Dallas designer David Call gives tips for DIYers — including when to hire a professional


David Call knows how to design and style a room to bring out your signature in glamorous ways. And you don’t have to overpay to achieve it. / Photo by Studio Rocket Science. Styling by Matthew Minick. Shot on location at Jones Walker Home.

By Steven Lindsey

With entire television networks dedicated to home remodeling and interior design, it can be difficult to filter out the nonsense and get to the heart of how to create spaces that are not just beautiful, but livable and long lasting.

David Call has been a designer for nearly 20 years and has plenty of ahelpful information on making the most of your interiors, whether on your own or with the help of a professional. Here’s a primer from Call on how to go timeless and trendy but still be 100 percent you.

Key pieces
Spend your money on significant pieces that are the anchor of the room. A bigger investment up front equates to furniture that can last a lifetime and still be in vogue.

“A sofa is absolutely an investment,” says Call. “It’s really good to have a designer when making the decision for these key pieces. You want a sofa with good bones, good construction, but also has a livelier shade to it than beige. A lot of people end up underwhelmed because they spent $3,500 on a sofa, which is in the high to medium-high range in price. I’d say $2,500 or $3,000 is a good range, which may seem high, but the right sofa should last for a really long time. A sofa is the most important piece because it gets used the most. Don’t get a sofa in a trendy color — it reduces its longevity.”

Splash of color
Speaking of trendy colors, Call’s best piece of advice is to click away at Pantone.com.

“Emerald green is the trendy color for 2013 if you look there,” he says. “It’s very hard to work with, but it can be added in through accessories. Really, there are about 60 ‘it’ colors this year, but they’re broken down into different categories such as fashion. Poppy Red is still popular. There are even some translucent blues and greens that are popping up right now, as well as some pastels.

But just because emerald green is the current color, Call doesn’t advise using it for a sofa or other key furniture.

“Bring in emerald accent pillows or a throw. Always select colors for key pieces that you love. They have to speak to you. And you have to live with them for a long time.”

Timeless colors might be more on track for big ideas in design. It’s especially important when considering design elements to focus on items that you intend to keep around for years.

“There are certain very bold colors that never go out of style. Ruby is great for making a statement. Warm caramel colors are good, something [that looks like] burnt honey. If you want an earth tone, go for something stronger than taupe, chocolate or off-white. Those are all safe.”

Wall treatments & accessories
Call calls these items “the jewelry of the house.” Some are masculine, some are feminine, some are gay, but they’re all fantastic ways to express your personality and incorporate trends in less permanent ways. Utilizing a designer for this process is ideal because they have access to many fabulous suppliers and product lines not available to the general public.

“If you have a small area, such as a bathroom, do a shimmer finish on the ceiling — it opens up the whole room,” he counsels. “Wallpaper is also great, especially ones with texture like a snakeskin. Commercial grade is 54 inches wide, so there are almost no seams, plus the way it’s installed, it won’t peel the way wallpaper did 20 years ago. I just did a stingray wall treatment for a client and he loves it.”

Fabrics are also helpful in changing the mood of a room. Rather than choosing solid colors, Call likes to incorporate woven fabrics or anything with texture, giving his clients more options for infusing pops of color elsewhere.

“Woven fabrics have multiple colors in them, so it opens up your palette to pull more colors into a room with art and accessories.”

Saving money
Often, the best furniture and accessories are right under your nose. Literally. Rearranging key pieces or moving items between rooms can breathe new life into an entire home.

“I love doing that,” Call says. “A lot of people will use me for that because they know I’m very objective. I completely understand the importance of some pieces and know how to gauge whether something is a family piece or simply something they just spent too much on. I can sense when people don’t want something and they don’t know how to make themselves get rid of it. I give them options of how they can get rid of it and make money, like a consignment store or Craigslist. Let me list it for you because I know how to word it so it sounds better and sells for more.”

David Call Designs, 214.679.9263 DavidCallDesigns.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 19, 2013.