Monarch Paint and Wallcovering

Meet The Decorator- Nicole Carter


Nicole Carter is a 12 year veteran of the home decor business with an outstanding reputation in creating custom window treatments, upholstery and slipcover projects.  As a former proprietor of her own custom drapery business, Nicole brings to Monarch’s Decor Department valued relationships with vendors of fabric, drapery hardware and hard window treatments to support Monarch’s growing clientele and tastes.  Nicole’s customer service philosophy is one of providing superior service while helping clients feel confident about their design choices.  Ms. Carter is a Certified Color for Your Home Consultant who has been trained by international color consultant Kate Smith of Sensational Color. Nicole’s excellent window treatment design, fabrication and measuring skills make her a true asset to the Monarch’ Decor Team.

We decided to ask her a few questions about her approach to decorating.

What led you to work in the decorating/design business?

I was drawn into the business by my husband and his family. I also have always been an avid DIY person.  So I see something that I love in design and would dream of how to do it in my own home.  The funny thing is I find that after so many projects my design style is honed, but not drastically changed.

Tell us about your first decorating project?

I clearly remember my design instructor saying that while we were students, no one was allowed to work on their own homes because it would not have a clear ending.  We would get through about two-thirds of our design project and then scrap it and start all over. She really encouraged us to have a client, someone to answer to, and to have an end point.

So I found a neighbor who wanted her main floor redone.  I twisted the arms of my family and friends to help me move furniture and objects around to refresh the neighbor’s space. As a result, my neighbor was very gracious and enthusiastic with the results.   I realized that the whole assignment was beneficial with helping me create and stick with a plan.

How would you describe your personal decorating style?  I would describe my style as bright and modern.

nicole to sherry

Photo Courtesy of Nicole Carter

What inspires you in design or decorating? 

Anything mid century modern.  Natural elements.  Anything white- all shades of white. Furniture and decor that functions beautifully.  I have this thing about hand blown glass. It’s amazing!!!

What design “rule” would you love to break?

I am not sure if it is a “rule” to break or just not seen as often- painted wood floors.  So I would like to advocate that my clients paint their wood floors instead of simply refinishing them.

What is the most essential element of any room?

To me function- what are you using the room for?  Not what the room is identified as on the floor plan.

When you start working with a new client, what are three things you tell them about the way you work?

First, tell me about your design style and budget.

I prefer to use images rather than drawings to convey a design.

I like to work in stages.  I really like clients to proceed with the pieces they feel confident about- “putting their toes in the water” so to speak.   Then we can move on with the other items they feel less secure about.


Photo Courtesy of Nicole Carter


What do you think about the 2016 Benjamin Moore Color Trends Palette?  Do you have a favorite color in the palette that you most like to decorate with?  

I have used OC-117 Simply White (Benjamin Moore’s 2016 Color of the Year) for years and I love it.  I also like Enchanted 2070-50 and Gray Owl OC-52.

  Photo Courtesy of Benjamin Moore

What advice would you give someone choosing the perfect paint color?  

Look at decorating websites for inspiration.  However, I would advise that my clients to purchase a sample of a color and test it first.

When it comes to window treatments, how do you advise your clients about what would work best?  

Again, I think it all starts with function.  If the room is one that the client uses to entertain guests, we may consider some creating a window treatment that will create drama.  If it is a bathroom, we would want to select a treatment that would be easy to clean.  For a bedroom, to control light we may consider treatments with a black out lining or opaque blinds.

Finally, what is it about interior decor that designs better lives?  Beauty and simplicity.

Interested in working with Nicole for your next decorating project?  To contact Nicole please call our Decor Department at our Chevy Chase store at 202-525-3468 or email her at to book an appointment.

This entry was published on February 10, 2016 at 2:36 pm. It’s filed under Color Consultation, Decorating, Interior Design, Meet the Decorator, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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