Black History Month: Celebrating Black Interior Designers

At Boll & Branch, doing better has always been our mission. We are committed to creating a more inclusive Trade Collective program that celebrates underrepresented interior designers and their work. In honor of Black History Month, we’ve partnered with four Black interior designers to spotlight their talent and share their expert advice on how to transform any bedroom into a sanctuary you’ll love. Each response speaks to their unique aesthetics and personal approaches to design. Meet these talented designers below.

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Laura Hodges

Owner and Principal Interior Designer of Laura Hodges Studio in Catonsville, MD, Laura describes her design aesthetic as “tailored and modern, layered with classic details and vintage finds.” She believes that your bedroom should be your sanctuary, which for her means creating a calm space filled with lots of natural light, greenery and original artwork. 

When it comes to transforming your own bedroom into a space you’ll love, Laura has 3 tips. Her first recommendation is to invest in great bedding for a beautiful look, long-lasting quality and a great night’s sleep. “I love a simple bed that’s easy to keep styled, so my favorite is to only use a couple of throw pillows or one long lumbar, a cozy down duvet and a beautiful woven throw blanket.”

Next, she suggests you “focus on what gives you a sense of peace and calm so you can feel relaxed.” This can look like adding anything from greenery to artwork, books or layered bedding. Look for design elements and decorative pieces that echo how you want to feel in your bedroom. 

Laura’s third and final tip is to thoughtfully consider how you’ll use the room from a functional standpoint. “Make sure you have layers of light for both ambiance and reading.” 

Finally, Laura shared what she loves most about Boll & Branch bedding: “Boll & Branch makes beautiful, high quality bedding with modern styling that’s easy to layer and creates your own unique style.” 

Shop Laura’s Boll & Branch favorites here.

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Cathy Hobbs

Owner and Head Designer of Cathy Hobbs Design Recipes in New York City, Cathy describes her design aesthetic as “timeless—I firmly believe that design should be ‘on trend’ but not ‘trendy’.” Cathy’s approach to her own personal sanctuary is to create a design story through a careful selection of high quality, curated investment pieces all thoughtfully collected over time. “Many of my design influences have been inspired by world travel and my passion for history, architecture and study of global design.” She believes that when it comes to design, you should create a space that blends a small, focused selection of your favorite pieces.  

To create your own bedroom space you’ll love, Cathy suggests asking yourself a series of questions to help springboard your design vision. First, start with questions to create a mood: “How do you want your bedroom space to make you feel? Do you want your space to feel warm and cozy, or cool and tranquil?” Your answers will help establish the color palette for your space. 

Next, she recommends deciding on a design aesthetic—modern or traditional?—to guide your decorative choices. “Once you know your own personal style and desire, this will provide direction as you select the perfect bedding. Traditional? Look for soft fabrics and small, simple prints. More modern? Think of clean elements, such as piping or stripes and clean, graphic prints.” 

Why Boll & Branch bedding? “Boll & Branch, to me, is the epitome of the perfect blend of quality, style and substance. Let’s face it, quality sleep is important, and the key to a great sleep experience to me is keenly focused on the selection of the key elements that finish one’s bed. Boll & Branch was initially introduced to me by a new client who was a true believer, believing there was no better bedding on the market. After trying them myself, I was in resounding agreement.” 

Shop Cathy’s Boll & Branch favorites here.

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Chanae Richards

CEO and Principal Designer of ọlọrọ interiors in Philadelphia, PA, Chanae describes her aesthetic as “minimalist curated with art and personal treasures.” She believes that everything you love has a place in your home, whether you’re a minimalist or a maximalist. The cornerstone of Chanae’s personal sanctuary is an unbelievably tidy bedroom. “Not having a cluttered space is really important.” From there, she brings in “the essentials—scented candles, a lamp for late night reading and a leather bound journal.”   

To create a restorative environment for your own bedroom, Chanae believes plants are an integral design element. “Who doesn’t love a good plant?! Aesthetics aside, there are some green babies that remove toxins from the air.” 

She also advocates for a television-free bedroom. “This is one that may be controversial, but hear me out. For the most optimal sleeping environment, opt to go TV free. At the very least, use that sleep timer…no one wants to wake up in the middle of the night to breaking news.” 

Chanae’s final recommendation is to invest in quality bedding. “A restful sleep is worth it and you deserve that!” 

Why Boll & Branch bedding? “Boll & Branch prides themselves on quality craftsmanship, doing right by people and having goods you’d be proud to show your mother. In both my personal life and design practice, these are ideals that resonate deeply. Yes, the work product must be aesthetically pleasing, but I’m also incredibly proud of what we do behind the scenes in our own homes and communities.”

Shop Chanae’s Boll & Branch favorites here

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Beth Diana Smith

CEO and Principal Designer of Beth Diana Smith Interior Design in New Jersey, Beth considers herself an “eclectic maximalist” who combines styles and believes more-is-more when it comes to design. “I approach design as a feeling in the sense that I want the space to feel good and have a vibe that is distinct with an emotional connection.” 

To create her own personal sanctuary, Beth focuses on what it is that she needs to feel when in her bedroom. “Personally, I need it to feel relaxed and cozy with a strong feeling of zen for a sense of peace. I need to wake up feeling rejuvenated, but I also want to go to bed with a sense of tranquility from the cool comfort of my sheets to the heavy warmth of my duvet.” 

When beginning to transform your bedroom into a personal sanctuary, Beth suggests you discover which colors make you feel relaxed. "Think about what colors or color palettes make you feel at peace, and then focus on those." 

From there, she recommends layering in elements that provoke the same feeling, like candles, oversized throw blankets or books you’ve been waiting to start. “Great design is a recipe of color, texture, pattern—all of the functional items that make your life easier and all of the beautiful objects and details that bring you joy.”  

Lastly, and most importantly, Beth believes that your furniture layout is key. “If your bedroom is cluttered or has a bunch of furniture you hate, the state of relaxation will never come. So purge as much as possible, store as much as you can out of sight, determine what furniture plan works best for you and then shop specifically for those size pieces.” 

Why Boll & Branch bedding? “Even with my maximalist aesthetic, using grounding pieces is a must-have for bedding. A grounding piece is an item or object that becomes the foundation on which the other bedding elements are built off of. What I like about Boll & Branch is that they have beautiful grounding colors like Spruce and neutrals like Pewter that can fit beautifully into any bedroom style.” 

Shop Beth’s Boll & Branch favorites here.

Follow these designers for more style inspiration all year long: