avia Forbes, Carmen Smith, Hugo Toro, Tiffany Cobb, Monet Masters and guest

Trailblazing Black Interior Designers You Should Know


Oct. 14 2023, Updated 4:20 a.m. ET

Over the past few decades, the interior design and decor space has made significant adjustments to accommodate diverse styles and encourage more creativity in the trends.

As a result, there has been a sharp rise of Black interior designers, injecting a different taste of creativity and style into the space and quickly rising to become industry stats.

Although the celebration of Black designers is not yet at the level the world would love to see, some incredible talents have managed to break through the mold and become a real force in the industry.

Here are some Black interior designers whose creativity and talents are redefining home decor.

Toks Aruoture

If you’re a parent looking to get some design inspiration to light up your kid’s space with a calm and comforting design, Toks Aruoture is your go-to designer. She pours her heart and craft into creating adorable spaces for kids. Her brand, The Baby Cot Shop, based in London, focuses on creating children's furniture and helping busy parents create memorable spaces for their lovely little ones.

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Her compassion extends to new moms, whom she feels are always anxious about the realities of being responsible for a new life. Toks provides them with expert design advice to give these moms a way of creating the best environment for them and their little ones for an easy time adapting to parenthood.

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Kesha Franklin

As a self-taught designer, Kesha Franklin has worked her way into the industry, designing spaces for high-end clients like Colin Kaepernick. She is the owner and principal designer of Halden Interiors, designing hospitality spaces and residential areas.

And to be fair, her work gets much-deserved flowers as she has been named the “Designer to Watch" by the Black Interior Designer Network and a “Rising Star" by NYC's Decoration & Design Building.

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She was also recognized as one of the world’s best contemporary interior designers by Phaidon publication. All these recognitions and achievements are not by luck. She has built a reputation for telling her client’s story through design. In an interview with CFDA, she says, “ My inspiration comes from my clientele.” She’s all about learning the clients' experiences and aspirations and turning them into what they see every time they walk into their spaces.

Tavia Forbes & Monet Masters

This duo has been designing spaces since 2013, asserting a bold and high-texture feel in every project they take on. They incorporate textiles and imagery from Mother Africa in their designs as they aim to command the trajectory of the industry without falling prey to what is standard and comfortable. They have worked with a wide array of clientele, including a vast number of NFL players, who hire them to design their homes.

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Being the co-founders of Forbes + Masters, these two share a skill and passion for designing luxurious environments. They focus on modern lines and historical references, aiming to create positive and balanced spaces.

Rayman Boozer

From his works, Rayman Boozer truly has a knack for transforming every project into a space that relishes beauty and tells a story. He conveys a playful approach to design. Whether it's a residential or a commercial space, he’s sure to turn it into a cool, soothing scene.

He is the founder and principal designer of the New York-based design firm Apartment48, which has been redefining spaces since 1994. For decades, he has undertaken countless projects, including designing celebrities’ homes and being featured in top publications such as Architectural Digest. He focuses on color consultancy, creating spaces overflowing with effortless optimism, and a relaxed underpinning.

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Sheila Bridges

Here is another Black designer living the dream. She was named Best Interior Designer by both CNN and Time Magazine — and that doesn’t even scratch the surface of her achievements.

Her client base is mesmerizing, as she has hit highs that most designers could only hope for. She has designed the former President Bill Clinton’s Harlem offices and the home of Vice President Kamala Harris in Washington, DC. On top of that, she helped create awesome displays for top museums all around the world, like the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. and The Metropolitan Museum in NYC.

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Oh, and the list doesn't end there! This talented designer has collaborated with major brands like Williams Sonama and Le Creuset. It just keeps getting bigger and better for her. Her firm, Sheila Bridges Design Inc., has been operating since 1994, infusing an African-American twist to high-end spaces that are timeless and thoughtful.

Commanding the Beauty of Interior Spaces With Pride

Black designers continue to claim their spot in the interior design and decoration space, and their impact is too loud to ignore. Their creativity and talent are evident, telling by the sheer number of high-profile clients and brands that can't wait to have their hands on their spaces.

No doubt, they will continue shaping the trends in the days to come, as more talent continues blossoming, and each one adds a different spice to the design space.

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