Design with a Zing

Melissa Rodgers Talks Color + Eclectic Style

Bright, bold color is making a comeback, and Melissa Rodgers is up-and-coming for her punchy, eclectic styling.

Rodgers and her husband, Kevin, purchased their 1970’s era quad-level home four years ago. From the outside, it’s an unassuming beige residence, no different than any other on the quiet cul-de-sac. But step inside, and you’ll find yourself in a space that’s become both Melissa’s sanctuary and a creative showcase for her fun, laid-back style.

"I don’t really have a recipe,” Rodgers says. “Just a dash of this and a dash of that. It’s my personality.”

RELATED: Don't Be Scared, It's Just Color

When the Rodgers moved in, they took the entire first floor of the former rental down to the studs, opening up the kitchen, breakfast nook and dining areas and making room for their passion for entertaining. Both Melissa and Kevin are inspired by familial creativity, with artists, engineers, contractors and designers in their family trees. Kevin put himself through college as a carpenter. With this background, the couple approaches their personal home renovation and design with a can-do attitude and a shoestring budget.

But when their first-floor demolition revealed an electrical problem, much of the renovation budget was diverted to its repair. Rodgers invested in rich, wide-plank acacia flooring and gold West Elm Mobile chandeliers for the dining room, but the backsplash tile was nixed, so she stenciled and hand-painted the teal subway tiles that line the walls of her galley kitchen. She brings this budget-savvy approach to clients’ projects as well.

“I have a save and splurge mentality,” she says. “You do not need to spend a small fortune on everything in your home. Invest a little extra on timeless quality pieces.” 

Rodgers, a former M.A.C. makeup artist and self-taught interior designer and stylist, has a natural affinity for adding pops of color through accessories while keeping a neutral background that’s flexible to change. Her creativity extends to mixing higher-end pieces with budget ones, rustic furnishings with modern.

For example, her sitting room is furnished with a sleek white Ikea bureau, refashioned with painted legs across from a vintage chair. In the dining room, the Rodgers made their roughhewn farmhouse table out of salvaged wood and pipes and paired it with a set of chairs Melissa thrifted for $10 and re-upholstered.

Rodgers’ journey in taking her own home from shabby to chic has inspired her to launch and grow her own personal brand, Melissa B. Rodgers, Domestic Stylist. She offers e-design services, in-person home design consultation and a-la-carte home styling services.

While Rodgers’ neighbors are already clued-in to her talents, her Instagram following @mbrdomesticstyling has helped her gain a larger following outside her personal sphere. In the past year and a half, one of Rodgers clients’ homes was featured on Houzz, and her audience spiked from 700 to 7,000 Instagram followers. 

Tips for Incorporating Color and Pattern in Your Home

  • Use at least three patterns in a room and vary the scale. One large, one medium and small, or one large and two different mediums for instance.

  • Try to incorporate colors that are the same intensity. For example, don’t mix pastels with jewel tones. Different patterns often work together if they’re of the same hues.

  • Distribute patterns evenly throughout the room. If the majority are all on one side of the room, the whole space will look unbalanced.

  • Don’t place too many patterns on top of each other (break them up with solids). The eye needs a place to rest, and too many patterns will feel chaotic.

  • Patterns don’t have to be of different colors. Tone-on-tone patterns can still give the room depth and character while remaining elegant.

  • Decorating your home is not a life-or-death situation. Have fun with it!

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