New White Paper from Mary Cook Associates Explores the Power of Ornamentation in Interior Design

CHICAGO--()--Chicago-based Mary Cook Associates (MCA), a national, award-winning commercial interior design firm, today published a white paper entitled “Mastering the Art of Embellishment: The Power of Significant + Relevant Ornamentation.” The paper discusses ornamentation as a design fundamental that elevates the aesthetics of spaces and measurably improves performance of a built environment as well as the mood and well-being of its occupants.

The science of ornamentation has evolved beyond simply ‘decorating’ a space with some pillows and pictures and calling it a day,” said Mary Cook, president and founder of MCA. “Today’s designers, builders and developers need to take a researched approach to ornamentation – one that is informed by an understanding of the end-user – in order to maximize a design’s potential and deliver tangible returns. Much like the role seasoning plays in cooking, the right ornamentation enhances the final product by harmoniously tying all the elements together.”

Topics discussed in the white paper include:

  • Choosing significant, relevant ornamentation: Successful ornamentation grabs attention, connects to the cultural experiences of those who use the space and enhances the design’s overall aesthetic.
  • Striking the right balance: Ornamentation’s only purpose is to add beauty and interest, but too little can leave a space feeling cold while too much can become unappealing clutter.
  • Paying homage to local character: Ornamentation is an ideal opportunity to reflect an area’s local architecture style or neighborhood vibe.
  • Creating measurable returns: Impactful ornamentation, when combined with other design fundamentals, transforms underperforming spaces to produce measurable returns for owners and better experiences for users.

“Mastering the Art of Embellishment” is the final in a series of white papers from MCA sharing insights from the firm’s proprietary seven fundamentals of interior design methodology and identifying opportunities for builders and developers to respond to the shifting paradigm of home.

View or download the full white paper as a PDF at

For more information about Mary Cook Associates, visit

About Mary Cook Associates:

Established in 1986, Mary Cook Associates (MCA) is a fully integrated interior architecture and design firm nationally known for creating innovative interiors for leading owners and developers of real estate. The firm’s projects include multifamily, model homes, student living, senior living, clubhouses, restaurants, and hospitality environments. MCA’s work emphasizes functionality, showcases possibilities, and delivers a measurable Return on Environment (ROE℠). MCA’s team includes more than two dozen designers and architects that are strategic, imaginative and skilled at designing a wide variety of spaces that respond to demographic, geographic and lifestyle influences of target markets. Smart, functional spaces that establish immediate connections with their users and boost Living Better by Design℠, increase property value, and accelerate sales and occupancy rates are the hallmarks of the results MCA consistently achieves. In its 37th year, the firm continues to expand its national presence with award-winning work across the country.


To schedule an interview, contact Sarah Lyons at (312) 267-4520 or

Release Summary

New white paper from Mary Cook Associates entitled “Mastering the Art of Embellishment" discusses ornamentation as a design fundamental.


To schedule an interview, contact Sarah Lyons at (312) 267-4520 or