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Sarahs Picks

Aurora Design Studio: Sarah Portugal’s Winter Wonderful Picks

*Program available in select locations only.

Furniture Row’s complimentary Design Studio program continues to grow by popular demand across the country, and our team of expert interior designers is happily expanding along with it! We are very excited to feature Aurora, CO design studio expert Sarah Portugal, and her holiday furniture picks!

Thank you to Sarah for taking the time to share her inspiration, design insights, and top products for the upcoming holiday season! Read on for the interview with Sarah, and links to her winter wonderful picks.


Interview with Sarah Portugal of Aurora, CO Design Studio


How do you describe your design style?
As the trends in design and fashion change, so do I!  There are so many layers to my design aesthetic, but I would classify my current style as sophisticated fun with tones of modern retro chic, layered with a classic foundation.  A mouthful I know, but I’ve always been drawn to Mid-century modern infused with industrial and vintage glam accents.  That’s why this mod rustic industrial love affair we have going on right now is right up my alley.  I love creating spaces that have ties to the past and present while telling your story.

How do you begin the process of designing and styling a space?
I always enjoy getting to know my client as much as possible beginning with what they love about their space and what they don’t.  I then move to an understanding of what they have in mind to change or update.  For example my client may have a nice great room for their family leisure activities, but is planning a holiday gathering and doesn’t know how to adapt their space for entertaining. The next step is to develop a concept.  I use that concept to guide me as I design and style the space – drawing inspiration from a color palette, a specific aesthetic feature, an accent piece, or perhaps an original item that the space already includes.  At the end of the day if I am able to capture their personality, family style and way of living using a selection of furniture, accents and accessories, then my creation is ready to be enjoyed for entertaining.

Where do you draw the most inspiration for holiday season décor?
I thoroughly enjoy the holidays, and I try to find new inspirations that I can draw from.  Right now I’m really into changing the textures and materials of accent pillows, throws and rugs.  I also like to cozy up with softer, warmer textiles when the weather turns crisp and cold.  Think of layering cable knit sweaters, leather boots & cozy cashmere scarves into your home as you would your winter wardrobe.  I also enjoy finding inspiration straight from nature by using dominant seasonal foliage such as branches, berries & pinecones.  When it comes to inspiration, your options are endless and remember to have fun with seasonal décor.

What are your design tips to make a home holiday-entertainment ready?
You should start with a theme – having a good idea of what you want your holiday atmosphere to feel like, smell like and of course look like should be the first step.  You can always save a few pennies and headaches by developing your theme based on your existing holiday décor.  You can then see what you’re missing and add in a few special pieces. Once that’s established go room by room designing little moments that reflect your theme.  You don’t have to overwhelm each space, less can be more, and you can save the grandeur vignettes for the bistro, dining, & kitchen areas of your home.  Think of where you will be entertaining the most, as well as where you want to make the biggest impact. Remember, you can easily create a cohesive design by carrying the same color palette, texture and other elements throughout your home for good holiday cheer!

What are your top 10 Furniture Row products for a creating a cozy holiday design at home?

Below are my Furniture Row favorites that you can incorporate into your home to create a cozy cohesive “Winter Chic” theme for the holidays!

  1. Riviera Sofa – The Riviera sofa has gorgeous classic lines with a modern material.  Its elegance can be paired with fun accent pillows, because although she is classy she is also super comfy!  Feel free to curl up under a yummy throw.
  2. Escape Pouf – The Escape Pouf is another fun way to bring in a punch of color & a heavier texture.  This will also be wonderful for additional seating for your holiday gathering, especially around a cozy crackling fireplace. Escape Accent Pillow is great too. Layer with the Eden teal settee, Riviera sofa & a few dining chairs for a fun accent & winter textile.
  3. Quatrefoil Gold Lamp – The Quatrefoil is a lovely lamp that can double as an accessory that you can put anywhere either illuminated or not.  Nest several together on your dining tables, server & bistro bar for that extra holiday sparkle!
  4. Antiqued Mercury Table Lamp – The Antiqued Mercury lamp is the definition of chic!  You can light up your home with this sparkly lighting element.  It reminds me of the old fashioned blown glass décor from the glam Hollywood era.  Infusing metal elements in your home also brings a nice neutral balance when using saturated color.
  5. Jocelyn Coffee Table – I love the swooping lines of the Jocelyn coffee table.  The X design looks like a pair of skis that you would find in the cute ski village in Whistler.   I also chose this table because it brings in that nice warm wood tone & is a nice complement to the Belle dining table.
  6. Haiku Mirror – The Haiku Mirror is a fabulous pop of holiday red that can be used in any room in your home.  I would create a statement wall with several of the mirrors as though they are like dangling ornaments or starbursts in a chilly winter sky.
  7. Eden Settee – The Eden Settee in teal has a striking appeal when paired with classic holiday red.  Incorporating teal into your holiday décor is a fun, fresh, modern take on cooler tones.  You can use several in your home, as a bench for your dining as well a traditional settee in your living room or even as entry seating in your foyer.
  8. Belle 5 piece Group – The Belle has sleek clean lines in a warm tone & is a good size for an abundant spread for holiday entertaining.  The chairs are pretty enough to stand on their own if extra seating is needed in your other rooms.
  9. Dash Chest – The Dash Chest brings in a nice contrast with white & silver for a little bling & is reminiscent of snow, silver bells & ice crystals.  This is a great piece for a foyer with the Haiku mirror incorporated.  The Dash is definitely a show stopper from our Lost & Found collection.
  10. Cable Knit Accent Pillow in Teal – The teal cable knit accent pillow will be cozy paired with powdery snow inspired style. Cable Knit Throw in Red let you layer up on color & texture with this warm accent paired with a good book & extra hot cup of tea.

For more from our Design Studio experts, be sure to check out Denver’s Randi Gipson, and her savvy style tips. Patricia Weeks of Charlotte also shares some great design insights, while Taylor Haake of Holland, OH shares some super fun fall picks!

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