When it comes to home decorating tips, it always pays to go straight to the experts. To help you learn the secrets of the pros, today’s designer spotlight is on celebrity interior designer, home staging expert, and television host, Taylor Spellman.
You might have seen her interior design work on one of the hit reality television shows on Bravo, Million Dollar Listing New York or Yours Mine or Ours. Or perhaps you’ve read about her in Entertainment Weekly, InStyle, or Architectural Digest. However you first learned about Taylor Spellman, if there’s anything you need to know about this dynamic gal, it’s that she’s definitely a #GirlBoss.
Whether Taylor is designing a 10 million dollar penthouse, the lobby of a luxury high rise or a showroom for a fashion client, her penchant for witty banter paired with her signature bold design style has made her a standout in the design community at large. She has the unique and unteachable talent of mixing high end one of a kind pieces with treasures found on an afternoon in the Goodwill.
Taylor Spellman has worked with high-net worth individuals and celebrity clients, such as Ryan Serhant of Million Dollar Listing New York, and most recently joined Bravo television as a co-host of the upbeat show, Yours Mine or Ours, featured alongside celebrity realtor & Shahs of Sunset star Reza Farahan.
In today’s designer spotlight, we learn first-hand what inspires Taylor’s designs, the truth about what it’s like to work in television, and her must-read home decorating tips (even if you’re on a budget).
Q&A with Celebrity Interior Designer Taylor Spellman
Inspirations & Celebrations: How would you describe your design esthetic? What makes your style different than other interior designers?
Taylor Spellman: My design aesthetic is bold yet chic. My goal in life is to help people live richly: and that has nothing to do with money.
What makes me stand out from the rest is my keen ability to understand a space and know how to use it wisely. That and my love of a popping color.
I&C: How did you transition into a career on television? What was the first experience you had doing a design project on TV?
TS: When I got the opportunity to work with Bravo, I was very excited to take things to the next level. It was nerve-wrecking to say the least. I’m used to there being a great deal of judgment attached to whatever I produce, but then national television adds a whole new level of pressure. However, in the end, it was well received so I felt pretty fulfilled about the entire project.
I&C: How do interior design projects on TV differ compared with real life projects?
TS: The TV projects are fun because from a design perspective because the sky is the limit. In the world of TV, I don’t have to worry about budget restrictions or client idiosyncrasies. For my own business, there’s usually a budget program set from the start that I adhere to, and have to plan ahead for when something pops up later on unexpectedly. In TV I get to be a little more playful.
I&C: What have been some of your most memorable moments being a Co-Host on Yours Mine or Ours? What’s it like working alongside your fun and flamboyant co-host, Reza Farahan (from the hit show, The Shahs of Sunset)?
TS: Obviously we had a ton of fun shooting the show, but one of my favorite moments was when we were driving to a couple’s home and the brakes on our car actually broke! It was hilarious and scary at the same time. As funny as Reza is, he is always in control, so I know I was in good hands. Needless to say, we had to pull over and get a new car.
I&C: If you only had $1000 to update your home, where would you shop for fab finds that add glamour and luxury (without costing a fortune)? What are the must-have items any stylish home should have?
TS: TJ Maxx & Marshalls are my go-to. In my opinion, you can never have too many trays. They can hold your books on the nightstand, hold your mail on the entryway table, or look great on a bar.
I&C: What are a few design trends this year that you love? How would you recommend people incorporate these trends into their homes, without dating their homes?
TS: I’m not a big fan of trends because it’s a trend. It comes and it goes. I don’t usually play to trends.
If you’re inspired by something you’re seeing in a current trend, make sure to use it as an accent piece, versus the center point of your conviction. For instance, right now everyone is into the industrial trend with grey and metal. It’s great, but do it with accent pieces versus your entire kitchen. Do it with your coffee table, with distressed wood and the metal base – then you can get rid of it in time. I promise, you’re going to get sick of it.
I&C: When it comes to designing a space, where do you find your inspiration?
TS: I first find inspiration from the space itself, ‘what is the space saying.’ Then I assess what the space needs. I’ll find a piece of art, a rug or a throw pillow that speaks to me and I’ll build the entire design around that one piece. Its always best to find one thing you like to inform the rest of the design, otherwise it becomes very overwhelming.
I&C: When you stage a home that’s on the market, what key pieces do you often include? Is there a go-to style (contemporary, elegant, etc.) that you use, or does it depend on each property?
TS: The reason why I have become the top stager in New York is because I do not subscribe to a particular style. Just the same way that an Upper East Side buyer is not going to want what a Tribeca buyer wants – the space should reflect that. In staging, it used to be that you bring in a cream couch and a cream rug, call it staged, but now the common buyer has seen so much that you need to find a way to grab their attention and find out who they are. I design each project to that particular space for the specific buyer, instead of having one blanket design. As you might say, ‘It has to be very TAYLORed.’
I&C: When working with luxury Realtors (like Ryan Serhant of Million Dollar Listing), do they tell you how they want the property to be decorated, or do you have full creative control? Do you re-use the same furnishings/artwork or go shopping for new items each time? Are these pieces on loan from stores, or do you buy them? What happens to the furniture after the property sells?
TS: The interesting thing about working with Ryan is that he has a very strong opinion of how things should go because he understands the market and truly understands design. He is one of the few brokers who voices his opinion that I feel compelled to listen to because he is both knowledgeable and creative. However, most brokers give me full creative control.
As for the furniture, I have a huge warehouse in Brooklyn, so to some degree we are able to reuse items but we always reuse them in a completely new way. We’re never just dialing in on a design. When we use items we already own, it’s with a new perspective. For the most part, since each space calls for something different, I’m always looking for new products.
Sometimes the developer will buy the furniture and own it. Sometimes we will bring in furniture that we own and once the property sells we will put it into a new project or into our storage facility.
I&C: If you were giving advice to an aspiring interior designer, what steps would you tell her to take to help her become successful?
TS: First and foremost, what makes you different from everyone else? No one wants someone new that’s offering something that’s already been seen.
Second, don’t get overly caught up in the design and forget about the numbers. The bottom line is that you’re running a business and it is your job to make sure that your business is profitable. That is how you will become more successful.
For more celebrity interior designer tips and secrets, visit the Home Decorating section on Inspirations & Celebrations.
[Image Credits: Featured interior image designed by Taylor Spellman, photographed by Ty Cole; head shot photographed by Fran Parente; interior images designed by Taylor Spellman, photographed by Ty Cole; behind the scenes photo c/o Bravo television.]