‘Trading Spaces’ designer meets fans, signs books

Online Poster

Online Poster

By Jessica Schuh

More than 250 people flocked to the Illini Union Bookstore (IUB) Saturday afternoon for a book signing by Doug Wilson of TLC’s Trading Spaces. His new book, Doug’s Rooms: Transforming Your Space One Room at a Time, simplifies interior decorating for readers.

Fans waited in line on the second floor of the bookstore while Wilson signed their books, chatted with them and posed for photographs.

Lizzie White, who described herself as a big Trading Spaces fan, drove from Indianapolis to meet Wilson and get her book signed.

“It’s awesome,” White said of the book. “I already read it.”

IUB holds 60 book signings each year, said Franne Davis, assistant director of IUB general books. She said Wilson’s signing has been one of the most popular events.

“We’ve had a lot of enthusiasm (about the event),” Davis said.

Wilson, who is originally from central Illinois, attended the University and studied theater and voice before moving to New York.

Wilson said he enjoys coming back to campus.

“It’s always interesting to come back and see how things have changed,” Wilson said.

The new book breaks down design for people who are interested in designing their own space, Wilson said. In the book, Wilson explains and simplifies principles such as proportion and scale, furniture placement, color and lighting.

“There are many more aspects to design, but you can’t hit people with a zillion different things all at once,” he said. “This (book) is to help fans of decorating decorate better, not turn you into a professional designer.”

When he travels around the country talking about design, Wilson said people often ask how to start a design project.

“People see all these design shows, and they get all these ideas, but yet it’s very difficult for the ordinary home decorator to get started,” Wilson said.

One chapter gives readers examples of how objects can inspire the design of a room, he said.

“I start with basically a ‘kick start,’ something I find, something that inspires me to come up with an idea,” he said.

Wilson shows components of how ordinary objects, such as a handbag, a scarf or a box of chocolates can be incorporated into the design of a room.

“This is something that you just might like. You like the colors, the texture and the look of it,” he said. “If you like that sort of thing … maybe you can live like that and put those colors and that feel into a space.”

Wilson said all the design ideas in the book can be used in small spaces like dorm rooms and apartments.

“Just because you have a small space doesn’t mean you can’t decorate like you would a larger space,” he said. “I don’t feel like just because a room is small you have to paint it white. You make it cozy and interesting and inviting.”

Wilson’s fans at the signing were excited to see him in person, and one woman even presented him with a large portrait she painted of him based on the cover of his book.

Shelbyville, Ill., resident Lindsey Tull said she met Wilson last week when he was doing a signing in Savoy last week and painted the portrait to do something besides just showing up. Tull said she is a fan of TLC’s Trading Spaces and was excited to have another opportunity to meet Wilson.