Meg Braff: Living with Style and Joy



by Judy Carmack Bross




“Meg is one of those people who immediately adds a sense of gaiety to a room. Her spaces are filled with bold patterns, bright happy colors and a sense of celebration.  There is a uniqueness to her process that draws from her ebullient personality.” —award-winning designer Charlotte Moss.


Meg Braff with her four sons and husband          Photo: Sean Connell


Cover of Meg Braff’s book


Interior designer Meg Braff tells us that the unexpected can bring the most joy. We learned when we sat down with the author of The Decorated Room: Living with Style and Joy, owner of shops in Palm Beach and Locust Valley, creator of custom wallpapers, and mother of four sons, that we can expect much from this woman who says: “Go for it.  When you start your day amid the furnishings and accessories that bring you joy, you walk out the door a happier person.”


Photo: J. Savage Gibson


Photo: J. Savage Gibson


In The Decorated Home, published by Rizzoli, Meg Braff defines how patterns and colors can maximize the effect your home can bring to yourself and others.  Based on Long Island, Meg Braff Designs is known for its work in top resort locations including Bermuda, Palm Beach, the Hamptons, and Newport.


“The most beautiful decoration comes from the thoughtful approach of unearthing unpredictable and serendipitous finds that make a space feel unique special and each detail elicit joy. The treasure hunt mindset has always been a part of me.  When I was growing up in Tupelo, Mississippi my mother lovingly incorporated many pretty antiques that once belonged to my grandparents throughout our house,” she said.  “She loves entertaining and like me, she collects interesting porcelain and table settings.  The two of us are constantly scouring places to find just the right piece to fit in and then refurbishing them with custom paint or upholstery to make them feel personal in their new space.”


Photo: J. Savage Gibson


Photo: J. Savage Gibson


CCM: Your style is: “Slim Aarons meets Technicolor elegance”.  Tell me how that fits your style.

“I love Slim Aarons’ work and the aesthetic captured by his imitable lens. His photographs focused on people and places, but also fabulous design elements of those golden years, many of which I am still drawn to for decorating inspiration. Throwback glamour updated with the comforts and colors of today is something I always aim for in my work.”


Photo: Tria Giovan

 CCM: You work such magic with color and patterns, tell us a little more about this and how people can discover what works best for them, and how people can learn to use patterns.

MB: “I think you should decorate with the colors you gravitate towards naturally. When starting a project with a new client it sometimes helps to peek in their closet! Although it’s fun to get out of your comfort zone it’s also important to recognize what you can really live with. With a client who is drawn to mainly neutrals I might pull the color in through accessories like art, pillows and lamps rather than lacquering the walls blue or installing a patterned wallpaper.”

CCM: You recommend people studying the work of a variety of designers, how do you think that is particularly helpful?


Albert Hadley

MB: “I think we can all learn from studying the work of other designers, particularly ones from other eras. I have a great collection of vintage books in my library and they are a constant reference to me. Billy Baldwin, Albert Hadley, Frances Elkins, Dorothy Draper and William Haines to name a few favorites! Nothing is ever really new in design, and the more you have seen and can reference, the more layered and successful your work will be.”

 CCM: Your work is said to be “unique and unpredictable” and that you work with a sense of gaiety. This sounds wonderful!  How do you explain how this can bring joy to your home and the homes of your clients.

MB: “I do love walking into a cheerful home that is welcoming and well appointed. I think the “unique and unpredictable” part stems from my love of antique and vintage furniture. I am always on the hunt for special pieces for my two shops–Meg Braff Designs in Locust Valley and West Palm Beach–and for my clients. Antiques are the pieces that give a house its soul and connection to other eras. If everything is brand new from the design center it would be rather boring.”


Photo: Tria Giovan


CCM: Tell me about how you first became interested in decorating.  Is it something that you loved as a child?

MB: “My grandmother had a beautiful old turn of the century home in Mississippi. She always said to me “ buy what you love and have no regrets!” She was referring to a dressing table my grandfather wouldn’t let her buy and she couldn’t quite get over it. She had beautiful silk damask Scalamandre curtains that at the time were quite a splurge. She shared a lot of stories with me about her decorating process. I think that is when I became smitten with all areas of design.”


Photo: J. Savage Gibson

CCM: You said one of your earliest assignments was decorating your apartment while a student at Vanderbilt University. What was that like and what would you recommend to young people doing their first apartment?

MB: “That was a great project! My roommate Beth and I scavenged all that we could from our parents. We put it all together pretty nicely and the finishing touches were from the Ralph Lauren outlet! I would recommend to young people doing their first apartment to look at online auctions and even websites like Wayfair. I am amazed at what you can find. Also I would recommend taking any donations from family or friends. The last thing is measure everything twice including your elevator before purchasing anything for your apartment.”


Photo: Tria Giovan

CCM: How would you describe your own home?

MB: “My home in Locust Valley is very traditional and welcoming with a good dose of color. It is a Regency style house with a lot of symmetry and sight lines to the garden. Most of the rooms on the ground floor have French doors so the house and garden are very much working together. I have so many of my favorite pieces in this home…Chinoiserie, lacquer, grasscloth, French and English furniture, rattan and jute.”

CCM: Do you decorate many second and third homes, and what is the best feel that these can convey?  Are they often a lot different than the major home?

MB: “I think the second and third home client is our best customer. Most clients are willing to take more risks with those homes because it is not where they are living full time. They can also be done in a style a little more playful or modern than the primary residence. It is nice to mix it up!”


Photo: J. Savage Gibson

CCM: What are trends that you are noticing in interior design now?  Are there trends coming in after the pandemic?

MB: “One important trend to note is the elevated dining and entertaining pantry, in addition to the butler’s pantry. Because tabletop is of such an interest to everyone these days, many homes need a first-rate pantry with all the bells and whistles. Cloth lined drawers for silver, closet poles for hanging table cloths, shelves for linen placemats to lay flat and plenty of room for the enormous quantities of dinner services to be put into use.”

CCM: How do you make little changes in your house when you really want a change but not ready to do something major?

MB: “I think new lampshades, possibly in a color, are the best way. Also beautiful new bedding and towels can uplift any bedroom or bathroom. Decorative pillow also can add a shot of color and texture and give your sofa a new look. Beautiful slipcovers for summer are wonderful traditions that I love as well.”


Photo: J. Savage Gibson


Meg Braff brings happiness home in her work that encourages joy, spontaneity and colorful, carefree days.