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Sara Colombo, the expert

By Maria Tettamanti

Don’t be fooled by the blonde mane and striking come-hither looks. When it comes to creating stunning surroundings, Sara Colombo is more than a pretty face. She’s a virtuoso. Since 2008, Colombo (wife of powerhouse developer Ugo Colombo and mom of two) has been making Miami homes prettier places, compliments of her interior décor store, Nest Casa. As for Nest’s famously impeccable selection of furniture, lighting and accessories, Colombo touts her modeling career and its inevitable travels as the explanation for her discerning eye. “I’m not an interior designer, it’s not what I’m trained to do,” Colombo said. “What I like to do is hunt for objects and things you can’t find anywhere else.” Colombo handpicks Nest’s unique collection from Italy, France, Belgium and other faraway places. While her recently relocated Design District-based showroom focuses on furniture, lighting and fabrics, Colombo is already planning her next expansion: she’s opening another accessories boutique at Bal Harbour Shops in May. Here, Colombo shares some of her best advice for making your home beautiful:

EMBRACE COLOR: “A lot of people are afraid of living with the same hue for many years, so I always tell them to start off by using colorful throw pillows and cashmere throws that don’t require the same commitment. Brightly colored accessories like colored glass or acrylic objects can make a space pop. Of course, I’m not afraid of color so in my favorite room in my house—a little sunroom filled with books—I used a turquoise sofa with chocolate brown piping and it’s super chic!”

KNOW WHAT YOU NEED: “From an architectural standpoint, people need to be clear on what the space they’re designing or creating is going to be used for. Is it a work or play area? Knowing this dictates how to decorate and how to utilize the space to its best potential.”

GET COZY: “While I appreciate a modern aesthetic, I’m not a fan of cold spaces. I gravitate toward warm ones, and by using warmer textiles you can warm up a home. For example, in my Aspen home, I used a grey flannel fabric and it keeps everything neutral but still cozy. You can also add warmth through lighting. I covet new artist Jeremy Cole, whose lighting fixtures are handmade from porcelain.”

SAY NO TO BARE WALLS: Art changes everything, Colombo says, and the right piece of art can significantly alter the way you see a room. Finding what you love is highly personal and few rules apply—just trust your instinct. "I am a huge art collector, but art doesn’t have to mean you have a Jeff Koons hanging on your wall. If you can’t splurge on art, a great go-to is photography. And if you love a certain photo, try creating a gallery-style print for your home.

DON’T FORGET THE BLOSSOMS: “To finish off a space, living plants are essential. I love orchids or a ficus lyrata for a ’70s vibe. In my home, I use ponytail palms because they don’t take up too much space. I am also loving the pencil cactus!” When you’re picking a plant, she says, take into account the lighting and try hearty indoor plants like the fiddleleaf fig, snake plants, English ivy and ferns.

Nest, 120 East 39th Street, Miami; 877-661-0417;