Ask a Designer: Jocelyn Chiappone

The New England decorator shares her favorite tips, tricks, and trends for perfect beach house design.

By Madeleine Frank

Designer Jocelyn Chiappone of Newport, Rhode Island, shares her secrets on mirrors, materials, and more.

Do you have a design mantra?
JC: The key to good design is contrast. Think of it as putting together a great outfit. Start with one bold, attention-getting piece, and then pair that with something understated. For example, if you have a bright, hand-painted dining room table, choose simple, elegant sea grass Parsons chairs.

What's an unexpected way for people to use mirrors?
JC: Multiples of the same mirror can create a really dramatic element in a room. Pick mirrors with interesting frames, like a bright coral bamboo, to up the wow factor.

How do you incorporate a nautical theme in a subtle way?
JC: I use materials like mother of pearl, lacquered bamboo, and inlaid shell for a sophisticated feel.

Graphic prints look great on:
JC: Rugs! They're the perfect place for a geometric print or a stripe to add another layer of visual interest and pull the room together. I like to use flat-weave rugs—they're often reversible, so you can flip them over as a quick way to freshen up before a more thorough cleaning.

TAKE FIVE
We asked Chiappone to share the products and places she's loving right now.

  1. Sweet Suit (pictured above) "This bikini is a great way to splash things up!" Trina Turk Plumas Crop Top, $90, and Shirred Side Hipster, $68; trinaturk.com
  2. Pattern Play (pictured above) "Quadrille prints are very modern but also timeless." Kazak Fabric in Blue on Silk, available to the trade; quadrillefabrics.com
  3. Guiding Light (pictured above) "I can't wait to use these pendant lights in a project." Fleet Mariner Triple Cone Lamp in Azure, Light Blue, and Red, $650; fleetobjects.com
  4. Best Beach "Boca Grande, Florida, is a hidden gem. I love the Caribbean feel and the simple, quaint shops."
  5. Serious Scrub "I coat myself in this before I soak in the tub, and it's pure heaven." Sabon Body Scrub in Patchouli Lavender Vanilla, $33; sabonnyc.com