It only takes a moment to add more viewpoints and voices into your Instagram feed.
Kelly Phillips Badal
Love seeing snapshots of incredible interiors on Instagram? Yeah, us too. (We tap that ‘Save to Collection’ button a lot). We’ve spent more time than ever scrolling, liking and dreaming ourselves into different spaces over this past year. And as Black History Month draws to a close, we wanted to shine a light on an even wider variety of designers, and get beyond the Southern California-based creators we regularly celebrate. So we reached out to celebrity interior designer Brigette Romanek, the subject of one of our recent features and an AD100 2021 honoree, to see who’s been inspiring her lately. She’s not only at the top of her game—with a role as a judge on the upcoming HBO Max furniture-building competition show, Ellen’s Next Great Designer (starring Ellen DeGeneres), among her current projects—but she’s been deeply considering her on-going response to the racial reckoning that’s gripped the nation since this summer. “I hope this conversation doesn’t stop; I hope it’s not just of the moment,” Romanek says. “That’s the bigger issue here: That this really is a movement.”
Though the interior design industry has made strides recently, Black designers reportedly account for less than two percent of the members of the American Society of Interior Designers, and many interior design magazines have a history of primarily catering to white designers and homeowners. There are plenty of BIPOC designers out there, of course, and the easiest way to elevate their work is to make sure you’ve got eyes on it to begin with. So follow them on social media, share their work, seek them out if you want to hire a designer. “I hope we get to a point where it’s just, ‘I like that person’s aesthetic,’ or ‘I don’t,’” says Romanek. “There’s so many people out there with talent and grace, and if they happen to be a different color, who cares? That’s what makes the world much more interesting, much more beautiful, much more important. Can you imagine if we all looked exactly the same? It’d be awful.”
Open up your world, advises Romanek, and experience all the different viewpoints that exist within it. “If my aesthetic makes sense for you, I’m hoping I’ll be judged on that alone,” she states. “Give others a chance; embrace different people and different aesthetics and looks. You’ll be doing yourself a favor.”
Here’s an easy way to start—by checking out the work of the 10 BIPOC designers and firms currently inspiring Romanek:
- Forbes + Masters, @forbesmasters. Forbes + Masters is a full-service Atlanta-based interior design team helmed by designers Tavia Forbes and Monet Masters.
- Rodney Lawrence, @rodneylawrenceinc. With more than 15 years of experience, NYC-based interior designer Rodney Lawrence blends his knowledge of art history with contemporary designs.
- Aamir and Hameeda Interior Designers (AANDH), @aamir_hameeda. Headed by the husband-wife duo Aamir and Hameeda Sharma, this Hyderabad-based firm focuses on minimalistic urban chic design.
- Michel Smith Boyd, @michelboyd. Aspirational residences are a signature of this Atlanta designer and his 8-person firm.
- Jenny Wu, @lace_jennywu. An architect and partner at L.A.’s experimental Oyler Wu Collaborative, Jenny Wu leads a globally recognized practice—and is also the founder of her own 3D printing jewelry brand.
- Matt Blacke Inc, @mattblackeinc. Founder Cliff Fong has been a part of the L.A. design scene for more than two decades as an interior designer, fashion designer and entrepreneur.
- Darryl Carter, @darrylcarterdesign. Washington D.C. designer Darryl Carter is known for his nuanced neutral palette and spare, elemental rooms.
- Corey damen Jenkins, @coreydamenjenkins. Jenkins’ calling card is his colorful, youthful traditionalism. He’s publishing his first book in March.
- Joy Moyler Interiors, @joymoylerinteriors. An artist, designer, activist, and columnist, Joy Moyler describes her style as “classic and crisp with a modern vibe.”
- Maison Trouvaille, @maison_trouvaille. Born in Mexico and raised in Los Angeles, founder Erick Garcia brings a global sense of design to his work.
And of course, follow Brigette Romanek/Romanek Design Studio on Instagram at @brigetteromanek.