Interior designers are constantly crafting, innovating, and giving clients the homes of their dreams, tackling an innumerable amount of spaces in their career. But every designer has unforgettable projects that defined their career or design style—and we were lucky enough to gain insight on these moments from some of our favorite designers this past year.
Each story brought us light and lots of inspiration, and we’re rounding up our favorite design tips that we learned from top designers. Scroll on for our biggest design takeaways of the year, all sourced from our incredible experts.
Focus on More Color
Emily Henderson designs such a wide range of spaces, from Scandi and neutral to maximal and full of color. What made this space unforgettable for her, though, was its sunlight, strong energy, and fearlessness when it comes to playing with color.
“Rarely do you get to use so many bold colors and patterns and weird vintage pieces,” Henderson says. “It’s actually influencing me now, as I’m at a ‘reject the all-white’ stage and wanting to focus more on color this year." Though neutrals will always be in style, be unafraid to take a risk in your space with a jewel-toned accent.
Home Offices Deserve Lots of Love
The home office was once a storage space for our seasonal decorations and old files, but it is now arguably one of the most integral parts of our homes. Ruqiya Imtiaz of Studio RIU created this sleek office in her parent’s home, and what made it even more special were the personal touches from the family that made its way into the space.
“Adding the bookshelves, which tell a story from one end to the next, along with housing all the books, collected treasures, and sentimental items was so meaningful to me,” Imtiaz says. “They include homemade art, family heirlooms, and vintage collected treasures mixed with modern casual decor.” Putting a personal stamp on your home office will motivate you to do your best work—and keep in mind what’s most important to you.
Bolder is Better
Why play it safe in a small space like a bathroom? Maximize the room’s impact with the addition of bold wallpaper and luxe accents, as perfected by Laquita Tate in her own bathroom. Artful and daring, Tate is unafraid to mix patterns in this space and encourages her clients to do the same.
"The room influenced my other projects by encouraging me to not hold back on my design choices for my clients," Tate explains. "I am now pushing them to try some elements that are a bit bolder instead of playing it safe."
Or, Keep it Classic and Neutral
Just because you’re designing a neutral room doesn’t have to mean it is simplistic. This sunroom by Bria Hammel is all about the details, from the vaulted ceilings to the luxe finishing touches that make the space truly memorable.
One elevated feature of the space—and a design tip from Hammel—is the decision to leave the top set of windows uncovered and add treatments to the bottom ones. “We created the perfect balance that left this room feeling bright, open, and airy,” Hammel says.
Timeless Elements Give Unique Character
This chic and steel NYC oasis is the perfect balance of timeless and modern from designer Becky Shea. A key part of the design was the restoration of original elements to the space, from a fire-damaged beam in the kitchen to utilizing steel as an ode to Soho’s industrial roots.
“One of our guiding principles throughout the design was to creatively utilize every square inch of the space in a way that felt true to the artist-soho loft style with a modern approach in functionality,” Shea says. A space is defined by its previous history, and preserving pieces of that makes a unique mark on your space.
Persevere Through the Tough Times
The completion of this gorgeous office space by Candace Mary Griffin had its fair share of setbacks thanks to COVID-19. The hands-on final touches are what Griffin loves most as a designer, and unfortunately that experience was completely altered this past year.
"Vendors were closed and deliveries were delayed," Griffin says. "I typically love the final step in a design project when I shop for styling and finishing pieces, but I couldn't do that. Instead I had to order the items online—which makes it harder to visualize how they will all come together—and go to smaller boutiques with appointment-only options. It ended up being pretty tricky to pull it all together in a timely manner."
But designers will stop at nothing to give their clients exactly what they want, and this home office definitely delivered. Sometimes, design can be a welcome escape from reality, and persevering through troubling times yields amazing results.