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Credit: Photo: Graydon Herriott; Design: Apartment Therapy

Design Changemakers 2022: Drew Barrymore Is Bringing Make-You-Smile Home Style to the Masses

published Feb 14, 2022
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Credit: Apartment Therapy

Apartment Therapy’s Changemakers Class of 2022 is made up of 15 of the most talented and dynamic people (or duos or trios) working in the design world. This year’s honorees are all about connecting, collaborating, and disrupting the industry to steer the collective design conversation towards innovation and a better future. See the rest of the list here.

Who: Drew Barrymore, actress, author, founder of FLOWER Home, and Beautiful Cookware
Where to follow her: Instagram at @drewbarrymore

Credit: Courtesy of Penguin Publishing Group

The world certainly has its fair share of celebrity entrepreneurs, but perhaps no one is pushing that label to greater heights these days than Drew Barrymore. The award-winning actress turned film producer, director, beauty mogul, and mother of two recently added talk show host and magazine publisher to her resume. Over the past few years though, she’s also increasingly turned her attention towards the home. And now, she’s brought her signature free-spirited energy and genuine curiosity about all things domestic to her latest work, “Rebel Homemaker,” a cookbook-meets-quarantine diary featuring self-shot photography and recipes developed with her friend and pro chef, Pilar Valdes. Then there’s her new cookware and kitchen appliance brand, Beautiful Kitchenware, and her popular FLOWER Home line, which, since its inception in 2019, has expanded from furniture to include paint, wallpaper, decorative accessories, and even art prints. 

Rarely do celebrity product lines make so much sense or nail the current zeitgeist in their approaches; Barrymore’s carefree, whimsical style, playful attitude, and embrace of bold color translates so well to the kitchen and the rest of the home, particularly as joy becomes central to interiors in the wake of COVID-19. Many people are looking to supercharge their spaces with quirky personal touches right now, and Barrymore’s collections consistently deliver. Take one look at the sage green air fryer toaster ovens and rainbow-colored nesting measuring spoons in the Beautiful range, and you can’t help but smile. FLOWER Home also delivers on personality. Alongside exuberant patterned rugs and whimsical peel-and-stick wallpaper, you’ll find decorative mirrors, framed art, and even a curated palette of 27 paint colors that match back to Barrymore’s peppy furniture and textiles. 

Credit: Beautiful Kitchenware

Barrymore may be willing to take chances in her Beautiful and FLOWER Home designs, but above all, everything she puts her name on is lighthearted, livable, and affordable. “I play — trying not to get intimidated — and just go for it!” says Barrymore of her designing process. If you’ve seen her artfully-but-practically overflowing floor-to-ceiling bookshelves on Instagram, then you know she practices what she preaches in her home, too.

That said, in terms of Barrymore’s own interiors, the pandemic has caused her to embrace a more minimalist version of maximalism. “When it comes to design, I need a little more calm,” says Barrymore. “The pandemic changed me. It reigned me in. I have never been in my home so much, and it made me crave less visual clutter.” To that end, she’s currently tackling a kitchen renovation, serving as her own lead designer, and focusing on editing her interiors down a bit to spotlight her own feel-good hero products and favorite vintage finds.

One of the things Barrymore stresses in “Rebel Homemaker” is her willingness to be a student when it comes to cooking — to learn, to make mistakes — and that, too, just might be her design superpower. With every new source of inspiration, she’s putting together a perfectly imperfect mood board for a well-loved, lived-in home that anyone can make their own.

Credit: Penguin Random House

Apartment Therapy: Tell us about the title of your latest book, “Rebel Homemaker.” Do you feel like a rebel when it comes to interior design as well?

Drew Barrymore: I believe there are no rules when it comes to design, and I’m more confident to play and color outside of the lines with design. I still feel far more intimidated cooking than I do renovating the kitchen itself; but I won’t love the way something comes out as a dish, and next I will feel excited that I nailed the taste. Similarly, with design, sometimes I will get the scale of a piece of furniture wrong, and sometimes I will make a room feel twice as big than when I started.

AT: You talked about comfort food in your book. What would you say is your version of comfort decorating? What makes you feel at home in your space?

DB: Soft couches — I love a slouchy, drapey couch. It can’t be overly deep so that you can truly curl up and fit pillows [on it]. Also, don’t be afraid to pull off some of the pillows that come with the couch and switch them out for something softener and more malleable. Make sure the arms are supportive and can be a backdrop for moving your pillow, turning it from a couch to a daybed in an instant. I love an art piece couch, but I wouldn’t want to live on one. To me, a good couch and tons of bookshelves filled with things to read is the perfect comfort room. 

AT: Even though you’re on your own trajectory in home design, is there someone in the design world that you look up to? 

DB: I look up to Axel Vervoordt, Leanne Ford, Miles Redd, Mikel Welch, Sheila Bridges, Bunny Willliams, Joanna Gaines, Charlotte Moss, Kelly Wearstler, Jane Hallwell, Tony Duquette, Erin Napier, Roman and Williams, Celerie Kemble, Justina Blakeney, Nickey Kehoe, Bobby Berk, Commune Designs, and Heath Designs… just to name a few. There are so many more!

Credit: Courtesy of Walmart

AT: When we look at the FLOWER Home collection, we see unbridled joy. Why do you think joy is so important in interior design, especially right now?

DB: When it comes to design, I need a little more calm. The pandemic changed me. It reigned me in. I have never been in my home so much, and it made me crave less visual clutter. I still need a pop of color and a print, but I edit more now. And I never have looked at empty rooms with such fervor and asked how little I could put in here and layer thoughtfully, rather than come in with 85 things and start placing and stuffing. Now it’s more like, what can I do with 35 things? So on the whole, I’m looking for less in my interiors but still want something layered and personal.

Credit: Walmart

AT: Do you have any decorating tips that you’re always using or a favorite product in your line that you’re always recommending?

DB: I like vintage. Go on Etsy, Stooping NYC, Chairish, eBay, a flea market, or any old antique store that isn’t overpriced. You can find so many things you want at retailers, but what treasure can you find that truly makes the room sing and not feel just bought but found?

AT: What’s your design philosophy when it comes to rooms for children?

DB: I learned a valuable lesson with baby’s room for retail. The parents that are new — they’re still decorating for themselves. Baby’s rooms are more the parents’ rooms. It’s toddlers that truly claim the space, and by then, you’re ready to let go. It’s the child’s room now, and you will keep evolving but with them — not just your own tastes. And it never looks like a catalog. The room becomes an eclectic amalgam of years of life. It’s really cool. 

Interview has been edited and condensed.