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The Two Furniture Staples Shannon Eddings Never Pairs Together—And Why

Words by Morgan Goldberg
a living room filled with furniture and a large window

Photography by Chase Daniel; Design by Shannon Eddings Interiors

To create her whimsical, nostalgic interiors, Shannon Eddings always mixes old and new.

“If I’m working on an old, historic house, I like to layer in contemporary pieces to bring tension,” says the Austin, Texas-based interior designer. If it's a newer home, she introduces old, antique pieces. “I like things to feel gathered and layered, I love mixing colors and patterns, and I want my spaces to tell the story of the people that live there.”

Shannon has developed this style philosophy throughout her 12-year career, which began as a part-time gig after she lost her day job during the 2008 financial crisis and slowly turned design into a passionate pursuit. Now, she’s grateful she fell into this profession. “I love what I do,” she says. “It's such a privilege to get to do something you love. On days when it feels like work—which happens—I still love getting to know people so intimately and having them trust me with their most personal spaces.”

This enthusiasm translates into the Expert’s work, which has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Elle Decor, House Beautiful, and on HGTV's ‘House Hunters Renovation.’ Here, she shares the secrets behind her success, from her signature design move and the colors she’s loving right now to her best small-space design trick and the last thing she bought for her home.

a living room filled with furniture and a fire place

Photography courtesy of Shannon Eddings Interiors

My signature design move

I love using stripes. It's my version of a neutral. And I source a lot of vintage lighting. I hardly ever install new fixtures anymore. I spend hours on the internet looking for fun pendants and sconces.

The first thing I do when I design a room

I typically pull inspiration out of the clients. I give them a design quiz that asks, ‘What's your favorite decade? Who’s your favorite artist? Where do you like to travel? How do you spend your evenings?’ From that, I can figure out who I’m working with. Color is the next launching point for me—I find out which types of hues they like. Then, I'll draw a floor plan to determine the pieces I actually need.

a bathroom with a sink, mirror and coat rack
a bedroom with a bed and a painting on the wall

Photography courtesy of Shannon Eddings Interiors

Photography by Molly Culver; Design by Shannon Eddings Interiors

The architectural style that inspires me most

I love Tudor-style homes and 1930s bungalows. I like weird homes—old English houses with random round windows and stone and brick facades.

My best small-space design trick

I love to paint the walls, trim, and ceiling the same color in a small space. It creates this little, magical room that I can go all out in. I also like to wallpaper from top to bottom, including the ceiling—anything to make it feel like a little jewel box.

a blue and white tiled shower with a round window

Photography courtesy of Shannon Eddings Interiors

If my design style was a fashion icon, it would be

Diane Keaton. I love how funny and confident she is. Her fashion, to me, is an extension of her personality. In the past five years, I’ve started making an effort to dress in a way that reflects my business. Many days, I wear a lot of colors that don't necessarily make sense, and oversized denim shirts. It’s approachable but stylish.

I’m dying for a client to request

A secret, hidden door. A fireplace in a bedroom. A courtyard. A converted attic.

a dining room table with chairs and a chandelier

Photography by Molly Culver; Design by Shannon Eddings Interiors

What I buy vintage versus what I specify new

I never pair a new dining table with new chairs. I either do an old table and contemporary chairs or vice versa to create a collected contrast. I buy a lot of vintage case goods. I love sourcing old dressers and art. I've been obsessed with this Swedish auction house recently, where paintings are under a hundred dollars. I try to buy everything old except sofas and rugs, which I prefer to specify new.

My favorite lighting tricks

I encourage people not to install tons of recessed can lights. Harsh overhead lighting is not conducive to a romantic, conversational atmosphere. Eye-level wall fixtures, like sconces, are really nice and not so harsh. And the bulbs matter. I like soft, yellow bulbs—not white, LED ones. I also add dimmers to everything.

a bathroom with two sinks and two mirrors
a bathroom with a sink and a mirror

Photography by Molly Culver; Design by Shannon Eddings Interiors

Photography courtesy of Shannon Eddings Interiors

My go-to design books to reference

Beata Heuman: Every Room Should Sing. She's Swedish and I’m very inspired by everything she does. A Place to Call Home: Tradition, Style, and Memory in the New American House by the architect Gil Schafer, who I like a lot. And Golden Light: The Interior Design of Nickey Kehoe. Those are my big three.

The colors I’m loving right now

I am so drawn to yellow. It's just happy and it brings the outdoors in. I’ve been pairing it with other primary colors. People think you can’t mix bold colors, but I love green, red, and yellow together. Green reflects nature and goes well with wood. And red is just so fun—I love a pop of it. It creates tension and contrast with the softer colors around it.

a bedroom with a bed, a lamp, and a bathtub
a bedroom with a floral wallpaper and a bed

Photography by Chase Daniel; Design by Shannon Eddings Interiors

Photography by Molly Culver; Design by Shannon Eddings Interiors

Where I splurge versus where I save

I splurge on window treatments, rugs, and wallpaper. I save a lot by not ordering all high-end, custom upholstery. I’ll find a set of antique swivel chairs and recover them instead. I find good deals on decorative lighting, too. I just did a bedroom with blue plaster walls and Athena Calderone’s Crate & Barrel lamps were perfect for it.

My go-to finishing touches in a room

A lot of people start with art, but I like to pick it last. I buy pieces from auctions and 1stDibs, so I have a lot of vintage art lying around. I accessorize to make a room feel lived in but not cluttered—often with old wooden boxes and books. The art and styling really make the space in the end.

a bedroom with a chandelier and a bed

Photography by Molly Culver; Design by Shannon Eddings Interiors

The last thing I bought for my home

I was at Round Top recently and found an old pine dresser with awesome brass hardware to use as a nightstand. I also bought an old English cabinet to hang on the wall and display glassware.

The place I can’t wait to go back to

I can't wait to go back to Florence. I studied there in college, so I would love to go back there as an adult and rediscover all the incredible stuff that inspired and influenced me.

a bedroom with a desk, chair and a round window

Photography courtesy of Shannon Eddings Interiors

The hotel that represents ultimate luxury to me

So many people think luxury is associated with cost, but I love The Marlton Hotel in NYC’s Greenwich Village. The rooms are tiny, but the beds are comfortable and it's just so aesthetically pleasing. It has so much history.

What’s next

I’m working on an online shop that's mostly vintage art and pottery. Those are the two things I hoard and love buying, so I’m going to sell them along with other cool, decorative finds. My biggest dream is to design a lighting collection.

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