The North Carolina designer talks stripes, guest rooms, Lowcountry style, and more.

By Madeleine Frank
January 21, 2014

Just a bit of fresh lemon zest and seafood seasoning adds a big boost of flavor.

Photo: Richard Leo Johnson

Designer Liz Carroll of Wilmington, North Carolina, shares her advice on sophisticated, comfortable decor.

What's your favorite graphic element?
Stripes—big, small, multicolor, wavy, straight. You can add them in anywhere, and they're easy to mix with other patterns. I like to pair a striped ceiling with a striped fabric in the room and then play with different scales.

What do you consider to be an absolute guest room essential?
Super comfortable bedding for overnight visitors. The Beech collection from Bed Bath & Beyond has the softest sheets; they're a go-to if you don't want to spend a fortune but still want to make sure your guests feel great.

Give us some tips for accentuating an ocean view.
Play off the color palette of the water to bring that feeling of outdoors in and make it all part of your livable area. I love Soft Chamois by Benjamin Moore; it's a subdued, neutral gray that's the perfect backdrop for coastal decor.

How is Lowcountry style different from other coastal looks?
When I think of the Lowcountry, I think about outdoor porch living. A lot of the look involves mixing the old and the new—plus plenty of rocking chairs, inside and out!

We asked Carroll to share the products and places she's loving right now.

  1. Statement Jewelry (pictured above). "Big Kendra Scott necklaces are fashion forward and can be dressed up or down." Melissa Statement Necklace in Blue Galaxy, $295;
  2. Indoor/Outdoor Rugs (pictured above). "I use them for high-traffic areas with kids and pets." Dash & Albert Samode Rug in Fuchsia/Ivory, from $40 (2' by 3');
  3. Bold Lamp (pictured above). "It's an unexpected piece in a more formal setting." Stray Dog Designs Esme Glass Lamp, $525;
  4. Beach Bar. "The bartender at Soggy Dollar Bar on Jost Van Dyke in the BVI makes the world's best Painkiller."
  5. Decorative Hardware. "I switch out hardware on furniture to make it custom." Restoration Hardware Traditional Green Glass Knob in Polished Nickel, $13 (1");