How Interior Stylists Decorate Their Own Homes
One of the best ways to become good at something is to spend endless time practicing and honing your craft; and the same goes for interior decorating. Filling your space with importance and wonder may not be easy, but it’s definitely worth the work to have a home that encourages and embraces you after a long day.
Perhaps one great shortcut to becoming an experienced designer is to take some hints from the experts who’ve gone through the hard work. Take a look at some of the ideas that you can gratuitously snag from these pros.
Justina Blakeney - Los Angeles, California
Image Credit: www.jungalow.com
Justina Blakeney is a Los Angeles designer and artist, who’s also the author of NY Times Bestseller The New Bohemians: Cool and Collected Homes. As you may have guessed, she’s curated a style full of boho aesthetic as well as incorporating flora and greens in her works. She paints the textures and patterns in her collections by hand. Her aptly-branded Jungalow®, brings a combination of jungle themes to bohemian style. Blakeney takes influence from her multi-ethnic heritage and upbringing that is present throughout her work.
Justina is active on Instagram and frequently features her own home as a source of inspiration.
Malene Batelier - Brooklyn, New York
Malene Batelier's home. Photo by Max Burkhalter
Malene Batelier works from an inspired place to create a vast array of collections, including paintings, claywork and bespoke carpets. Barnett’s roots are deep in Caribbean culture, and she pulls designs from brilliant colours and textures into her fine art collection. Her art on canvas is the basis of her interior lines of design, bringing fine art to a more accessible medium for homeowners. One of her most accomplished collections is her luxury handmade carpets, often in abstract designs, undefinable shades in different pile heights and various materials like silks or wools. Malene works in the story of Black women, distilling the essence to a point where pain, hope and possibility come together. She’s incredibly fond of teals, blues and greens that reflect sunlit Caribbean waters.
Emily Handerson - Los Angeles, California
Image Credit: stylebyemilyhenderson.com
After winning HGTV’s Design Star, Emily Henderson’s career was launched into the design world with her own show Secrets from a Stylist. Henderson’s experience as a prop stylist has given her an ability to create showcase homes for television, though she draws the distinction between stylist and designer in order to beautify real homes. A stylist cares about how something looks for a set, and less about practicality; whereas a designer looks at the form, function and fit for the particular homeowners--something potentially sharp and breakable isn’t great in the home of a toddler. One of her best tips: splurge on big pieces that set your home apart, and worry about details less.
Corey Damens - Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Corey Damen has quite a few accolades in his design career, including front covers of shelter magazines. While his signature is bold, bright colours and vivid patterns, Damen works to his clients’ personalities and lets that be his guiding light. He opts for timeless, classic looks for homes so that it’s never out of style when the latest trend is gone. Big inspiration for Damen comes from runway fashion, to pull luxe materials straight from the catwalk. His self-described style combines continental with modernity. Damen own home shies away from the fancy, as he opts for a relatable aesthetic that is not a museum, but rather a salute to tradition. He’s a fan of mixing dissimilar pieces in a way that still balances to play in perfect harmony.
Step into Corey Damen Jenkins' condo and learn his personal take on style here.
Orlando Soria - Los Angeles, California
Orlando Soria's parents' house. Photo by Zeke Ruelas
Orlando Soria shakes up traditional gender roles with his Hommemaker blog that emphasizes and celebrates male domesticity. Accessible to all, but focused on breaking down these barriers, Soria’s blog Hommemaker (a tongue-in-cheek play on “homemaker” and “homme” meaning man), strives to be inclusive, humourous, and eco-friendly with encouraging finding great style pieces from flea-markets, antique shops and second-hand. Soria deeply believes in finding the artist within and ascribes to the value that something you’ve made is intrinsically greater than something store-bought. Soria is also keen on learning from others, having been Emily Henderson’s assistant on Secrets from a Stylist. Now on Unspouse my House, Soria helps heal broken hearts of recently-singled people with interior design to give them back agency as they reclaim their home in the post-breakup blues.
Ariel Ashe - New York City
Ariel Ashe in her apartment. Photo by Brittany Ambridge
Ariel Ashe combines her design talent with Reinaldo Leandro architectural prowess in their shared design firm. They’ve worked with the likes of Seth Meyers to create warm, welcoming home spaces. Ashe’s self-described style in her own home is a blend of antiques and ethnic inspirations with modern flair. Her NYC apartment is filled with a collection that has been in the making for years as she picks up pieces rejected from other clients, her parents and gifts all dating back to 2002 when she first began interior design. Starting from scratch, Ashe chooses layout, colour palette and a budget and uses these as a springboard to dive into her work. As Ashe puts it, working hard is the best way to get better at interior design. Developing your own style through travelling, art and reading is simple and practical advice for not only design, but curating a wonderful life.
One of the common themes across this set of interior designers is that they find inspiration for their craft over many different experiences and mediums. Letting something important guide your interior is a great way in ensuring that your space has good flow, tells a story and is aesthetically pleasing. It can be a book, or an adventure or a piece of art that you’ve resonated with.
Most designers recommend starting with the basics and not getting too caught up in the details. After all, with big pieces in place, it’s easier to overlook the tiny touches that may or may not be all that meaningful. Consider blending styles or themes that you identify with, regardless of whether they are similar or disparate. You can fit a lot in space to tell your story, and having contrary elements can make it all the more interesting. Creating the story of your interior is a personal journey and only truly requires that you seek out meaning to make your space a livable wonder.