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

By Madeleine Frank
May 27, 2014
Photo: Rachel Hulin

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.

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;
  2. Pattern Play (pictured above) "Quadrille prints are very modern but also timeless." Kazak Fabric in Blue on Silk, available to the trade;
  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;
  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;