Fashion Meets Furniture: Carson Kressley Talks the Intersection of Style & Interiors

Published September 28, 2017

In matters of style, there are few people whose opinion holds more weight than Carson Kressley’s. The celebrity fashion stylist, interior decorator, author of “Does this Book Make my Butt Look Big,” and former host of OWN’s Carson Nation, our TDN TV show Dressing Rooms with Carson Kressley, and the EMMY-winning series Queer Eye, he’s built his entire career on his honed sense of style (and doling advice to the less-fashionably fortunate). 

As fashion month comes to a close this week, we talked to Kressley about the intersection of fashion and interiors, the lessons you can take from your closet to your decor, and the equivalent of the “little black dress” for the living room. 

How does fashion influence interior design and vice versa?

I think fashion kind of drives the process, but I think they’re symbiotic, too. Sometimes the inspiration comes from interiors and fashion designers bring decor trends into their world and vice versa. A lot of time interior designers, wallpaper designers and furniture designers will take their cues from color stories or prints that they see on runways. We see it all the time, whether it’s a pattern or signature color for the season, you’ll often see that a season or two down the road in interiors.

What trends are you seeing flow down from fashion into interiors right now?

I’m seeing a lot of beautiful bold prints, and I think that the ’70s bold print idea is translating from fashion into design. I’m seeing a lot of equestrian flair and quilted leathers coming into the home decor space, too. And just the overall bohemian trend of mixing high and low, glossy with matte and rugged and refined. That’s been an ongoing story in the fashion world for the last decade or so, and now it’s really happening in the home space as well.

Image via @carsonkressley on Instagram.

There are certain pieces everyone should have in their wardrobe, like a well-tailored suit jacket or little black dress. What are the foundation items everyone should have in their home?

I think for a living room, a great sofa is kind of the anchor piece, or the little black dress, and then the accessories are the lighting, the artwork, and the occasional furniture. So I think those anchor pieces, whether it’s substantial casegoods, or the larger upholstery pieces or the rug, those are your fashion essentials that should be quality and classic, and the other things are accessories and can be treated like that. They can be changed out seasonally, or when you’re ready for a bit of a refresh.

Which do you find more challenging, creating a wardrobe you love or a home you love?

People are a little more intimidated by decorating because of the investment required and time commitment, like if you paint or wallpaper you kind of have to be committed to it. With our world today and fast fashion, when you’re sick of something you can kind of toss it and move on to something new, so I think that’s the main difference.

How do you make sure your home is a true reflection of your style?

The key, and I tell this to people whether they’re decorating their homes or filling their closets, is to buy great basics that are evergreen, and that you’ll always love. Whether it’s a great leather wing chair, or a beautiful neutral upholstered sofa, or a great little black dress. Those are all things that are never going to go in and out of style. And then what you do is you change it up with accessories. It could be pillows, or draperies, it could be occasional side tables or lamps. It’s the same thing you do with a little black dress when you change up a scarf, or a handbag, or jewelry. 

But the key is to make sure your accessories really speak to your personality. It could be artworks of photography, or antiques or treasured souvenirs from travels. Those are the things that make it look like a home, and not a showroom.  

Want more from Carson? Check out:

Dressing Rooms: Unzipped

Dressing Rooms is a play on fashion’s relationship to furniture and interior design. Follow along as celebrity fashion icon Carson Kressley and interior designer Gina Alem pair up with stylish guests and show them how to translate their look into a fabulous room.