The Best Style Lessons 12 Top Designers Learned From Mom

We're firm believers that great taste can be learned -- it's never too late! But if you were lucky enough to have a stylish mother figure in your life, you may have developed an eye for art and design at a young age. So to celebrate Mother's Day, we asked some of the world's leading interior designers -- from edgy Californian Kelly Wearstler to maximalist New Yorker Miles Redd to free-spirited Londoner Brit Abigail Ahern -- to share how their own moms influenced their style. Read on for touching tales will tug at your heartstrings.


"My mother always took my sister and I to auctions and antique shows. That experience trained my eye from a young age to appreciate anomalies, soulful details, and important design. Mixing pieces from different eras and movements in history is inherent to my aesthetic."


"Whether it was her personal style, entertaining, or decorating, less was always more for my mother. Classic, timeless, easy, and refined are words that come to mind when I think of her -- that's how I'd like my work defined."


"Believe it or not, my mother is more minimal than maximal, but she always allowed me to be exactly who I am. The best piece of advice she ever gave me was to go upstairs and take one thing off. Elegance is refusal."


"My grandmother liked to rearrange and redecorate quite a bit. I remember when the living room became very '70s modern with orange and yellow bean bags, plastic Parsons tables, and macramé wall hangings. She taught me to live in style but not take it too seriously."


"My mother taught me to follow my dreams and let my taste rule my decisions. She also instilled in me the sense that dining is theatrical. It's not literally about the food; it's about the whole experience and the key component is design."


"My stepmother, Jane Langley, had a very strong influence on my design aesthetic because she was a very early proponent of the importance of mixing styles, textures, and periods in order to make a room feel more interesting, layered, and timeless."


"My mother's carefree attitude towards design is the best lesson I've learnt. She was an artist, and one year we might have white walls, and the next, the deepest darkest red. She taught me was not to be tentative about anything: color, scale, pattern, anything. Through her, I let go of niggling doubts about fitting in and followed my own path."


"My mother knew how to make a home comfortable. Growing up in Virginia, I would help her with all the dinner preparations, from setting the table for guests to cutting carrots. She also loved to garden, and grew all kinds of vegetables and flowers. I never thought I would grow up to be a gardener and a person who made a career of making homes comfortable for other people, but I realize now how much I loved those tasks and how much I took from them."


"From all three I have learned one basic thing: appreciation for the collected heirloom. My grandmother filled her home with paintings, sculpture, photos, jade ashtrays, and wonderful English highboys that made her house so elegantly rich. Both my mom and stepmom have done the same and feature old family furniture pieces, art, and portraits that make a room. Good energy follows great family pieces."


"My mother traveled internationally for work constantly, and I had a globe in my bedroom growing up that I looked at to see where she was traveling. I recently designed this kid's bedroom with a map on the wall. Their parents recently traveled to Paris, and I just had visions of the twins reading it, much like I did as a kid."


"I have my mother to thank for exposing me to simple, timeless design elements. Things like solid slipcovers with contrast piping, white sheets with scalloped edges, ceramic table lamps, and blue and white asian pottery. She wasn't into trends, but our house was classically tasteful. I didn't get it growing up but now I appreciate that so much."


"My mother had an amazing sense of style, and she gave me complete artistic license to do what I wanted in my own room. She got all the house mags monthly, and was always thumbing through them, leaving notes and tearing pages out. Having just lost her, I really see the influence she had on me. In hindsight, her style and sense of unpretentiousness has left a lasting impression. She made life look easy and having fun a must."

What's the greatest style lesson you learned the mom in your life? Please share below or tweet us @DomaineHome.

Photographs: Courtesy of Vicente Wolf, Andrew Arthur for Domaine (Kelly Wearstler portrait), Sukio (Wearstler room), Courtesy of Mark D. Sikes (portrait), Amy Neunsinger for House Beautiful (Sikes room), Assouline (Redd portrait), Courtesy of Miles Redd (room), Courtesy of Jeff Andrews (portrait), Grey Crawford for Jeff Andrews Design (rooms, Courtesy of Vicente Wolf (portrait and room), Roger Davies for Architectural Digest (Corrigan portrait and room), Courtesy of Abigail Ahern, John Bessler (Bunny Williams portrait), Courtesy of Bunny Williams (room), Courtesy of Will Wick (portrait and room), Courtesy of Betsy Burnham (portrait and room), Jose Leon for Domaine (Ireland portrait), Courtesy of Kathryn Ireland (room)