11 Interior Designers On the Women That Shaped Their Own Unique Decorating Styles

published Mar 7, 2021
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Abbe Fenimore Guest Bedroom Makeover

They say if you can inspire just one person, you can change the world, and interior designers are no exception. In honor of Women’s History Month this March and International Women’s Day tomorrow, I asked a handful of female interior designers which women tastemakers have had the biggest influence on their aesthetic style. Maybe you’ll even spot some of their influence in the work of the each of the designers I spoke to, whose interior projects are shown below.

1. Forbes + Masters on designer and TV personality Genevieve Gorder 

“We love Genevieve Gorder for her effortless bohemian interior design style,” says designer Monet Masters of Forbes + Masters of the HGTV and “Trading Spaces” alum. “Her spaces are abundantly textured, which most times take the place of specific color palettes.”

“She is also always seeking new ways to fill a space while never ignoring the sole purpose and functional components,” adds Tavia Forbes. “We’ve learned over the years how to successfully merge design and function [like her] so neither are jeopardized.”

2. Tali Roth on designer Kelly Wearstler

Kelly Wearstler is a badass interior designer and mom of two boys, and I am in awe of her,” says designer Tali Roth of Tali Roth Interior Design. “It’s not so much her style, but her attitude of ‘more is more’ and embracing color that has totally influenced me and has allowed designers like myself to have a freedom in our work.”

3. Kelly Finley on designer Sheila Bridges

“When I was transitioning into design, the first person I studied (and loved) was Sheila Bridges,” says designer Kelly Finley of Joy Street Design. “Her deft use of color and her stylish furniture choices were a great introduction into the design industry. I read her book ‘The Bald Mermaid,’ and her aqua New York kitchen is still one of my favorites.”

4. Shelly Lynch-Sparks on designer Jennifer Post

Jennifer Post designs modern and sophisticated spaces with clean color palettes and textures,” says designer Shelly Lynch-Sparks of Hyphen & Co. “I’m inspired by her work because she is thoughtful and strategic about the way she uses color in a space, invoking volume and depth in each room.”

5. Michelle Zacks on designer and author Athena Calderone

“When I was starting out in the interior design industry, I was fortunate enough to work as a design assistant to Athena Calderone and her then-partner, John Rawlins,” says designer Michelle Zacks of Michelle Zacks Designs. “I think it’s fair to say that over the years Athena has become one of the most influential designers and tastemakers with a recognizably chic aesthetic; she effortlessly mixes high and low in a way that looks neverendingly stylish.”

6. Tina Ramchandani on designer Emily Summers

 “I create warm and soulful minimal interiors that allow my clients to live in their homes surrounded by the things and people that matter, and I see a similar ethos in Emily Summer’s work,” says designer Tina Ramchandani of Tina Ramchandani Creative. “I especially love that her spaces feel easy to live in, yet each room has something slightly special that uplevels it just a bit.”

7. Kimberlee Gorsline on designer and author Amber Lewis

“There are so many talented women in my field it feels impossible to narrow it down to just one or two, but Amber Lewis of Amber Interiors is my go-to if I’m looking for inspiration that is a bit moody or edgy,” says designer Kimberlee Gorsline of Kimberlee Marie Interiors. “She gravitates towards a calming, neutral palette and warm, muted colors.” 

8.  Kendall Wilkinson on designer (and her mom!) Alice Wiley

“The most influential woman, tastemaker, and designer hit very close to home for me, my mother, interior designer Alice Wiley,” says designer Kendall Wilkinson of Kendall Wilkinson Design. “My mother’s work was grounded in the traditional style, emphasizing scale, proportion, color, and classical forms, and that indoctrination inspired my style. My home is the perfect balance of the classic and the contemporary, and I feel my mother’s inspiration throughout my house.  Everything good goes together, and nothing timeless ever goes out of style.”

9. Abbe Fenimore on fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg

Diane von Furstenberg has always inspired my love of pattern and color,” says designer Abbe Fenimore of Studio Ten 25. “She has a way of taking a classic shape and making it look unique and special through her use of bold pattern, bright color, and flattering fabrics.”

10. Marika Meyer on designer Nancy Lancaster

“Growing up in the Washington, DC area, I couldn’t help being drawn to the Virginia born, Nancy Lancaster,” says designer Marika Meyer. “Beyond her love for a traditional aesthetic and epitomizing English country style, what speaks to me most about her approach to design was the belief that interiors should be a place of comfort and ease. Nothing is too precious, and in fact, she was known for giving pieces a lovingly worn look. I always adhere to this guiding principle in my design, believing that spaces can be both luxurious and practical — beautiful but functional.”

11. Leah Ring on Memphis movement designer Nathalie Du Pasquier

“My work, especially my early work when I was launching my own design studio, was heavily influenced by the Memphis Group of which Nathalie Du Pasquier is a founding member,” says designer Leah Ring of Another Human. “I am so inspired by her playful use of color and pattern, her use of unexpected sculptural forms, and also appreciate that she was one of only a few women in a primarily male-dominated design movement in a then heavily male-dominated industry.”