Finding Inspiration from Nature: An Interview with Designer Prudence Bailey


Designer Prudence Bailey loves color and is known to use it liberally, spreading joy and adding “a smile to every room”. Her work is elegant and yet approachable, filled with charm and a passion for beauty. Her enthusiasm is contagious and it is clear that not only is she incredibly skilled at her work but she most definitely loves it as well. After having begun her career in corporate sales, she opted to follow her heart and begin designing full time. This decision, and the success she enjoyed from the endeavor led her to open her namesake full-service design firm where she has since become a fresh and sought after voice in the world of design. From the childhood project that planted the seed for her future in design to the inspiration she gets from mother nature, we caught up with the designer and learned more about how she fills each room with joy and of course, gorgeous color.

Photograph by Stephane Kossmann

Her love of color – and interiors – started early, passed down from her design savvy mother. “My mom loves color and she had a very developed sense of pattern and color even though she was not a designer. She did our homes herself and they were always so flawless.  I think it had a huge impact on me. She worked with me on my bedroom when I was 10 or so and after picking a wallpaper for my room she had all the walls and the ceiling done in that paper. I got my love of wallpapering ceilings from my mom.  I spent hours it seemed making patterns and faces in that ceiling paper.”

Photograph by Julia Dags

Those hours spent in her room filled with color and pattern would have an early impact on her design sensibility, one that can be seen in her work today. “I love to work with fabrics and wallpapers. I will play with so many until I find the exact ones that embody what my clients want and will enhance the furnishings and the room as a whole.  It’s so fun when the plan comes together and all the pieces are doing their part to make the room shine.”

Photograph by Stephane Kossmann

To those who dream of adding more color or pattern to their home but are hesitant, she offers this advice: “So many people are afraid of color yet we live with it all around us. The best advice I can give is to start small. If you want to add color but not sure where to start, add a pretty cashmere or mohair blanket to your sofa in a color you love and see what you think. Bring in accessories that have some color or flowers. If that feels good you can then layer in patterned pillows.  The point is to not start with big investments but ones that are easy to test to get your feet wet. Mixing patterns is trickier so I would just start with one pattern you love that includes a color in the upholstery and add as pillows. If you want to bring in another pattern Ikats, stripes and geometrics are great mixing patterns with florals and botanicals. Just remember to pay attention to pattern scale by mixing large with small.”

Photograph by Julia D’ags.

Not only does she mix and match colors and patterns with great skill and panache, she is also a master at mixing contemporary pieces with vintage finds. “I absolutely love vintage and antiques. It’s so fun to bring in a piece that lived in someone else’s home. If those pieces could talk I bet there would be some great stories! I love to go to various vintage stores and see what I can find from small decor treasures, to art and furniture. If I see something I love I buy it. It has to speak to me. I don’t have a formal selection process it’s more I know it when I see it. The biggest rule of thumb is that I go as often as I can because these shops get so much new product in and sometimes I leave empty handed and sometimes I fill my car. But, if you fall in love with something, buy it as often it’s not there when you finally decide to go and get it and I don’t love missing out!”

Photograph by Stephane Kossmann

This design philosophy which she applies to her work with clients is also one she uses in designing her own home. “My home definitely has elements similar to what I create for my clients, however my style is a bit more maximalist. I love all my treasures and find it hard to edit myself! My new favorite piece is a vintage dining table I just bought from The Local Vault! It’s so beautiful with its elegantly curved legs. I wish it could tell the stories of the wonderful dinners around the table from its previous owners! Now that I have moved the business out of my home and to an office, I am designing my own dining room! I can’t wait to see it come together. It will definitely include wallpaper and beautiful fabrics for sure!”

Photograph by Stephane Kossmann

Despite the elegance and sophistication of the rooms she designs, the outcome is always a space that feels approachable and with an element of the unexpected. “There is nothing better than walking into a beautifully designed space that beckons you to sit and get comfortable. I don’t believe in pickling your home with too much preciousness. Homes are meant to be lived in so that’s where approachable design comes in. Something unexpected is perhaps a piece that feels like it may not belong but does or something that’s used in a different way than intended. Whatever it is calls attention to itself and those who see it discuss it. I love that! Hearing someone say: “I never would have thought to use it that way” is music to my ears!”

Photograph by Julia D’ags.

As anyone in a creative field knows, it is important to stay inspired. For Bailey, this means checking in with mother nature. “I will often go for a run or a hike. I find nature to be so inspiring with all of the colors and patterns. I think that’s also why you see so many florals and botanicals in my designs. There is no better master of color, texture and pattern than Mother Nature!” With inspiration derived from the beauty that nature provides, it’s not hard to see how her work possesses classic and timeless appeal.

Photograph by Stephane Kossmann

5 Questions with Designer Prudence Bailey

TLV: What are three words you would use to describe your work?

PB: Layered, timeless and relaxing.


TLV: What are you currently watching or reading?

PB: I don’t read as much as I used to in all candor, however I love to watch movies, documentaries and I really get involved in the series I am watching. Right now, I am watching Ted Lassos which really makes me laugh and the CNN documentary on Princess Diana is incredible. I get lost in watching shows because it helps me turn my brain off for a brief respite.


TLV: Do you have any go to color combinations?

PB: So many of my clients love blue and white.  I think of blue as a neutral as it goes with everything. Look how the sky is such a gorgeous backdrop to the colors of our planet. Blue and white is always timeless, elegant and so many colors can be layered into it.


TLV: Is there a particular era that you find especially inspiring?

PB: I love the Madmen era or the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel! The way they were always dressed so meticulously and with so much ceremony. Everyone really put their best foot forward each day in everything they did and I love it. I wish we still lived with so much personal decorum as those eras.


TLV: What is next for you in your work?

PB: I would love to do a fabric or wallpaper collaboration or develop a line of furniture!

Want to shop Prudence’s Favorites?  Click here.

Join Prudence for a tour of our TLV warehouse by clicking here. 

Photos Courtesy of Prudence Bailey / Text by Liana Hayles Newton







Leave a Reply