffany: Yeah, I'm gonna give you a couple of different scenarios. The first part is if you're buying something online from a major retailer, pretty much the price of what it says it is, is what it is. You're not gonna get any unexpected emails after you buy it of, hey, you owe this for shipping. But I would say this–you have to also be really mindful and ask and look and see if assembly is included. I think a lot of people think I'm gonna buy a bed from this website, and they buy the bed, and then next thing they know they get the bed and the bed is in pieces. And it's like, well, you guys are not putting it together? And then the delivery guy is like I'll put it together for you, but it's $500. That's something to really think about, is are you wanting and able to put together your furniture? Does the company offer free assembly? Again, companies like Crate & Barrel, CB2, they offer assembly for beds, so it's a great place for people to purchase furniture from because they know that it's already gonna get assembled and the cost is included in that.

Another thing to really think about is delivery fees. You get excited about something, you put it in your cart, you're getting ready to checkout and then all of a sudden, you're hit with a 200, $300 delivery fee and you don't really have the option there, you have to get the item delivered. I think that's something to consider, really understanding the product cost and then also the cost for it to get to your actual location. And that also can change based off of where you live in the US or in the world. That's if you're buying from like big furniture companies.

On my end where I'm buying things specifically either custom furniture or I'm buying vintage items or one-off items that are being made for that customer, I'm buying from websites where there's duty costs that I never knew about until I got into a situation where I got a duty bill at the end. A duty bill is something is coming from another country, it's not getting bypassed through a major retailer so you're buying it direct from the maker, from the good’s supplier. And then as it goes through customs and it goes through the different phases, you as the designer or as the client, has to pay for that bill to ship it internationally and get it through customs. That's something that people don't really talk to you about but it's something that you really should just have a slot of the percentage of whatever your budget is. Let's say your budget is $10,000 for you to furnish your apartment, have 10 to maybe 20% set aside for things like that–for assembly, for extra delivery fees, for anything that just may come up in the process that is unexpected. I think that's just like a great rule of thumb, no matter how big your budget is.

Dr. Joy: Thank you so much for that, Tiffany. You mentioned earlier on in our conversation that it does feel like there are all these terms, like boho chic and farmhouse modern and all of that stuff. If you're down, I want you to do a little exercise with us. I'm gonna give you some popular black women fictional characters and I’d love for you to tell me like what is the interior design style and what might we expect in their apartments?

Tiffany: Okay.

Dr. Joy: Okay? Issa Dee from Insecure, how would we describe her interior design style?

Tiffany: Oh my gosh, she's one of my favorite people. She’s so awkward, I think she's so quirky, but if I looked at like her fashion, because she always has like bright colors on and patterns, I think her house would definitely be like a version of boho/eccentric. But for sure she has black- owned almost everything in that house. I think all of the art in there is gonna be black artists, the books are gonna be black creators and designers. I think she's gonna definitely make sure that the storytelling comes alive through some of those accessory and pieces that kind of bring the room to life. But yeah, I would say she's definitely kind of eclectic, I can see her definitely having some vintage items and some things that were maybe passed down from friends and family, that are kind of complementing the space. And that's where that kind of like eccentric kind of vibe comes in. It's like it's gonna be functional and serve its purpose but it just may have a little bit of like warmness to it, and complementing some items that are gonna be a little bit newer. That would be kind of my thoughts.

Dr. Joy: Okay, I love that. What about Olivia Pope from Scandal?

Tiffany: Oh, she's like Restoration Hardware. Very modern, everything's expensive and cozy and she probably hired an interior designer for sure, she did not design the place herself. I feel like she lives in a high rise, and again, everything is very like sleek lines but she's got some good blankets, you know *[inaudible 0:24:42] just kind of cozy up and get her wine. She probably has a really beautiful like entertainment, like kitchen type of space. I feel like her friends come over and that's kind of their thing, so she's got some really cool glassware and stuff like that. I think really just neutral colors, very contemporary clean lines, maybe a white couch and a lot of really cozy throws and pillows for sure.

Dr. Joy: Got it. And then we have a throwback, what about Khadijah James from Living Single?

Tiffany: Oh my god, I love Khadijah! Wow, okay. Is she still in like her brownstone?

Dr. Joy: Yes.

Tiffany: Okay, she's still in her brownstone so I don't know that there's a style that defines her vibe. I think it would be like a mix of that New York aesthetic, I feel like maybe a lot of like browns, leathers, you know, she's playing with a lot of different textures. I think she would very much compliment the brownstone aesthetic and having things that are very historical and things that she's acquired through like her publication. She's probably got like a wall to wall of her cool magazine covers and stuff like that. Yeah, I think she's definitely like probably the epitome of like cozy girl vibes but she's in New York. She's got a really comfy couch and then I think a couple of like really cool pieces on the wall. She’s definitely got some good art and some good stuff on the wall.

Dr. Joy: Nice. What colors are on your radar for 2022?

Tiffany: Personally, I am definitely more of like a neutral person. I think in my main spaces, I just like things to be timeless and I don't want too much distraction going on. Again, how I play with bringing vibrancy and life into a room is through the textures. But I think 2021, I saw a lot of green, like I did a lot of green kitchens and green was like the color of the year. Every version of green, olive and a brighter green. I feel like blue is gonna kind of have like a moment. I love like really soft, powdery blues, I think that's gonna be an interesting material and color palette in spaces for big items. I feel like people are gonna want to have that color in their couches and just do something different, but I think that really soft, kind of calming blue is gonna be something that we're gonna see a lot in spaces. But blue is just a really calming color so it just creates peace and I think, just coming out of all the craziness of what we've had, I think it's just gonna be like everybody wants peaceful and calming but they don't want to be boring still. Like everybody's not gonna have a white couch, that's just not functional and that just doesn't make sense for everybody. That's what I'm thinking.

Dr. Joy: Got it. More from my conversation with Tiffany after the break.

[BREAK]

Dr. Joy: What are some of the black-owned brands in home décor, interior decorating, that you think we should be paying attention to? What might Issa be using in her apartment, or people who want to fill their homes with black-owned brands?

Tiffany: The first one that I really love is Clare Paint. Clare Paint is owned by Nicole Gibbons and it's a black-owned paint company and they just make the process so much simpler for consumers. We all know like when you go into a paint store, there's 20,000 options and once you finally do pick the color, now you have to pick the finish and it's very stressful. What she does is she just edits that down for you. She's created a smaller palette of colors of her favorite hues that have really just simple undertones to them. Even a shade of white, you know, you can have hundreds of different whites that have cooler undertones or warmer undertones. We all know it’s like choosing the wrong color can completely throw off a space, so I really like her paint company because they just make the process easier. They send you the colors, they send you these large format sample tiles that you can just throw up on the wall, they have like they’re adhesive on the back, and then you can actually visualize and see like how it's gonna look in your space. She's definitely one that I'd love.

There is a company called Linoto, and I'm like so about my linens and I've told a ton of people I think there's a quality in linen that I don't think that cotton is able to replicate. And I think once you switch to linen sheets, you just completely never want to go back because of the cooling nature of them, because of the softness. Also for me, because of the lived in nature and how it visually looks, so you don't have to have that like, oh, my bed has to be completely made up and perfect every single day. With the linen, it's a relaxed feeling, it still just looks like really cozy like you want to jump back in bed. So there's a company Linoto, and it's black-owned and he makes quality linen sheets that people can purchase. I think if you're thinking about supporting and having some accessory, I think that's a great one.

And then I definitely have to say like Duett Interiors, which is my brand, we have right now just pillows but we are launching furniture in the beginning of next year as well. And we'll create our own version of linens and my favorite like Japanese towels and what that looks like for Duett, so have a little bit of patience but definitely support us as a black-owned brand as well.

Dr. Joy: I love it, we will definitely keep our eye on that. What are some items that we should splurge on, and then what are the things that we may be able to do secondhand or like not spend as much money on to make a big impact in our spaces?

Tiffany: Perfect question. The items you should always think about splurging on are high traffic items. And when I say high traffic items, things that are getting a lot of wear and tear every single day. If I had just to look around your couch, your bed, maybe your dining table, things that you're sitting at every day and you're interacting with and you're gonna have a lot of people on them, you want to make sure you're getting quality items and you're spending a little bit more for those items. Specifically for couches, usually the price point goes up because it's depending on the type of frame that you have, the type of foam or the feathers or down that you have within the makeup of the couch, what kind of springs it has. All of these little things that go into the build of a couch can be the reason a couch lasts for a year and the reason a couch lasts for 30 years. I think that's really important. Your couch.

Your bed for sure, you're always in your bed, you want to make sure you have a really cozy quality bed. And with your bed, also a mattress. I cannot tell how many people really don't think about their mattress and how many hours you're spending on that one item. You're spending at least eight hours every single day on your mattress, so you want to make sure like that's an item that you want to splurge on. You should be able to have that mattress for the rest of your life and regardless of the size, you should be able to kind of move it into different spaces when you do get your forever home.

The thing that you asked me earlier, you mentioned this, rugs. I do not think you need to spend thousands of dollars on rugs. I would say the only exception that I would have here is if you're getting something that's vintage. If you're getting something that's like a Moroccan wool and it has like everything you’ve wanted, and you're getting it sourced from an international dealer, then yes, you're probably gonna pay a little bit more because those are also hand woven and so they are a little bit more unique and you're also paying for the process.

The only other time again that you should pay for a rug and pay a lot of money for a rug is if you have a large space and, from a proportion standpoint and scale, you need a certain size that is just not available on an everyday website. Typically on websites, you’re getting like 8' X 10's, maybe a 9' X 12', 9' X 11'. Anything smaller than that, that’s gonna be readily available for you that you should not pay thousands for. Anything bigger than that, 13' X 15's, 14' X 16's, those are high ticket items simply because of the scale and the size of them. You can find a really, really quality rug at Home Goods, like you can get one for $199.

Dr. Joy: Great tips there. You've already started sharing a little bit of the shopping list with us but are there other like stores we might be able to visit in person, as well as online stores that you find yourself frequenting or recommending a lot?

Tiffany: Definitely the big box retailers, the CB2s. World Market is a great place–if you're into kind of like boho, like botanical kind of vibes, they have some really amazing stuff there and it's a really good price point. Target. We all know that we spend a ton of money in Target, getting some home accessories, so that's a really good price point and they have some really good collaborations and quality items there. And I love West Elm. There's a place called Burke Décor which is one of my favorite online retailers, just because they have so many different items from a bunch of different places. Industry West is a really great place. They have a physical store in New York, I believe, but everything else is online. But they have some really great trend products as well as things that are just pieces you'll have forever. Article is a great store that just offers really quality pieces for a great price.

And then if you're in New York, the possibilities are endless. There's a place called France&Son, and France&Son is well known for having replicas because they're really paying homage and inspiration to some of the high-ticket items and designed items. But they have some really quality pieces for a fraction of the cost, so France&Son is a great place and I think they have 100,000 items on their website that you can filter through and go through. Another place is Castlerly and they are also based in New York. They're a little bit more limited in the amount of colors that they offer, but they have really quality couches and sideboards and entertainment centers, made from real wood. And again, they are at really approachable price points.

And then if you are wanting to spend a little more or you have a little bit more disposable income for some of the items and you're looking for something a little bit more unique, one of my favorite websites is 1stDibs and Chairish. Essentially what they are is they are an online retailer that really sources creators and makers that are independent and making their own product from across the globe, as well as vintage suppliers and makers. You can get some one-off pieces, you can customize pieces. Those are where I go when I need something really unique for clients, I want standout pieces, that's where I always go. Like that's the first place I usually shop and then I try to figure out, from a price point standpoint, do I need to go somewhere else to get a version of that that still creates a moment without having to splurge at that price point.

Dr. Joy: Oh, so many goodies, Tiffany. Thank you sharing all of these.

Tiffany: I have one more, actually. Sorry, I just remembered there's one more, last one. EQ3. Great, great, great, like I got my bed from there, a great website. Also, really great customer service. I cannot stress enough that a lot of the times, a lot of the same product is available on a lot of different websites. Some places just source from a lot of the same manufacturers but the quality of customer service is going to be the reason that I shop at a place or I don't shop at a place. EQ3 is really great just because they take care of you, they're really up to date on like the timelines of when things are going to come and the quality of the items. They'll return something. That's important to me as well so sometimes I'll sacrifice on price point or seeing something in person, just because I know that maybe a website is gonna provide a high level of quality service. And EQ3 has stores in New York and San Francisco and a couple of different places around the country.

Dr. Joy: Got it. Are there other tools? You already mentioned Pinterest for like trying to get a mood board together. Are there other tools or resources that you would suggest for people who are trying to like figure out their style or managing the different pieces that they're trying to put together?

Tiffany: Yeah, the first thing is definitely Pinterest, you guys should follow me on Pinterest, it's @ThePlantMami. Because I save a lot of really crazy things on there that are just kind of like a visual mood board in one place. That's important. Also books, like I have so many design books and I'll just go in and take pictures of things or I'll take like photocopies. I think that's important, it’s like the old school method of going through magazines and going through books and seeing things. Magazines is gonna be your latest and greatest, so you're gonna be able to get trends from there and see what's actually happening in different homes around the world. And then the books are gonna be almost like a pass from history, so you're gonna get the historical context of, you know, where some of these designs came from or different makers that have been around that people are now circling back to and becoming popular.

I feel like a mix of those things. Like it's just nice to be able to physically put up a mood board to see things, and again, not just seeing it in a digital form, I think is important. Again, using your Instagram as a mood board, and I mean that by who you follow. I think if you're inspired by different Instagram handles or magazines and websites, follow them on your feed so you can start to see some of that stuff on your feed and just start saving it. There is a save feature, save it into a little folder that is whatever the inspiration you're gonna try to go for. It's just nice to see things on a daily basis and you start clicking around and you start to figure out, oh, I like this person but they follow this other person and now I'm super into their work. And it also allows for me to be able to support a lot of independent makers, so ceramicists and artists and people that are just making really cool goods, I find a lot on Instagram. And when you find them early, you're getting them usually at pretty approachable prices–you can get really unique things that can separate your household and you can also support a small business.

Dr. Joy: Love that. Thank you so much for that, Tiffany. Where can we keep up with all of the incredible work that you're doing, and continue to support you once your line comes out? What’s your website, as well as your social media handles?

Tiffany: Thank you for the kind words. You can go to www.DuettInteriors.com or you guys can follow me on Instagram @ThePlantMami or Pinterest @ThePlantMami. I'm pretty active on my social media, send me a message. I send things all the time, people send me inspiration and we kind of just have a lot of conversations. But yeah, social media is gonna be a good place to keep up with me and what I got going on. And then in the beginning of 2022, I have a TV show that's coming out with Marsai Martin on discovery+/HGTV. Once that launches, you guys can watch me on TV and kind of get some of those same design tips because we're really focusing on apartments and rental spaces and quick fixes that are really impactful in people's homes.

Dr. Joy: Oh, we love it, we will be locked in. Tiffany, this episode is a part of our January Jumpstart series. What words of encouragement do you have for folks who are listening, who want to start designing their spaces in 2022?

Tiffany: My words of encouragement would be, again, be patient with yourself. Rome wasn't built overnight. Just have a little patience in the process but enjoy the process, I think that is for me one of the most fulfilling parts. Is being able to be on the hunt and find items that nobody else has, and putting it all together, and also like leaning on your resources and your family and traditions, and things that you can acquire from homes and things that have been passed down. I think building a home and creating a safe place that feels like you and makes you inspired to go out and conquer the world should not be taken lightly, so really just enjoy the moment.

Make sure that you feel like it's representing your personality, your family, and it's creating conversations within your home with your friends and family and your guests. And have fun with it, like there's no rules to design. Be confident in your work, be confident in whatever pieces you've put together. It's supposed to be unique so everybody's not supposed to like it, it’s important that you like it. And it's important that things are the right size and scale, so make sure you measure everything first.

Dr. Joy: We love it. Thank you so much, Tiffany. I really appreciate all this incredible information.

Tiffany: You're welcome. It was so nice chatting with you guys.

Dr. Joy: Phew! Tiffany has shared all the goodies with us today. I'm so thankful she was able to join us. To find out more about her and her work, be sure to visit the show notes at TherapyFor BlackGirls.com/session241. And don't forget to text two sisters right now and encourage them to check out the episode. If you're looking for a therapist in your area, be sure to check out our therapist directory at TherapyForBlackGirls.com/directory.

And if you want to continue digging into this topic or just be in community with other sisters, come on over and join us in the Sister Circle. It's our cozy corner of the internet designed just for black women. You can join us at Community.TherapyForBlackGirls.com. Thank y’all so much for joining me again this week. I look forward to continuing this conversation with you all real soon. Take good care.