6 Interior Designer Interviews Reveal Their Trade Secrets

Check out advice with all things interior design from 6 seasoned professionals in the business.  Below are highlights from the various blogs about their design style, mistakes, and inspiration. Borrow advice from those who are in the business to see the trends come and go, and the hallmark styles that gives these designers an edge in business.

1.  Emily Eerdman

Highlights From Emily Eerdmans On All The Best Blog

Emily Evans Eerdmans is a design historian and an instructor at the New York School of Interior Design and the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.  Find Emily’s books on Amazon

Do you have a personal favorite period or style?

My favorite period of design for the decorative arts is late 18th century neoclassicism –whether Louis XVI, early Regency, or Swedish Gustavian. Josephine’s house Malmaison is perfection. But, if I had to choose my favorite period of interior decoration, it would be the high style traditionalism of the 1930s and 40s—Emilio Terry, Syrie Maugham, David Adler/Frances Elkins, Henri Samuel, and Madeleine Castaing of course!

When it comes to your own home, how would you describe your style?

English Country House with all its layers, mix of periods, and bold colors. I am definitely an accumulator and find it hard to let go of things.

One of my darkest secrets is my addiction to fabric websites – invariably I’ll buy 10 yards of a Clarence House Epingle or a Brunschwig Lampas, and then change my mind entirely on a decorating scheme. However, I don’t think I could ever hire a decorator because I take so much pleasure in worrying over every little decision.

Who are your style icons?

Diana Vreeland for her zest and fearlessness. Karl Lagerfeld for his polymathic creativity and curiosity.


Emily EerdmansEmily Eerdman Seen On littleaugury.blogspot.com/

2. Melania Terrieri

Highlights From Melania Terrieri Seen on Interior Design Style

Melania is an interior designer in Italy. She has a formal degree in Conservation and Renovation of Cultural Heritage. She specializes in merchandising, home staging and event design.  Find Melania at design of Soul

What has been your key to success?

I’m not be influenced by trends but I listen to the customers then harmonize their desires and their needs with my knowledge.

What are the most common decorating mistakes made by homeowners?

Many people believe that a design element, is suitable for any environment… many people believe that just because they spend lot of money, heir space will be well furnished. Most of the time, things do not work out.

3. Pip McCully

Highlights From The Design Files

Pip McCully and Georgina Armstrong of interior design studio Wonder, both studied interior design at RMIT, finishing in 2003 and 2005. After each spending a few years each working at various firms, the pair fortuitously re-united at Hecker Phelan & Guthrie (as it was then known) in 2007. Two years later, after refining their skills while working at HP&G, Georgina and Pip were offered their first independent design project, and jumped at the chance. It was then that they formed their studio, Wonder, on September 1st 2009.

Which designers, artists or creative people are you inspired by?

Architect Vincent Van Duysen for his alluring balance of texture and form, fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld for his commercial creativity and photographer Tim Walker for his parallel sense of wonder………

What are your top 5 go-to resources for creative inspiration – ie 5 magazines / books / websites you regularly visit for creative inspiration…?

JJJJound blog for the precision in his selection of inspiring imagery, Elle Décor magazine for their wonderful coverage of international design trends, Dutch magazine The Gentlewoman for their motivating anecdotes of successful women, Russh magazine for a fabulous mix of fashion & fun and lastly our own Library which has scans, notes and images from our abundance of personal research.

4.Elaine Griffin

Highlights from Blue Label Bungalow

A Yale-educated native of Georgia (B.A., Art History) who studied postgraduate at the New York School of Interior Design, Elaine began her design career in the office of architectural behemoth Peter Marino, following a nine-year career as a publicist in New York and Paris. She is the contributing editor, design, for Better Homes & Gardens, a former contributing and special projects editor at Elle Decor and is ranked as one of House Beautiful’s Top 100 American Designers. Elaine Griffin Interior Design

Define your signature style.

The one design rule I never break is that rooms should look like the people who live in them. So while I don’t have a signature style that’s as immediately recognizable as some of my other colleagues (because if a client wants modern, we do modern, and so forth), what you’ll always see in my work is warmth, coziness (even in an igloo), color and texture, and an interesting (I hope!) combination of patterns, texture, finishes and styles.

What are some of your favorite finishing touches when designing a room?

Every room should have a collection of objects that look like they were accumulated on travels around the world. Note I said “look like” – because I believe in hitting stores with fab accessories like HomeGoods to get those objects, if a client has been too busy to get to “take world tour” on their “to-do” list! Without the personalizing little things that say “so-and-so lives here,” rooms look like elegant, sterile hotel suites where no one permanently resides.

Also, coffee table styling can be hard to do, so here’s my no-fail formula: a pretty tray, a stack of 2 or 3 coffee table books, a sculptural object like a seashell (5 – 8” tall max), a decorative box, and a small bouquet of flowers or little house plant somewhere like on top of the tray. With at least three of these or more, depending on your coffee table’s size, you’re golden!

5. Timothy Corrigan

Highlights From Design Elements Blog

Timothy Corrigan is an interior designer with offices in Los Angeles and Paris. His firm, Timothy Corigan, Inc. specializes in interior design and incorporates antiques into most of its projects. Some of his work is in the homes of European and Middle Eastern royalty, and Hollywood celebrities. Corrigan has been named one of Architectural Digest’s AD100:World’s Top Interior Designers and Architects. Timothy Corrigan

Is there a designer that has influenced you?

Jean-Charles Moreux who lived in Paris from 1889 to 1956 did it all. He was an architect, he designed interiors, he created furniture and he did landscape design. In short, he was a true renaissance man. He believed, as I do, in the importance of creating a fully integrated environment. Moreux’s furniture took classical forms as their basis and then shifted it to make it feel more contemporary, provocative, fresh and alive. He mixed wood finishes and materials in unexpected ways. He played with perspective and color. When you see his rooms you are reminded of the past and yet they seem very suited for the day.

The other designer who has played a huge role in my life is New York designer, Vicente Wolf. While at first glance we may appear not to have much in common from a design perspective, we both approach design on the premise that by mixing pieces of different styles, periods, textures and quality you appreciate each one more. Contrast creates spaces that are intrinsically exciting and alive. I hate spaces that look too perfect or “decorated.” Vicente has also been such a great inspiration in the way he manages it all: he runs a successful design business, is a brilliant photographer, designs lines of his own furniture and fabrics and is a great collector of photography!

What are the most commonly held misconceptions about designers?

Many people think that designers are out of reach for them from a financial perspective…there are designers for every budget. Using a designer can end up saving you money because they have great resources to get things made less expensively and can bring ideas and materials that you couldn’t find on your own. Finally, they bring a level of experience that can help you avoid making costly mistakes in the first place.

What is your idea what a beautiful home should feel like?

No matter how beautiful a space is, it is not entirely successful if it is not completely comfortable; you need to feel that you can make yourself at home in that space in order for it to be a successfully designed space. Deborah Needleman, the fabulous editor of the Wall Street Journal wrote about this aspect of my design style like this: “Most principles of good design are truly universal, not size or income dependent…Comfort doesn’t have to mean paper plates and sweatpants. It can be elegant, and something we can achieve no matter where we make our home.” When I read that I felt so good about having succeeded in my primary design objective.

6. Jennifer Mitchell

Highlights from Interior Design Style

Jennifer is an interior designer in the Detroit Metropolitan area.   She is also a founding editor and writer of Design Hole, a blog dedicated to interior design.

 When you view a vendor’s website, what is the most important factor when deciding to buy an item, i.e. photographic presentation, accurate description, quality, design, location etc.?

Make it easy to navigate! Let me get the information I need quickly. Don’t make me sit through “intros”. I think all online companies should take a look at Zappos. They really get it. I want to see a large image. If a product comes in various finishes, I want to see the product in all of those finishes. It’s nice to see it in a room setting to get a sense of scale. An accurate description regarding construction and dimensions are imperative. I like a good return policy as well. Let’s face it – online no one can really see what a product looks like – especially when it comes to color. Let me buy several items and return the one that doesn’t work.

What advice do you have for someone with a new house to decorate and perhaps a limited budget?

Spend some time living in the space before you do anything – one month at least. You’ll spend that time discovering how you really use the space. You get a sense of the light. You have a chance to figure out what you like and what you don’t.

Choose furniture wisely. Base the paint colors on the furniture – not the other way around. Repaint things, recover things, learn to sew.

What are the most common decorating mistakes made by homeowners? How would you correct those mistakes?

I’m always stressing on Design Hole that the paint comes last. All too often, people paint first. I know it’s difficult to live with someone else’s maroon living room, but painters are expensive. It’s worth the wait to make a plan first. Choose the things you really want first – like the sofa. Or plan around something you really love. Paint comes in every color imaginable. Sofas don’t.