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Ten Tips from Award-Winning Interior Designers

Best-Kept Secrets Of Award-Winning Interior Designers

Interior Design Tips

How Top Designers Create Magical Interiors

Award-winning interior designer Esther Boivin is  known for extraordinary vision and results. How does she do it? 

Skilled designers manage vast complexities of architectural details, color, surfaces, textures, fabrics, pattern, lighting, user intent and more. How do they consolidate these elements into spectacular results, providing sublime experiences for its inhabitants?

“Great interior design is creating a theatre of living, breathing space. It helps people feel better, live better by reflecting the unique wants and needs of those that inhabit…”  (Esther Boivin

Creating Sublime Experience With Art, Objects, Spatial Design (Esther Boivin Interiors)

Tricks of the Trade

Although it is fun to suggest, award-winning interior designers rarely employ “tricks” and “hacks” in high quality work.

More accurately, they draw from a deep reservoir of creative skills to engineer inspired interior spaces.  Skilled designers always remain aware of the unique needs of its inhabitants, producing extraordinary results in every project.

Custom Floating Fireplace, Hidden Library Panels, Zebra-Wood Columns (Esther Boivin Interiors)

Where It All Begins: Strategic Planning

The most desirable Interior Designers begin with a deliberative process of listening.

1) Defining The Agenda

In revealing the wants and needs of the client, a designer must ask many questions: What do the owners or project managers hope to achieve? How do they want to live or work in this space? What inspires them? These clues must be crafted into remarkable solutions.

To succeed, a great designer will create a vision that unifies the (often scattered or disjointed) needs of the owners. They must learn what the client loves  – even when they cannot yet imagine it – and provide ways to achieve it. Only then can a designer turn to their creative resources to bring an interpretive solution to life.

Glam Solutions: Organic Coffee Table With Metallic Glazing, Succulents, Laser-Cut Glass (Esther Boivin Interiors)

2) Art, Travel, Jewelry and Fashion as Inspiration

To create what clients cannot yet imagine, top designers explore social cues of patterns, jewelry, fabrics; they are often the life-themes that inspire us. Travel inspiration can also be useful: global culture, urban architecture, even a favorite camping site.

Art and Jewelry represents adornment, best utilized sparingly to create punctuation or fascination. Fashion influences can be infused with fabrics, textures, and furnishings – all extensions of personality and desired sense of comfort.

Reviews and Media, Esther Boivin Interiors
Kitchen As Cinematic Statement: Quartzite Island Fitted With 3-D Graphite Tiles, Crackled Glass Backsplash, Multi-Color Backlighting (Esther Boivin Interiors)

3) Color, Patterns, and Scale

Colors can invoke strong or subtle emotional responses… what needs must be served? Patterns can invoke harmony or dissonance as needed. Scale affects how we interpret the perception of our spaces.

To project the desired personality and energy of the room, each element must be considered to provide a unique story.

Dramatic Textures: Mother-Of-Pearl Backsplash, Patterned Glass, Iridescant Wallcovering (Esther Boivin Interiors)

4) Textures

Paints, fabrics, plasters, stone, hard and soft surfaces alike all possess unique textures. You don’t need to touch the textures to experience them, so inventive use of textures is an important visual and tactile vehicle for the room.

Creating simultaneous harmony and excitement can be a tricky thing using multiple textures; a skill award-winning designers have come to master.


5) Decor, Adornment, Accent Lighting

What special needs or voice does the room require to invoke presence, place, or meaning? When choosing décor, a great designer will seek clues from the clients wants, needs, and passions.

(Photo Above): Whimsical master bathroom vanity featuring playful V-shaped smoke mirror with LED lighting. Mother-of-pearl backsplash,  black iridescent wallcovering from Wolf-Gordon.  Cabinets wrapped in black crocodile vinyl. Sculptural Murano glass chandelier punctuates the space.

Hidden Library Panels In Zebrawood, Embedded Sconce-Adorned Wall (Esther Boivin Interiors)

6) Gallery Walls

What ideas do you wish to emerge from your environment? What influences are essential to those who live and work in this area?

The concept of “galleries” can be expressed as singular expressions or groupings of items that help drive the narrative of the space. They can be accomplished by multiple objects, lighting, or one focal point of drama. Experienced designers apply inventive solutions.

A River Runs Through It: Polished Stones Under LED-lit Glass And Stone Vanity. Family harvested desert branch suspended above.

7) Blending Old Spirits With New Spirits

Each life that will visit and exist with this room is affected by the past, present, and future desired states.

Award-winning interior designers understand this, and pay tribute by invoking a spiritual soul that transcends time. While ordinary interior design is merely satisfied with pleasant appearances, transcendent design invokes soul to define the living  space.


8) Dramatic Lighting

Incorporate creative lighting, expected and unexpected, in every space. Lighting brings things to vivid life; providing a range of moods and ever-changing environments at the touch of a button.

9) Transform The Oddity Into A Hero

Nearly every interior room has that one unfortunate element: an unwieldly support column, an odd corner, a boring wall, that awkward space left under a stairwell. With a creative imagination, these areas can often become signature areas of surprise, individuality, and solution-design genius. 

(Photo Above): The large flat wall lacked soul, so hardwired flickering sconces were embedded to provide depth and energy. Suspended chandeliers in rings and starbursts from Elegant Lighting. Reflected by a custom epoxy floor in midnight-blue metallic, each element collectively recreates a celestial space – invoking the starry desert skies under which it exists. 

Stairway To Heaven: Acid-washed cowhide provides playful drama

10) Create Playful Spaces

Creative interior spaces should inspire and  stimulate those that inhabit the space.

(Photo Above): Although the stairway was flanked by the clean lines of exquisite steelwork, the steps needed life. Metallic acid cowhide provided depth and texture, illuminated by flickering sconces. 

One way to avoid creating nice (but boring) interiors is to incorporate playful spaces. “Playful” can be interpreted in many ways: whimsical, joy invoking, or other unexpected ways to interpret the needs of  those that will inhabit the space.

Desired Result: Serve The “Agenda”

Award-winning Interior Design is a complex process, involving the art, science, material engineering, and an understanding of  of human behavior to create functional and inspired spaces. This begins with listening, and concludes in creative interpretation.

Project Tribute 

The Rock Family residence; a new construction (just 1,900 square feet interior) in the North Phoenix low mountains. Working with a compact unfinished interior punctuated by amazing steel fabrication, the challenge was to invoke humble glam and desert living while paying homage to the families love of books, camping, and living under starry desert nights.  The creative design solutions were akin to what any artist, musical composer, or screenwriter understands: The solution is defining the story. 

The Rock House exterior in the North Mountains of Phoenix

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