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10 Top Interior Designers Share Their Home Upgrade Secrets


Interior design can be both intimidating and confusing, hence the proliferation of sites like Decorist and Homepolish, that match consumers with remote and affordable interior designers, and Modsy, that allow people to visualize their decorated space, and purchase what they like. For those who’d like to learn about interior design the classic way, there’s a new book out: Interior Design Master Class: 100 Lessons from America’s Finest Designers on the Art of Decoration (Rizzoli). Here, our ten favorite interiors and the advice that each decorator followed to achieve it.

For Brad Ford, handmade pieces have an undeniable energy invested in them. Natural materials—wood, clay, leather, wool, or plant fibers—will make warm and approachable interiors. Especially in large cities, natural textures are needed even more. Unlike mass-produced goods, artisanal pieces add a layer of soul and simple luxury. You may not be able to afford the $24,000 credenza above, but a handmade vintage piece would fit the bill.


Get inspired by your favorite things.

Stephen Shadley often draws inspiration from movies—from the vibrant and unexpected colors in The Grand Budapest Hotel to the enviable open floor plan and perfect kitchen in Something’s Gotta Give. While his clients include actual movie stars, like Jennifer Aniston and Diane Keaton, you can follow his lead by using your favorite films and shows for inspiration in your own home. What color schemes, fabrics, items speak to you? For some, vintage details like the “California” sign in Diane Keaton’s home, above, adds just the right amount of rustic charm.


Don’t force a design onto a space.

As with all of their projects, partners Daniel Sachs and Kevin Lindores focused on how to create a sense of place in the Bowery loft of artists Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin. Whether it’s painting baseboards and crown moldings the same light color as the walls to create a blank canvas for art, or covering the ceiling of a narrow and dimly lit entryway to make the following space appear lighter, try to work with your space rather than fight it.


Solve problems with creative thinking.

Interior designers like Celeste Cooper are also adept problem solvers—they can fit a home office, media room, and guest room in the smallest of spaces and hide the most extensive home entertainment systems. In the apartment above, high gloss ceiling and a reflective floor helped extend light through the apartment.

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