Make Your Rooms Feel Professionally Designed

By Nancy Powell

There are those of us who feel rules are meant to be broken, and others who feel rules provide a healthy starting point for… whatever. In the design world though, rules rule. In the 1980s, when I began my career in the design field, one of the concepts I used to train fellow designers was this one: the BRAGG concept. It’s one of those rules that’s as applicable today as it was then. Plus, it’s easy to remember and even easier to follow. Take the BRAGG test in your home, and then use these simple tricks to make your rooms feel like they were professionally designed.


Every room should have something black in it, and better yet, a few black accents to help your eye travel around the space.  Black anchors the design, gives your eye a resting point, and provides depth and contrast.  And adding black is easy. You can do it with tabletop accessories, drapery rods, frames on your pictures, or accent pillows.


I always say rugs are like pictures for your floor.  They give visual interest, add elements of touch, texture, color, and shape. Equally as important, rugs help to define the seating area or furniture plane.


I come from a family of artists, and the art in one’s home speaks of the people in it. Whether it’s modern, traditional, photography, paintings, or drawings, art on the walls gives insight into the lives, journeys, and loves of the homeowner.  Art is very personal and it should make a statement. Be bold in your art selection or the way you display art by creating interesting arrangements, like this gallery wall of drawings I did of our pets.


Plants bring the outdoors in and give a feeling of warmth and of living. I always favor live plants, but occasionally run across a really spectacular faux arrangement that no one would be the wiser for. Strive to include organic elements in your home as they breathe life into a room and give each space a heartbeat.


Reflective surfaces add dimension, sparkle and shine to a room.  A room without sparkle is flat and listless.  Mirrors give you “interior windows” where other parts of the space are reflected, and glass – in the form of framed art, mirrors and shiny accessories – infuses any room with a luxurious feel and a sense of movement.

Nancy Powell and her daughter, Bethany Brower, are the designing women behind Powell Brower Interiors in Manassas. They’re committed to creating unique interiors that speak to your personality and good taste.  

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