A Furniture Designer's Inspiration

A Furniture Designer's Inspiration

Rebecca Orlov
Sep 15, 2009

Have you ever thought about how furniture designers' create the furniture you enjoy in your own home? Since we've covered a lot of furniture on Apartment Therapy - the style, look, design, function - we wanted to share a recent chat we had with new furniture designer, Reagan Hayes, to see what inspires her to design for you.

What's the inspiration behind the classic furniture pieces you've designed and do you infuse your own experiences into your designs? (ie how you feel sitting in a chair or lounging on a couch?)

  • Most of my pieces were inspired by classical forms. We have a camel-back sofa, a klismos dining chair, a couple of wing-back lounge chairs...all are modified classical forms. I like to look to designs of the past and update them with simplified lines and clean finishes. My personal taste is reflected in this collection - it means a lot to me. I've named all of the pieces after close friends and family members, so each piece is something very special!
  • The designs definitely build off of my own experiences...I grew up influenced by traditional southern design in Louisiana and then focused nearly entirely on modern design while in school in Chicago (I actually designed and built a series of concrete bar stools back then!). My own style of balancing the past and the present has emerged over the last several years and comes out best in my furniture collection--it's the culmination of my progression as a designer.

A lot of our readers often ask about integrating vintage and classic pieces into their homes. As a furniture designer breathing fresh air into classic designs, what are your best tips for creating a modern look with classic pieces?

  • Classicism and detail are essential to any interior, but both need to be balanced with simplicity to keep it looking fresh. When I'm designing a piece of furniture, I often begin with a particular detail and work outward from there, careful to pare down everything else to let the details stand out. The same approach can be used when designing a room - find one or two really spectacular classic/vintage pieces that you can't live without, and let everything else become secondary and minimal. Let the details really shine!

Small space dwellers have to be thoughtful about the furniture and decor in their homes when creating a stylish space that's comfortable and utilizes the small footprint. What are your tips for creating a comfortable small space?

  • Don't be afraid to go big! Sometimes a lot of small furniture in a small space can look cluttered. Fewer, larger pieces can often help a room seem larger and more thoughtfully planned. Larger upholstery pieces and more streamlined case pieces will also help a room look (and feel) more comfortable.
  • Let your furniture multi-task. A game-height cocktail table can double as an informal dining area...a generous console table can also serve as a desk during work hours.
  • Mirrors are still a good stand-by! Positioning two mirrors opposite each other in a room, or on either side of a fireplace, gives the illusion of more space.
  • A well-lit room can also seem larger. Bringing in lots of light (artificial or natural) can help illuminate dark corners in a room and help you gain visual square footage.

Thanks, Reagan! Click here to enjoy the entire furniture line.

(Images by Reagan Hayes)

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