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Designer Review: Interior Decorator Michael Smith

Designer Review: Interior Decorator Michael Smith

Ever wondered who gets the privilege of decorating the White House? The most recent Presidential designer is interior decorator Michael Smith. He was invited by President Obama to decorate the residential quarters of the White House in 2008 and later appointed by the President to the Committee for the Preservation of the White House to makeover the Oval Office.

When you look at his portfolio, you can see why the Santa Monica based designer was asked to redo the Oval Office. He has a talent for blending European classical style with American modernism. He’s also skilled at bringing the vision of his clients to life. For the Oval Office he was able to keep it sophisticated while introducing a warmth and comfort to it that was lacking in previous renovations.

Whether it’s decorating for the President, or designing his own home furnishings and product lines for flooring, wall coverings, lighting and more, we love this designers passion for design history and the fresh spin he’s able to give it. Here are some of our favorite tips from the President’s decorator:

Design For Yourself

One of Michael’s best design practices is designing for his clients and their specific needs. He describes each project as an “organic process” that comes about from the relationship he builds with the client. He purposefully gets to know their requirements and how they will use the space so he can design it for their specific needs. On his website, he describes “each project as a story, a story he and his clients will tell together.”

You need to do the same for your home. Determine what your story will be and go from there. Identify how you will use a space and what you love and design from that. Your home should reflect who you are and be functional for YOU.



Blend Classicism with Modernism

Although it might not feel natural to you to mix old with new, it is ok to mix classic and modern styles. Michael Smith does it, and does it well. He is known to mix many styles and eras and make them work. Doing so helps avoid the matchy matchy look a lot of people fall into by sticking to one style or time period. For your home, pick pieces that you like and stand out to you. That could mean pairing antique sofas with a side table from Pottery Barn, and that would be perfectly fine. It’s about creating style and comfort for you in your home.



Plan Ahead

Michael told Huffington Post that one thing many clients don’t do it plan ahead when designing now. He says, “Many clients don’t consider factors like more children, grandchildren, or even the need for a larger home in their current plans”. So when he creates a design for a client he does just that and tries to anticipate the future, which he claims “often inspires his clients.”

When designing your own home you should envision your future to see how you can incorporate some of that into your current design. Otherwise, your home might quickly become outdated and not as functional.

Michael’s tips are perfect for creating a space and design of your own. Your home should be what you want and designed for how you live and not anyone else!



Do you have any big plans for your home coming up? Contact us for help in kicking off your design by picking out the right flooring!

About Kimberly Crossland

Kimberly Crossland is a guest writer for Bestlaminate's Blog and founder of the She has an unnatural obsession with the power of words, which is really cool because she can speak two languages: English and Danish. Her other job titles include wife and dog-walker.

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