How to begin
Magazines are filled with ideas for composing decorative schemes, as is nature. Another path, says Nye, is to study the vignettes at retailers like Crate & Barrel and Pottery Barn and see how they do it.
He advises starting small with patterns — lamps, pillows and knickknacks are good choices.
“Once your eye becomes accustomed to these,” he says, “you can continue layering.”
Artwork is another form of pattern. Not to worry if you’ve inherited a houseful of traditional furniture and you collect abstracts, Nye says. “Putting them together is contradictory in a good way, and can look terrific,” he says.
There’s a lot of art in Nye’s home, including the bathroom. Here he hung a large painting, striped the walls and added a small, decorative table, all of which share similar colours offset by white.