Heidi Caillier’s Rooms Feel Like a Warm Hug—Here’s How to Get the Look

Words by Gabrielle Savoie
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Living room designed by Heidi Caillier featuring an Apparatus Cloud 19 Chandelier. Photo courtesy of Heidi Caillier.

There’s something inexplicably comforting in a Heidi Caillier room.

The Seattle-based designer has a gift for creating spaces that feel like a warm hug. This could be why her business skyrocketed during the pandemic, when everyone’s homes became security blankets.

Maybe it’s the lumpy-bumpy sofa that looks like it’s hosted a thousand movie nights and been turned into pillow forts on a few occasions, or the floral corner lounge chair that's straight out of grandma’s house. Perhaps it’s Heidi’s adept use of vintage lighting, muted colors, and jute rugs that may as well have seen a million little feet and paws stroll across them. Whatever it is, her rooms have the x-factor the same way golden hour light feels particularly magical.

In her inaugural Showroom, Heidi unveils her time-tested expertise and signature lived-in look with rich, colorful textiles, inviting pieces you’ll want to curl up in, and styles that fuse old and new. And to help pull all her go-to pieces together, she shares her best-kept decorating secrets…

Introducing: Heidi Caillier's Showroom
Introducing: Heidi Caillier's Showroom

What makes a room feel cozy:

I'm a textile person. I'm always looking for new fabric makers and I love mixing prints, styles, and eras—think a modern coffee table with a traditional roll arm sofa or a mid-century chair with turn-of-the-century lighting. It’s those contrasts and layers that make a space feel cozy.

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Brunschwig & FilsLa Seyne Fleuri FabricSHOP NOW
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Lee JofaGhillie FabricSHOP NOW

The pieces that anchor a space:

People are afraid of having the biggest piece in the room be the statement piece. But the big piece is what makes a room feel so special. A solid sofa with a printed ottoman creates a totally different room than a printed sofa with a solid ottoman. It's all about impact. If you want rich, layered rooms that feel visually interesting, you have to be willing to have the impactful pieces be the biggest. Every single client of mine that has ever gone for the printed sofa tells me it's their favorite piece in the house.

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Lawson-FenningForster SofaSHOP NOW

What I always buy vintage:

Side tables. An old English side table with a cute little drawer is a must-have for me. I like a decorative element on my side tables. I love old artwork, coffee tables, rugs, and lighting. You could put a vintage light fixture in a room full of new furniture and it would still feel layered.

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Rose TarlowBowood TableSHOP NOW
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PRBKlase Höganäs Brown-Glazed Stoneware Table LampSHOP NOW

A no fail piece that every space needs:

A cozy armchair. I always love to include a pair of structural or architectural chairs in a living room—something that feels a little bit stronger—and then popping an ultra cozy lounge chair in a corner with an ottoman to create a little reading spot. Even a formal living room needs a comfortable chair.

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ChaddockLilac ChairSHOP NOW

How I use daybeds and ottomans:

A daybed is a nice way to add extra seating in a formal space. If you're having people over, it's conversational and becomes a nice spot to prop down and gather around. I love ottomans in more casual spaces like family rooms and dens. I don’t typically use them in living rooms where people entertain a lot because you need a hard surface to put drinks down. But I love them in cozy spaces where families watch TV, play games, hang out, and put their feet up.

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Lawson-FenningDutch Daybed XLSHOP NOW
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ChaddockLilac OttomanSHOP NOW

My go-to upholstery fabrics:

I gravitate to linen the most because prints read nicely on it and it feels a little bit cleaner. Pierre Frey has the perfect solids that feel perfectly worn. Dolino Kaki has enough variation in the solid that if you get a stain on it, you might not see it. It has a quality that’s not so uniform and I gravitate towards fabrics that have a natural hand.

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ChaddockLilac ChairSHOP NOW

My ideal sofa is…

I like a down-wrapped fill. It's so comfortable. It feels a little bit messy and lumpy-bumpy which is so much nicer than something that keeps its exact shape forever. I like the depth anywhere from 37 to 40 inches. Anything above 40 is really loungey—think a family room sectional. I like a thinner arm. Even though some of my go-to sofas are traditional, the lines feel very clean.

I don't specify a ton of different sofa options. I do the Billie from Shoppe Amber Interiors frequently. I like the ones from Nickey Kehoe and Lawson-Fenning a lot. I love a roll arm—I always love a little bit of British.

The image of an Billie Sofa product
Shoppe Amber InteriorsBillie SofaSHOP NOW

Sofa or sectional?

I generally use sectionals in family rooms, rec rooms, or super large rooms, but I tend to shy away from them in formal living rooms because they don’t provide as many seating options as a sofa with two chairs or a daybed.

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Lawson-FenningCurved Back SectionalSHOP NOW

What I look for in a coffee table:

If I find a coffee table I love, I stick hard and fast to it. I'm with coffee tables like I am with rugs: I kind of want them to disappear. Whenever I'm designing a living room, I think: what pieces are we working with? Do we need a metal or brass element, or is it missing some vintage wood? For a large living room or family room where you have a big sofa and multiple sections of chairs around it, a round coffee table is great. It’s also easier to move around and feels a little bit softer.

The image of an Arcadia Coffee Table product
Shoppe Amber InteriorsArcadia Coffee TableSHOP NOW

My accent table rule:

I'm always looking at the sofa arm height when picking a side table. I know the Nickey Kehoe spindle chairs have a lower arm, so I would pair them with the lower Menu Plinth side table. The aim is to have about the same height on the arm and the side table.

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MenuMarble PlinthSHOP NOW

My ideal bed:

I love an upholstered bed—any chance to get a textile in the mix. I just feel like they make a bedroom feel very cozy. I often do wood spindle or bobbin beds in kids’ rooms or guest rooms but for a primary bedroom, an upholstered bed feels more luxe and cozy. I also gravitate towards simple solid shapes versus very swoopy and curvy ornamental headboards.

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Shoppe Amber InteriorsHearst BedSHOP NOW

My counter stools tips:

Clients generally want a back and upholstery or they don't, and it's generally something people feel strongly about. Typically, I'll do upholstered stools if the island is substantial. I don’t do them in a tight, small kitchen or for a furniture-style island. I need to feel like the island has enough weight to support the upholstered look.

My ideal lighting mix:

I tend to do a pretty heavy mix of vintage or antique lighting—I love Italian and French mid-century—with more contemporary fixtures like the Six Globe Chandelier. I would never do a whole house in mid-century modern light fixtures. I would mix it up with a contemporary Apparatus chandelier and leafy antique wall sconces.

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Lawson-Fenning6-Globe ChandelierSHOP NOW
The image of an Cloud 19 Chandelier product
ApparatusCloud 19 ChandelierSHOP NOW

A few thoughts on rugs…

I’m generally choosing the rug last to balance out all the other textiles in the room. I want the fabrics to be the stars, so rugs typically have to work around them. I really gravitate to texture and pattern more than color. If I could put a jute rug in every room, I would: braided, flat, whatever. I love Moroccan and antique rugs too, but the colors have to be soft blues, pinks, purples… I'm generally trying to find a mix: a jute in one room, a Moroccan in another, and vintage rugs as smaller entry rugs or runners.

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WovenVintage Oushak RugSHOP NOW
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WovenMoroccan Geometric RugSHOP NOW

How I layer a bed:

I start with bedding and add a quilt on top. Cultiver make really nice quilts that I use a lot as an extra layer. And I often add a Filling Spaces throw on top of that. I bring it up about halfway, folded in half and it sits on the lower half of the bed. My general rule of thumb with decorative pillows is one single vintage or bolster. If I’m doing a luxe, layered bed, I’ll add one pillow in front of each sleeping pillow, and then one long bolster in front of it.

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The colors I’m loving right now:

I'm a purple girl. I love a smoky lavender or plum. Muted colors have been my signature these past few years but I’ve been gravitating towards brightness—it feels young and fresh. I love playing with muddy fabrics and adding a bright, unexpected pop. I’m super into magenta and bright green. It's funny, when I first started designing I hated brown and red—now I love them so much. There's something so fun about a brown room with a pop of magenta or teal… It just has to be done in a way that feels timeless and is rooted in tradition.

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The Expert VintageSvante Skogh ArmchairSHOP NOW

How I mix colors and textures together:

If I use a pattern that has a lot of colors in it, I don't want the other patterns or colors to feel matchy-matchy. I want to create a little bit of tension or newness. I'm really conscious of that. With patterns, it's all about mixing scale, tones, and pattern types—a floral with a stripe or a plaid; a linen with a velvet—to create something that feels visually balanced.