We admit it: BIPOC designers have been underrepresented here. As we strive to rectify the situation, we want to call attention to a few of our favorite Black interior designers below, along with the reasons we find their projects so inspiring.
Bill Clinton’s post-presidency offices in Harlem are just one of the numerous high-profile projects Sheila has taken on since launching Sheila Bridges Design in 1994. Her Harlem Toile de Jouy, a print that in Sheila’s words “lampoons some of the stereotypes deeply woven into the African American experience,” is in the permanent wallpaper collection of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. Her style (as seen in her own Harlem home) layers color, pattern, and classical elements to create a personalized haven.
The Chicago-based designer founded Tiffany Brooks Interiors in 2007, but she gained nationwide attention after winning HGTV Design Star in 2013. This led to her hosting The Most Embarrassing Rooms in America and becoming the lead designer of the HGTV Smart Home. (Her kitchen from the 2019 Smart Home is at left.) Her spaces are as glamorous as they are wonderfully livable.
Marie Burgos Design has offices in New York and Los Angeles, and Marie herself was born and raised in Paris, lived in London, and has homes in New York and Martinique. She draws on influences from all these locales as well as on the principles of feng shui to create interiors that, no matter how eclectic, are harmonious above all else. For an example, see above.
The Instagram account for Silver Spring, MD-based Iantha Carley Interiors bears the quote “It is a truth universally acknowledged that I have never met a color I didn’t like.” But the rooms Iantha designs never feature color simply for the heck of it. As seen in the room at right, which she designed for a Washington, DC, show house, color is simply one of multiple elements used to create spaces one relishes lingering in.
Forbes + Masters
Singer/songwriter (and Real Housewives of Atlanta stalwart) Kandi Burruss is among the celebrities on the client roster of Tavia Forbes and Monet Masters. Tavia has been known to open her tool chest to build furniture pieces when she can’t find exactly what she wants, while Monet will wield a paintbrush to create the perfect decorative finish. The Atlanta-based duo’s aesthetic may be bold and vivacious, but their interiors are always a reflection of the client.
A love of luxury and an eye for detail are at the heart of Kesha’s style. The room at left is a case in point, as is the home she designed for Colin Kaepernick, which was featured in Elle Decor. She launched her New York-based firm in 2006 as the Beautiful Experience, specializing in event production, but as she focused more on interior design, she renamed it Halden Interiors, after her paternal grandfather.
While many of Carmeon’s designs (like her own dining room at right) are statement-making, others are quieter and more contemplative. That’s because she founded her Memphis-based firm, Nubi Interiors, not so much to promote her own love of boho modern (with plants being an essential finishing touch) but “to not only discover the beauty in all things, but to also help others find that beauty in the things that surround them every day.”
As a fashion stylist, Linda Hayslett worked with the likes of Sandra Oh and Charlize Theron. After refurbishing her own home, however, she decided to train in interior design, eventually founding Los Angeles-based LH.Designs. Named a Next Wave designer by House Beautiful, she creates spaces that are fashionable, as you’d expect, but never beholden to trends, with a “less is more” sensibility.
Beth Diana Smith
Beth worked in accounting and finance before founding New Jersey-based Beth Diana Smith Interior Design, but if you’re expecting staid designs dominated by beige, think again. The self-described “eclectic maximalist” embraces color, pattern, and texture, but not at the expense of comfort, ease, and a sense of serenity. Those in the New York area might have seen Beth’s work at NY NOW Transcend or Design on a Dime, among other show houses.
The founder of Portland, OR-based Duett Interiors, Tiffany credits her “melting pot” aesthetic in part to having lived in diverse cities including New York, Chicago, and Miami. She describes her specialty as “merging cultures with your personal style to transform a space to be uniquely yours.” A glance through her portfolio (including the room at left) shows how adept she is at mixing the sleek with the plush, the audacious with the subtle.