To celebrate Black History Month, we’re shining a spotlight on Black interior designers who are shaping modern home trends and making history as we speak. Find out what inspires these influential designers and the trademarks of their unique styles.
1. Chanae Richards
Prior to opening
ọlọrọ interiors (
) as CEO and principal designer, Chanae Richards had no idea she even wanted to be in design. Her degree was in public financial management, but curating a friend’s gallery ignited her interest in design, while her abilities sparked interest in her.
While Richards does not share photos of the work she does for clients, she describes her own style as minimalist, but don’t mistake that for boring. Her goal is to bring richness to minimalism, and does so with bold colors, striking patterns, and strong lines.
2. Leyden Lewis
Brooklyn-born Leyden Lewis, founder and creative director of
Leyden Lewis Design Studio
), is an interior designer. He’s also a trained architect and artist, but his list of accomplishments doesn’t end there. Leyden Lewis Design Studio made Elle Decor’s list of 125 top interior designers in 2019 and 2020 and Architectural Digest’s AD100 in 2021. Add to that the titles of educator, art consultant, and founding member of the
Black Artists and Designers Guild
, and you can see why Lewis is so influential.
Lewis’ background in fine arts is evident in his interior design, where he weaves contemporary artwork and sculptural pieces to create meaningful spaces for his clients. Ultimately, he combines his expertise in each discipline in dramatic yet functional design.
3. Nicole Gibbons
Maybe the best way to describe Nicole Gibbons’ (
) design aesthetic is “approachable sophistication.” She combines classic lines, neutral tones with rich pops of color for a light atmosphere with a modern edge.
Gibbons has taken the fun, collaborative attitude of her full-service design firm
Nicole Gibbons Studio
to several other endeavors, including her lifestyle blog and modern paint brand Clare. When Gibbons isn’t working as an interior designer, she’s sharing tips and trends on top media outlets.
4. Jeanine Hays & Bryan Mason
Jeanine Hays and Bryan Mason on the husband-and-wife team behind
), a blog-turned-brand that marries modern design with history and global culture. The couple’s interests span several creative fields, including interior design, fashion, and content creation, and in 2091, they launched AphroChic magazine to bring all of these onto one platform.
As interior designers, Hays and Mason work to tell a story through a neutral palette highlighted with colorful accent pieces, antiques, and global artifacts while maintaining a modern aesthetic. In addition to being named one of New York’s top interior design firms, AphroChic styled the first ever African American concept house on the west coast.
5. Carmeon Hamilton
Carmeon Hamilton (
) is known for several achievements. Not only is she a top interior designer, content creator, blogger, public speaker, and merchandise consultant, Hamilton won HGTV’s “Design Star: Next Gen” and currently hosts the network’s “Reno My Rental.”
Hamilton describes herself as a modern bohemian, a concept that shines through in her work as the creative lead of
. By laying muted colors, bold patterns, and earthy textiles, she creates designs that evoke a sense of serenity and wellbeing.