When it comes to living beautifully, Mario Buatta has more than a few opinions on the matter.  With a signature style that celebrates traditional glamour yet still maintains an easy, unstyled touch, Buatta has an eye for detail, a nose for the bogus and a flare for the beautiful, all of which make him an excellent arbiter of taste. Catching up over tea in New York recently, he gave us his tips on living beautifully at home. Best sit up and listen…

Scale is extremely important in the home: A big mistake people make is with proportions. They don’t realize that if you put a canopy bed in a small room, it will make the room feel gigantic.  Small rooms take big things, and in big rooms, you can’t put small things – they look really dinky.

Use Color: I love color. Blue, white and yellow is my favorite color combination.

Think of comfort when arranging your furniture: Your guests must be comfortable.  Look at your furniture the day after a party and see how your friends have pulled things around to create conversation groupings, then rearrange it like that.

I love Fresh Flowers: White tulips are my favorite, and I like big green plants in the house.

Wrinkled clothes make your skin look less wrinkled! I think about patterns and fabrics, but I don’t think much about what I wear. I don’t really like to get dressed. I mean, I’m not a nudist, but I don’t like to get dressed.

A perfect host leaves you alone. She sleeps in her guest room a couple of nights prior to when her guests come, to make sure everything is comfortable. Rooms have to be tested to make sure everything is there.

When you are arranging things, you want it to look natural, like the things were always there and it didn’t just happen on purpose. What I choose to put on a client’s bedside table is always very personal, but a vase comes into mind, and you have to think whether it should have 1 flower, 3 flowers, 5 flowers etc. Tables should always have a lamp and 5 other items, so it’s not too even.

Don’t be too serious about what you collect. One of my favorite things is a clock with a monkey’s face on it that I have on my bedside table. I also love to collect bird and dog paintings and porcelains. I have so many paintings and porcelains and all that silly stuff, I have too much stuff! It is time for a deaccession.