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Jenna’s Black Book(ish) of Design Tips

Spend five minutes with Jenna, and you’ll quickly pick up on a few things: not all shades of pink peonies are created equal, taper candles are right for any occasion — not just special ones — and good art doesn’t need to be expensive.



There are so many ways to make a piece look interesting and really hold a wall. In New York, Jenna uses Skyframe for big and small projects. A few things to consider:

  • Try a black mat. Everyone defaults to white, but a black mat adds contrast. 
  • If you need to fill a bigger frame or want to cover more wall space, don’t be afraid to use a larger mat on a smaller print, like a postcard.
  • Speaking of postcards, don’t shy away from framing one you really like. For Dana and Dan’s townhouse, Jenna included a framed Karl Blossfeldt postcard on the mantle and placed a book of his work on the coffee table so guests could learn more about him.
  • Gilded frames are costly, but faux-gilding or adding a gilt edge gives a fanciful feel without being too fancy.


Good artwork doesn’t have to be expensive. Artist Sebastian Mueller-Soppart, a former advertising creative director, rescues artists’ paintings from becoming landfill, giving them a bold update, often with a thick coat of black or white paint. DM him for purchase info.

If you like the idea of a nude sketch, but don’t want to shell out several hundred dollars for one, Jenna suggests going straight to the source and buying directly from local art students.

3DONALD JUDD, edited by Nicolas Serota (Tate Publishing), Beaux Books


Some people spend years acquiring vintage art books to fill bookshelves or for a coffee table stack. For everyone else, head to the Strand for its vintage art books. Beaux Books in London specializes in rare, hard-to-track-down art and style books.

DONALD JUDD, edited by Nicolas Serota (Tate Publishing), Beaux Books




Small, carefully chosen details can warm up a space and make it feel like home. While cruising auction sites can be a thrill for some, it’s OK to outsource if it’s not your thing, or if it’s simply too overwhelming. 

Holler & Squall sifts through wares at auctions, flea markets and estate sales for terracotta vessels, marble-top tables and Max Ingrand sconces so you don’t have to. The store has two small physical spaces in Kingston and Brooklyn, but it posts new items daily on Instagram and ships across the United States. 

Cotê à Coast specializes in neutral, earthy decorative items, but also has a really good selection of super-soft alpaca pillows and simple ceramics. 

ABC Carpet & Home is well-known for its incredible section of Moroccan and vintage rugs, but it is our team’s go-to for tabletop items, baskets and throws.



Light them, and not just for special occasions. Jenna loves Skultuna, which has beautifully polished brass wall sconce candle holders that are similar to the vintage ones Jenna found for the townhouse entryway on 1stDibs.



With the days of dropping film at the drugstore behind us, websites like Artifact Uprising make it easy to order prints from home. You can select the paper type, too: shiny, matte or double-thick.

Want to see more? Watch Stylish with Jenna Lyons on HBO Max.