Once shrouded behind fabric samples and paint color swatches, the creative minds behind popular interior design trends have stepped into the limelight. Today’s most famous interior designers are celebrities in their own right, as they boast TV deals, collaborate with national retailers, amass Instagram followings, and work with A-list clients.
We detail the rise of seven celebrity designers, document their signature style, and divulge their top tips for styling a home. For industry insider commentary, we spoke with Tatiana Machado-Rosas, senior interior designer at Jackson Design and Remodeling in San Diego, CA. Named one of the top 50 design innovators in the nation, Machado-Rosas chatted with us about celebrity-inspired interior design — and tips for achieving a similar vibe in your own home.
Joanna Gaines: Let some rooms breathe
Before breaking out as a celebrity designer, serial entrepreneur Joanna Gaines and her husband, Chip, started as shop owners in Waco, TX, and later focused on their home construction business. In 2013, HGTV launched Fixer Upper, the reality show documenting the Gaines’ work as they transformed run-of-the-mill homes into drool-worthy living spaces. The show introduced Joanna’s token farmhouse style to wider audiences and catapulted the duo to celebrity status.
Today, the Gaines’ home accessories line, Magnolia, lines the shelves at Target stores across the country. And the couple is moving back into the spotlight with a new venture, Magnolia Network, that reboots their popular Fixer Upper series.
Gaines is best known for a vintage farmhouse vibe layered with industrial chic. Think whitewashed walls, warehouse-style barn lights, and metal dining chairs. Gaines’ name is also synonymous with shiplap, the interior wall siding trend with origins in the maritime industry.
Whether you prefer minimalist design or a bevy of design accouterments, “It’s always good to find a balance, letting some rooms ‘breathe,’ so that it never feels too crowded,” Gaines says to Elle Decor.
Similarly, Machado-Rosas warns against overwhelming a space with too many patterns and colors. “Be careful not to oversaturate,” she says.
Nate Berkus: Stick with a neutral color palette — especially for a small space
Berkus first appeared on Oprah in 2002, and his recurring guest appearances on the daytime talk show cemented his status as a celebrity designer. Berkus’s additional television credits include The Nate Berkus Show, NBC’s American Dream Builders, and TLC’s Nate & Jeremiah By Design.
The designer has launched product line collaborations with Target, The Shade Store, and Living Spaces, a California-based furniture retailer.
Berkus’ signature style evokes a classic, timeless feel with a neutral color palette — black, white, and earthy browns, plus oranges and blues for a pop of color. He prefers clean lines, leaning toward modern elegance set in a traditional foundation. Sculptural statement pieces, such as Berkus’s trio of mixed media nesting tables, transform everyday living areas into gallery-like spaces.
When it comes to designing a small space, Berkus prefers neutral palettes. “A lot of people in design might disagree with me, but I’ve found that using a series of layered textures and layered neutrals — and things that have patina and character — are really better in a small space than an explosion of vibrant pattern and color,” he says in an interview with MarthaStewart.com.
Machado-Rosas, who also prefers neutrals with dashes of color, says that your comfort level and personal taste make all the difference. If you want to experiment with styling, layer in pillows, rugs, and artwork to add color.
Bobby Berk: Take advantage of vertical space, particularly in smaller rooms
Berk worked for Bed Bath & Beyond and Restoration Hardware before becoming Creative Director at Portico Home + Spa. He started his own company in 2006 before launching a full-service interior design practice in 2015.
Best known as the Fab Five’s go-to interior designer on Netflix’s reality show Queer Eye, Berk continues to expand his design empire. He’s collaborated on a branded home furnishings line with A.R.T. Furniture and launched his own home collection that includes wallpaper and framed artwork.
Berk’s design style borrows from the mid-century modern aesthetic with curved lines, geometric angles, and natural elements. He often designs with neutral color palettes — black, white, and brown — pairing lighter tones against darker shades for dynamic contrast.
In one living room, Berk pairs a charcoal-colored rug and black leather sling chairs with an ivory couch and marble coffee table. Combined with a minimalist approach to accessory styling and the sleek lines of his statement pieces, the resulting look radiates refined masculinity. Organic materials such as leather and wood warm up his design projects. Every once in a while, he adds a bold streak of color to a space, such as a ruby red sofa.
“Don’t just think about your space horizontally; think about it in 3D,” says Berk in an interview with Refinery29. Do you have a small bedroom and high ceilings? Try a loft bed to free up your floor space for a desk or sitting area, Berk recommends.
Shea McGee: Think of design style in layers
Originally working in communications, McGee switched to interior design when she began sharing her home’s redesign on social media. McGee’s status as a social media influencer blossomed, and she’s since amassed more than 2.5 million Instagram followers. She started Studio McGee with her husband, Syd, and launched the e-commerce brand McGee & Co. She’s also collaborated with Target to design for the retailer’s Threshold line.
McGee’s stardom continues to shine as her titles currently include New York Times bestselling author and co-star of the Netflix series Dream Home Makeover.
McGee designs bright and airy spaces, balancing modern looks with a traditional feel. Walls are often soft white or cream, and she adds natural texture to rooms with earthy brown colors of jute rugs and antiqued brass accents. McGee loves to incorporate light walnut wood for floors, cabinetry, and furniture. Her usual color palette — neutral beiges and browns — perfectly accent the walnut wood doors, raffia rugs, and woven baskets in her design portfolio.
Do your carpeted floors look uninspired? According to McGee, you don’t need hard flooring to anchor a room and add coziness with a rug. “Adding a rug to your living space or bedroom gives your furniture a place to ‘live’ and easily adds dimension and texture,” McGee says in an interview with People.
Noz Nozawa: Keep sustainability in mind
Sunset Magazine crowns her the Queen of Colorful Interiors; Architectural Digest calls her a rising star; and House Beautiful places her on their Next Wave Designer hotlist. Noz Nozawa is undeniably the next great celebrity interior designer. After working in Houzz’s marketing department, Nozawa followed her creative aspirations to the design world and started her own firm, Decorist, in 2014. With more than 25,000 Instagram followers, the San Francisco-based designer’s vibrant aesthetic continues to turn heads and influence interior color palette trends.
While best known for her bold use of color — her portfolio features pink doors and ombre blue walls — Nozawa prefers not to be pinned to any one style. Instead, she’s committed to an evolving and changing aesthetic. Woven into Nozawa’s unique style is an affinity for flora and fauna: an electric-pink flamingo stationed on a bookshelf, a cascade of blooms spilling out of a vessel, a zebra-motif throw rug, and the image of a splayed tiger on a throw pillow. Nozawa’s eclectic taste includes gold resin dripping down burnt-orange walls and mixing an antique-style balloon chair with a mid-century modern tulip table.
Rather than discarding furniture every few years, Nozawa encourages her clients to invest in quality pieces that last. In an interview with Arkitektura Assembly, Nozawa notes that quality pieces “will become a part of the texture of your family’s story at home, is so beautiful, and a win-win when it comes to sustainable design too.”
Like Nozawa, Machado-Rosas values quality over disposable design. Machado-Rosas invested in an Italian dining table 20 years ago, and she still loves it. She says signature pieces such as an antique desk or armoire can mix with different styles, and you can rotate the furniture into different rooms as your taste evolves. “If you can afford a good piece that is timeless, purchase it,” Machado-Rosas advises.
Brigette Romanek: Build your room around one piece
A self-taught interior designer, Romanek explored music and fashion before settling on home design. A friend asked for Romanek’s design advice after spying the interior of Romanek’s Hancock Park home in Los Angeles. Now on Architectural Digest’s coveted AD 100 list, Romanek has designed spaces for celebrity A-listers such as Beyoncé and Demi Moore.
Romanek describes her style as “Gap-meets-Gucci“: the intersection of functional style and visual extravagance. While she strives for beauty, comfort is key. With museum-worthy curation, Romanek blends an eclectic mix of textures, patterns, and styles. She often juxtaposes ornate, vintage pieces, such as a crystal chandelier or baroque portrait, with modern elements like curved-back chairs and globe lights.
Choose one piece of furniture, work of art, or design accessory that you love. Use that as your starting point for designing a space. “Focus on one piece and then plan and build around that piece to create the rest of the room,” says Romanek in an interview with Chairish.
Adair Curtis: Sit in the space to get a feel for the room
Adair Curtis worked in the entertainment industry for VH1 before heading back to the classroom to study interior architecture. Curtis partnered with his spouse Jason Bolden, fashion stylist to the stars, to run JSN Studio. The company offers both interior design services and personal styling to its celebrity clientele. Curtis helms the interior design branch of the business, while Bolden focuses on fashion styling. The pair star in Netflix’s Styling Hollywood, which documents their escapades styling the homes and red carpet looks for celebrities such as Gabrielle Union and Dulé Hill.
Curtis’ design style evokes relaxed luxury with a light, organic style and minimalist, modern furnishings. You won’t find heavy fabrics or drapes in a Curtis-designed space. His judicious use of negative space in furniture placement would almost suggest austerity. Oversized rugs stretch well beyond the collection of living room furniture; two chaise lounges face off across a room, its occupants well out of arm’s length from the retro coffee table at the center.
Inexplicably, Curtis’ generous furniture spacing lends a homey, comforting vibe instead of a disconnect. Perhaps he achieves this effect with natural materials such as wood and leather, and a warm, neutral color palette with black or brass accents.
Think about how you want to feel in the space you’re looking to design, advises Curtis. Sit in the space. Are you looking for a happy feeling? Add a pop of yellow color in a piece of art or throw blanket. Do you prefer a calm, tranquil setting? Design the space with neutral colors.
Header Image Source: (Jorge De Jorge / Unsplash)