Joseph Pubillones Creators Syndicate Inc.

What does “home” mean to you?

Choosing an interior designer to help you design your home is tricky. A little research is needed to see if you are a good candidate. A meeting should take place – much like speed dating – where basic issues such as stylistic preferences, scope of work, work ethic, and budgets are discussed by both parties. Most important is your design approach and/or philosophy.

For example, my interior design philosophy is above all dictated by a regional approach. Interiors in Palm Beach, Florida don’t have to look like interiors in New York, and vice versa. Interior selections for materials, finishes and colors should reflect the location of the project. A designer should always strive to capture the nuances of a place, without falling into kitsch.

Avoid designers offering a “signature” look. The best interior designers can work in almost any style. Every home and project should reflect an owner’s tastes and lifestyle. Each project is and should be different – different in architecture, different in style, different in client requirements. Therefore, design results are never approved, never identical. A designer’s role should be to act as a moderator, editor and facilitator of the design.

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It is very important to find out what “home” means for your clients and for yourself. The concept of home captures both tactile things and abstract emotions. The best compliment is when guests and visitors can’t describe why they feel so good at your place. This is the “it” factor. Home is a feeling. It is a place of comfort, which is the ultimate luxury.

Be upfront with your designer about what you would like the most important function of your home to be. For a family, it may be comfort. For a budding chef, this could be a culinary paradise. For a highly stressed businessman, it can be a spa atmosphere. For an art collector, it can be a place for exhibiting works of art. It is crucial for the designer to know this kingpin of design; ultimately, the homeowner can live with an interior they truly enjoy, and the designer can walk away knowing they’ve done their best for them.

1. Decorate for yourself, not your neighbors or friends.

2. Buy the best artwork you can afford – over a long period of time.

3. Accessorize with few items. It is best if each item is larger than a soccer ball.

4. Don’t be afraid to mix. Juxtapose styles, colors and textures.

6. Leave room for changes: accessories, art and occasional furniture.

7. An inviting room can even make food taste better.

8. Always add your favorite color to any room. You will feel good.

9. Take risks. It’s your house and your rules.

10. Read “Home: A Short History of an Idea” by Witold Rybczynski and “Geography of Home: Writings on Where We Live” by Akiko Busch.

Joseph Pubillones is the owner of Joseph Pubillones Interiors, an award-winning interior design firm based in Palm Beach, Florida. His website is


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