Kelly Wearstler
Mark Edward Harris

Passion by Design

Kelly Wearstler (KW): My mother is a closet interior designer. I grew up in an environment where everything was always in a state of flux. I’d come home from school, and the dining room would be a totally new color.

Hillcrest Estate designed by Kelly Wearstler
Grey Crawford

Inspiration Source

Many people, past and present, inspire my work.

They range from architects like Carlo Scarpa to John Woolf, interior designers like Jean-Henri Jansen and David Hicks, furniture designers from Ettore Sottsass to Maria Pergay, as well as artists and sculptors.

In the fashion realm, I admire Valentino for his dramatic use of color and dynamic patterns, Sonia Rykiel for her color sensibility and avant-garde combinations, and Coco Chanel for her revolutionary use of contrast, texture, fabrics, and weaving.

Hillcrest Estate Guest Room designed by Kelly Wearstler
Grey Crawford

Color Strategy

KW: It is about having a hierarchy of color, where one prevailing hue sets the tone for the space, and the rest follow, whether it is in the form, pattern, or texture. A color should retain its individuality and have its own voice.

MHI: What are your current favorite colors?

KW: Are there any color combinations you’re tired of? I have always had a fascination with color. I truly love all colors. For me, it is more about the intensity of a color rather than the hue itself.

Kelly Wearstler China for Pickard
 Stephen Buska

Up Ahead

KW: My third book, entitled Hue, debuts this month. It features all of my latest commercial and residential projects and focuses on color.

I’m currently preparing my first international Viceroy location in Anguilla. It is filled with organic elements, such as driftwood lamps, petrified-wood tables, and travertine marble floors, coupled with textiles and techniques from all over the world, including hand-carved wood pieces from Asia, hammered metalwork from India, and beaded artwork from Africa.

I am also launching my first collection of dinnerware with Pickard this fall. There are four different patterns designed to mix and match with one another.

Hillcrest Estate living room designed by Kelly Wearster
Grey Crawford

Make a Statement

KW: I never like to adhere to any particular set of rules. If you love art, fashion, a particular pattern, etc., feel free to use it as inspiration in your design.

Viceroy Miami Lobby
Annie Schlechter

Take Action

KW: First and foremost, have a plan, and be organized. Start with a floor plan of the space, and begin gathering images of pieces you love -- photos of furniture, lighting, rugs, accessories, fabric and paint swatches, etc.

MHI: If you splurge on one item in a room, which one should it be? Where can you save?

KW: A comfortable piece of furniture is key! You can save on artwork.

Viceroy Anguilla lobby designed by Kelly Wearstler
Annie Schlechter

Limit Your Palette

KW: You can mix and match different patterns as long as they are in the same color palette. I designed my collection of fabrics with Groundworks at Lee Jofa to work seamlessly with one another.

Tides South Beach La Marea restaurant designed by Kelly Wearstler
Annie Schlechter

Kelly's Don'ts

KW: Never buy all of your furniture in one place -- that’s a big “no no” in my book! I prefer to layer pieces from different sources to create a look that feels as if it has been achieved over time.

Hue by Kelly Wearstler
Courtesy of Kelly Wearstler

Consider Your Surroundings

KW: It is important to be sensitive to the environment and the architecture when designing a space. For a beach setting, the ocean and sand are the primary inspiration, so I use muted colors and raw, organic textures that are in harmony with the environment. In contrast, in an urban setting, I can play with bolder color choices and materials.

Don't miss Kelly's latest design book Hue available from

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